Jaime Haletky wins Main Event of Ante Up Poker Tour at Thunder Valley

October 23, 2017, Scott Long  

By Scott Long and Dan Ross

In August 2016, Jaime Haletky was a river card away from being the Ante Up world champion. Alas, a six-outter felled the celebration and his opponent went on to win.

Fast forward 14 months, and Haletky finally got an Ante Up Poker Tour title for himself, outlasting Justin Mackey in a lengthy heads-up battle to win the Main Event of the Ante Up NorCal Classic at Thunder Valley Casino Resort near Sacramento, Calif.

“(The tournament) was kind of ugly. I was short on chips a number of times and had to come from behind to win a couple of times. I also had bad beats put on me every time I started to build a decent stack,” said Haletky, a mathematician who designs and writes cryptography software. “It was really fun to actually play heads-up as most smaller buy-in tournaments are just about over when heads-up begins due to the blind size. I was just trying to slowly grind him down but after the break he really woke up aggression-wise and I was just lucky to actually pick up a strong hand.”

Haletky of Pacific Grove, Calif., earned $49,865 for the the win in the $1,110 buy-in event, which drew 204 entries to shatter the $150,000 prize pool guarantee. He also gets a seat in the 2018 Ante Up World Championship Main Event, a champion’s jacket and his photo on the cover of Ante Up.

Oh, and did we mention it was his birthday? And it came two weeks before his wedding?

“It's a little surreal as I'm a mathematician and don't really believe in ‘luck’ or superstition, but it really seemed like I had good luck and it was just meant to be,” said Haletky, who started playing poker in 2004 and progressed to playing 150 tournaments a day online before Black Friday before starting his casino-playing career in 2013.

“I have just been very slowly working my way up in stakes,” he said. “I want to be sure I'm one of the best players at each level before moving up.”

The Ante Up NorCal Classic featured nine other events, kicked off with a 208-player field in Event #1 and ended with two events on the last day won by local favorites Pat Lyons and Chris Hinchcliffe. The series offered players a lot of variety, including a limit Omaha/8 event, and lower price points, with only two side events having buy-ins higher than $160. One interesting twist on no-limit hold’em was the Change Up, which started nine-handed and switched to four, six-handed shootouts when it got to 24 players and ended with a four-handed heads-up bracket won by Howard Tan.

“I would like to congratulate Jaime Haletky on winning the title,” said Ben Erwin, director of poker operations. “The heads-up battle with Justin Mackey was full of action, with both having their chances to be victorious.”

The Ante Up NorCal Classic was the latest in a long line of successful tournament series at Thunder Valley Casino Resort, a AAA Four Diamond luxury resort that features a Las Vegas-style casino, 300 oversized and well-appointed guest rooms, a spa with complimentary steam room and sauna access for hotel guests, and a wide variety of restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, including the signature High Steaks Steakhouse, to keep players entertained when away from the poker table, as well as plenty of cash-game action in the poker room.

“The sixth annual NorCal Classic was another great week of poker at Thunder Valley Casino Resort,” Erwin said. “Players appreciated the small changes made to the Main Event. Playing to the money was a hit. It was a long day, but players that advanced and those who were eliminated were pleased with the design. This format will definitely be something that we use going forward.”

Next up for Thunder Valley is the WPT Deepstacks Championship, which runs through Dec. 5, and 2018 will feature two Ante Up Poker Tour series, bookending the World Series of Poker. The Ante Up NorCal Classic moves to May, and will be followed by the Ante Up World Championship, which for the first time will begin and end in July.

“The Ante Up NorCal was the first stop in the 2018-2019 season we look forward to welcoming all the future season champions as we work toward the Ante Up World’s in July back here at Thunder Valley,” Erwin said.

ANTE UP NORCAL CLASSIC
Thunder Valley Casino Resort - Lincoln, Calif.
MAIN EVENT
Buy-in: $1,100
Entries: 204
Prize Pool: $197,800
1 Jaime Haletky Pacific Grove, CA $49,865*
2 Justin Mackey Newark, CA $33,496
3 Paul Richardson San Ramon, CA $20,114
4 Hieu Le $12,245
5 Moshe Gavrieli Oakland, CA $9,458
6 Nick Kolich n/a $7,830
7 Thomas Emerson Sacramento, CA $6,672
8 Robert Pacleb Vallejo, CA $5,750
9 Gregory Pincombe Redwood City, CA $4,827
10 David Valdez Vacaville, CA $4,199
11 Jimmy Zeledon N. Highlands, CA $4,199
12 Wilton Alejandro Roseville, CA $4,199
13 Richard Elson Tracy, CA $3,571
14 Dave Larson San Jose, CA $3,571
15 Christina Prescott Stockton, CA $3,571
16 Timon Rooney Sacramento, CA $2,943
17 Tom Spruitenberg Pacifica, CA $2,943
18 Joe Nguyen Sunnyvale, CA $2,943
19 David Bertlesen Los Altos HIlls, CA $2,355
20 Justo Avalos Elk Grove, CA $2,355
21 Clifton Harris Reddick, FL $2,355
22 Aunash Koneru Herndon, VA $1,825
23 Careen Foster Emeryville, CA $1,825
24 Kevin Nguyen Elk Grove, CA $1,825
25 Jeffrey Spruitenberg Pacifica, CA $1,472
26 Michael Peck Rocklin, CA $1,472
*Plus $1,650 entry in 2018 Ante Up World Championship Main Event

ANTE UP NORCAL CLASSIC
Thunder Valley Casino Resort - Lincoln, Calif.
EVENT #1 (No-Limit Hold'em)
Buy-in: $160
Entries: 208
Prize Pool: $27,040
1 Kevin Swift Turlock, CA $5,000
2 n/a n/a $4,000
3 Deborah Wall Gold River, CA $3,613
4 Jeremiah Niccum Sacramento, CA $3,613
5 Bohao Zhu Sacramento, CA $1,636
6 Christopher MacKenzie Rio Linda, CA $1,309
7 Hope Spencer Yuba City, CA $1,087
8 Jimmy Zeledon N. Highlands, CA $871
9 Kao Saeturn Sacramento, CA $652
10 Mark Blackshere Clayton, CA $476
11 Nicholas Colvin Vacaville, CA $476
12 Pablo Gutierrez Yuba City, CA $476
13 Matthew Weaver Stockton, CA $392
14 Gary Pisarek Auburn, CA $392
15 Exequiel Fernando Elk Grove, CA $392
16 Lafaya Mitchell Sacramento, CA $333
17 Loan Truong Sacramento, CA $333
18 Ibrahim Mohamed Temecula, CA $333
19 James Weeks Livermore, CA $292
20 Shawn Roberts Lincoln, CA $292
21 James Turner Highland, CA $292
22 Sharon Sanchez Penryn, CA $260
23 Sean Lohman Ct. Heights, CA $260
24 Be Huang SF, CA $260

ANTE UP NORCAL CLASSIC
Thunder Valley Casino Resort - Lincoln, Calif.
EVENT #2 - No-Limit Hold'em
Buy-in: $125
Entries: 53
Prize pool: $5,300
1 Barry Birdwell Marysville, CA $908
2 Steven De Los Santos Sacramento, CA $908
3 Jack Friedlander Roseville, CA $834
4 David Hahn Ct. Heights, CA $834
5 Gratchia Makarian Pollock Pines, CA $833
6 Mickey Friend Fair Oaks, CA $833
7 Martin Gomez Sacramento, CA $150

ANTE UP NORCAL CLASSIC
Thunder Valley Casino Resort - Lincoln, Calif.
EVENT #3 - No-Limit Hold'em Change-Up
Buy-in: $160
Entries: 69
Prize Pool: $10,000
1 Howard Tam Sacramento, CA $3,100
1 Aaron Perkins Sacramento, CA $1,900
1 Gratchia Makarian Pollock Pines, CA $1,000
1 Shawn Hill Ct. Heights, CA $1,000
5 Gary Pisarek Auburn, CA $450
5 Ryan Searles Alnto, CA $450
5 Kiatoom Lor Sacramento, CA $450
5 Carrie Diggs Sacramento, CA $450
9 Lynda Hernandez Chico, CA $300
9 Thai Nguyen Roseville, CA $300
9 Bohao Zhu Sacramento, CA $300
9 Christopher Penfield Fairfield, CA $300

ANTE UP NORCAL CLASSIC
Thunder Valley Casino - Lincoln, Calif.
EVENT #4 - No-limit hold'em with bounties
Buy-in: $125
Entries: 89
Prize pool: $6,675
1 Thomas Carty Fair Oaks, CA $875
1 Jaime Lopez Ceres, CA $875
1 Jeremy Chew Roseville, CA $875
1 John Grisler Rnch. Cordova, CA $875
1 Christopher Conkright Acampo, CA $875
1 Arnold Adicoff Grass Valley, CA $875
1 Caleb Van Patten Elk Grove, CA $875
8 Lynda Hernandez Chico, CA $234
9 Kevin Wildman Rocklin, CA $167
10 Tania Oloy Grass Valley, CA $150
ANTE UP NORCAL CLASSIC
Thunder Valley Casino Resort - Lincoln, Calif.
EVENT #5 - Limit Omaha/8
Buy-in: $160
Entries: 74
Prize Pool: $10,000
1 Eric Green Ct. Heights, CA $3,000
2 Manju Gera Diamond Bar, CA $2,100
3 Youhwan Chun SF, CA $1,350
4 Gerardo Gonzalez Olivehurst, CA $1,000
5 Theodore Pantazis Sloughterhouse, CA $750
6 Jeffrey Hart Sacramento, CA $600
7 Vien Chan Sacramento, CA $500
8 Robert Badour Paradise, CA $400
9 Cesar Ragsac SF, CA $300
ANTE UP NORCAL CLASSIC
Thunder Valley Casino Resort - Lincoln, Calif.
EVENT #6 - No-Limit Hold'em
Buy-in: $125
Entries: 72
Prize Pool: $7,200
Place Name City Payout
1 Osias Lacayanga Daly City, CA $1,341
1 Elissa Norman Sacramento, CA $1,341
1 Joseph Pena Napa, CA $1,341
1 Joseph Esparza Lodi, CA $1,341
5 Zhaolei Xu Thousand Oaks, CA $540
6 Albert Sanchez Penryn, CA $432
7 Faithful Zaragoza Citrus Hts, CA $360
8 Jason Maat Grand Rapids, MI $288
9 Robert Fenley Stockton, CA $216

ANTE UP NORCAL CLASSIC
Thunder Valley Casino Resort - Lincoln, Calif.
EVENT #7 - No-Limit Hold'em Stacked
Buy-in: $235
Entries: 127
Prize Pool: $25,400
1 Mike Stanley Orangevale, CA $4,469
2 Charlito Aseberos Elk Grove, CA $4,409
3 Wilton Alejandro Roseville, CA $3,950
4 Osias Lacayanga Daly City, CA $3,785
5 Anthony Lewis Citrus Hts., CA $1,702
6 Eyyal Altar Walnut Creek, CA $1,361
7 John Grisler Rancho Cord., CA $1,133
8 Ryan Rielley Carmichael, CA $907
9 Allan Lujan Fresno, CA $681
10 Eric White Fairfield, CA $495
11 Doyle Johnson Vavacille, CA $495
12 Thomas Emerson Sacramento, CA $495
13 Daniel Guevara Napa CA $406
14 Exequiel Fernando Elk Grove, CA $406
15 Tony Chang Reno, NV $406
16 Michael Marcoccia Acampo, CA $300

ANTE UP NORCAL CLASSIC
Thunder Valley Casino Resort - Lincoln, Calif.
EVENT #9 - No-Limit Hold'em Action 8
Buy-in: $260
Entries: 65
Prize Pool: $14,300
1 Patrick Lyons Hillsborough, CA $3,754
2 Kirk Redford Folsom, CA $3,258
3 Carrie Diggs $2,286
4 Dermot Lyons $1,998
5 Robert Lew Sacramento, CA $1,037
6 Clinton Jones Redding, CA $822
7 Edward Miller Granite Bay, CA $644
8 Eyyal Altar Walnut Creek, CA $501

ANTE UP NORCAL CLASSIC
Thunder Valley Casino Resort - Lincoln, Calif.
EVENT #10 - No-Limit Hold'em Bounty
Buy-in: $160
Entries: 66
Prize Pool: $5,820
1 Chris Hinchcliffe $872
2 M. D. $844
3 Itude Spencer $766
4 Kevin Weinmann $729
5 Ronald Malonzo $693
6 Arnold Adicoff $689
7 Gregory Pincombe $644
8 Charles Ciffin $429
9 Dylan Kubochi $144