Still wins Player of the Series at Ante Up Worlds

August 23, 2016, Scott Long  

By Scott Long

This year’s Ante Up World Championship was Dalton Still’s from the start. Literally.

The series, which boasted $1 million in guarantees, kicked off with a new event called the Catapult, a five-flight $155 buy-in event that drew a staggering 1,595 players to Thunder Valley Casino Resort near Sacramento, Calif., Winning the event catapulted Still to the top spot in the first Ante Up World Championship Player of the Series and on the cover of Ante Up.

“I feel privileged to be chosen for such an honor,” said Still, a Rocklin, Calif., player who started playing poker in 2002 and plays mostly online, though he has started making a name for himself on the Northern California tournament circuit. “I think we all play tournaments to go on big runs and it’s nice to have mine be recognized. Hopefully, I will have a World Series of Poker ring and bracelet to put next to it someday.”
Still’s remarkable run started with rallying from just 5,000 chips in the Catapult at the 400-800 level.

“I somehow found a few doubles to get to over average,” he said. “After that, I built up my stack all day with good calls, folds and bluffs. I think that you kind of need to have all those things go right to get through a 1,600-player field. On Day 2, we were about 36-handed when I went from like 700K to 1.8 million in a single dealer rotation, when the average was around 500K. This gave me a lot of chips to put pressure on everyone toward the end.”

Still earned $20K for winning that event, but he wasn’t done. Thirteen events later, he found himself at the final table of the $340 buy-in six-max event. He went on a rush, but then his pocket 10s ran into the pocket aces of friend Matt Boddorf of Lincoln, Calif., which evened out the stacks.

“We ended up chopping heads-up because it was 3 a.m. and neither of us wanted to play two more hours considering we had the heads-up tourney the next morning,” Still said.

And the $400 buy-in Head to Head Championship proved to be a major sweat for Still. Boddorf, who had cashed in Events 1 and 10, was the only player standing between Still and the Player of the Series title, which awarded the winner a seat in the $1,650 main event. To unseat Still, Boddorf would need to win the event and have Still not cash. Still was eliminated and Boddorf kept picking off opponents until he was forced to make the difficult decision to chop four-handed, handing the title to Still.

“I thought I was still a huge favorite to win, considering he had to get first place to overtake the lead,” Still said. “After he won the first couple rounds, I was refreshing my phone every 10 minutes for updates. It was a good race and we had a lot of fun. Congrats to Matt on his success this series.”

Ben Erwin, director of poker operations for Thunder Valley, was aggressive in designing this year’s Ante Up World Championship, emboldened by the staggering growth the resort has seen in poker since hosting its first major tournament series, the Ante Up NorCal Classic, in 2012. And nowhere was he more aggressive than putting a $500K guarantee on the main event, which easily surpassed that with 414 entries and was won by a player who survived heads-up by hitting a two-outer to collect $124,940. He declined to be identified or photographed for this article.

“The series was truly a success for the region,” Erwin said. “This series was very aggressive, offering four $100K-plus guaranteed events, with a weekday $100K guarantee that has never been attempted in our market. The amount of people that traveled in and regional players that took time off to participate was remarkable.”

The 20-event series attracted a who’s who of players in the region and beyond, including November Niners J.C. Tran, Amir Lehavot, Steve Gee and Gordon Vayo, World Series of Poker commentator Lon McEachern and touring pros Tyler Patterson, Kevin O’Donnell, Allen Kessler and Kathy Liebert.

With affordable buy-ins for many events, several multiday events and a variety of games, including HORSE, Omaha/8, pot-limit Omaha/8, seniors and Open Face Chinese Pineapple, the series was more accessible to more players than ever before in its three years. It also featured a Welcome Reception the night before the main event for all players who registered early to enjoy complimentary drinks and appetizers at High Steaks Steakhouse, while chatting with Erwin, Ante Up publisher Scott Long and World Poker Tour Executive Tour Director Matt Savage, who oversaw the heads-up championship and the main event. Dan Ross of Hold’em Radio provided updates throughout the event on Twitter and Thunder Valley’s blog.

And it all played out at the luxurious AAA Four Diamond Thunder Valley Resort, which features a Las Vegas-style casino, well-appointed guest rooms, a spa, and plenty of restaurants, bars and entertainment venues to keep players entertained when away from the poker table.

While November’s Ante Up NorCal Classic is the next AUPT event scheduled at Thunder Valley, with the winner of the main event appearing on the cover of Ante Up, Erwin already has turned his attention to next year’s Ante Up World Championship.

“Next year, the tradition will continue! The $1M in guaranteed prize money will be back. We are always looking to add events and improve, and 2017 will be no exception,” Erwin said. “This series was really a celebration of what poker was become here in the Sacramento. It’s a privilege to host this series. The fact that players are now marking their calendars and planning to travel for the Ante Up World Championship at Thunder Valley is remarkable and proves that our game is alive and well in Northern California.”

ANTE UP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

Ev. 1 • $155 NLHE
Entries: 1,595 • Pool: $204K
1. Dalton Still, $20K
2. John Mercer, $10K
3. Todd Graham, $8,956
4. Kathy Stahl, $8,956
5. Michael Sweeney, $8,956
6. Henrieto Acain, $8,956
7. Jill Haddox, $8,956
8. Gary Pisarek, $8,956
9. Juan Ramirez-Parodi
10. Zak Pirddy, $8,956

Ev. 2 • $150 bounty
Entries: 171 • Pool: $13,680
1. David Forsberg, $1,815
2. Mohammad Dirsiye, $1,815
3. Joseph Bayless, $1,815
4. Walter Bayless, $1,815
5. Clive Berkman, $1,815
6. Todd Duda, $1,815
7. Leland Wulff, $506
8. Kim Hyunhye, $376
9. Gregory Bixler, $267
10. Siavash Bahri, $212

Ev. 3 • $125 NLHE
Entries: 155 • Pool: $15,499
1. Christina Ouyang-Hang, $2,651
2. Tommy Carpenter, $1,833
3. Peter Tran, $1,814
4. Phillip Phongsaiphonh, $1,795
5. Justin Williams, $1,566
6. Calixto Magaoay, $1,448
7. Jack Surwald, $1,266
8. Fariborz Davrapanah, $532
9. David Lloyd, $398
10. John Hadley, $290

Ev. 4 • $125 NLHE
Entries: 136 • Pool: $13,600
1. Kyle Welter, $3,643
2. Robert Sudbury, $2,553
3. Rudy Sisson, $1,642
4. Jae Pak, $1,216
5. Eric Danson, $911
6. Lance Richardson, $729
7. Darron Kendall, $607
8. Albert Sanchez, $468
9. Shane Feusier, $364
10. Evelyn Iraheta, $265

Ev. 5 • $155 NLHE
Entries: 86 • Pool: $11K
1. Kevin O’Donnell, $2,000
2. Ryan Carlson, $1,589
3. Walter Stewart, $1,588
4. Outtama Keovangsa, $1,588
5. Eric Danson, $1,588
6. Howard Tam, $660
7. Bill Walker, $523
8. Scott Long, $413
9. Tommy Carpenter, $330
10. Ed Miller, $330

Ev. 6 • $155 6-max
Entries: 126 • Pool: $16,128
1. James Hammer, $2,907
2. Masoud Shojaei, $2,907
3. John Mercer, $2,907
4. Monte Gilley, $1,455
5. Antonio Baracco, $1,092
6. Jae Pak, $840
7. Josh Pedretti, $631
8. Richard Elson, $631
9. Exequiel Fernando, $631
10. Sharon Sanchez, $419

Ev. 7 • $140 NLHE
Entries: 102 • Pool: $12,240
1. Walter Stewart, $1,000
1. George Cabrey, $1,000
1. Edward Stafsholt, $1,000
1. Evelyn Iraheta, $1,000
1. Carolyn Bermudez, $1,000
1. Robert Luebkeman, $1,000
1. Wayne Burton, $1,000
1. Clive Berkman, $1,000
1. Ted Clark, $1,000
1. Jeff Sardella, $1,000

Ev. 8 • $155 O/8
Entries: 121 • Pool: $15,488
1. Danny Smith, $4,150
2. Benjamin Skinner, $2,907
3. William Husa, $1,869
4. Richard Peterson, $1,385
5. Yang Shifley, $1,038
6. Eddy Vataru, $830
7. Ronald Spence, $691
8. Jeffrey Hart, $553
9. Brian Waller, $415
10. Una Seo, $302

Ev. 9 • $425 NLHE
Entries: 767 • Pool: $284K
1. Joe Christman, $42,200
2. Rafael Gonzalez, $45,000
3. Amber Chatwin, $22,600
4. Walter Robertson, $16,860
5. Vikram Bhatia, $12,947
6. Chuck Davy, $10,440
7. Anne Jones, $8,500
8. N/A, $6,700
9. Donald Deeds, $5,000
10. Danna Deatherage, $3,670

Ev. 10 • $150 bounty
Entries: 178 • Pool: $14,341
1. John Bufka, $1,025
2. Joshua Emery, $1,025
3. Ken Fitzgerald, $1,025
4. Bienvenida Rosal, $1,025
5. Ian Elieff, $1,025
6. Mariedward Sese, $1,025
7. Emmanuel Okoye, $1,025
8. Ronald Christian, $1,025
9. Michael Durzan, $1,025
10. Nader Haddad, $1,025

Ev. 11 • $155 HORSE
Entries: 68 • Pool: $8,704
1. John Goyette, $2,220
1. Brendon Thomson, $2,220
3. Suzanne Giannetti, $1,175
4. Kyle Grewing, $870
5. Anthony Summers, $653
6. Kulwant Singh, $522
7. Ronald Spence, $435
8. Michael Arents, $348
9. Jason Moe, $261

Ev. 12 • $250 NLHE
Entries: 496 • Pool: $105K
1. Bill Watchman, $19,500
2. Tom Vann, $14,195
3. Tyler Patterson, $9,850
4. Peter Xiong, $7,200
5. Daniel Evans, $5,600
6. Lon McEachern, $4,470
7. Donald Landwirth, $3,450
8. Vincent Fagalde, $2,550
9. Mark Beaman, $1,800
10. George Cabrey, $1,800

Ev. 13 • $155 PLO/8
Entries: 54 • Pool: $6,912
1. Vic Campana, $1,970
2. Una Seo, $1,970
3. Thomas McGurk, $1,037
4. James Maxwell, $829
5. John Fraivillig, $622
6. Michael Kelly, $484

Ev. 14 • $340 6-max
Entries: 62 • Pool: $20K
1. Matt Boddorf, $4,505
1. Dalton Still, $4,505
3. Hoang Nguyen, $2,600
4. Said Rahmani, $2,080
5. Robert Lew, $1,560
6. Arsalan Kashan, $1,200
7. Joseph Arent, $900
8. Michael Zakin, $900
9. Marty Gorenc, $900
10. Jae Pak, $850

Ev. 15 • $400 HU
Entries: 63 • Pool: $21,420
1. Eric Werner, $4,016
1. Matt Boddorf, $4,016
1. Matthew Kramer, $4,016
1. Chris Penfield, $4,016
5. Mike Postle, $1,339
5. Sean Drake, $1,339
5. Brian Giles, $1,339
5. James Arrasmith, $1,339

$1,650 Main Event
Entries: 414 • Pool: $608K
1. N/A, $124,940
2. Jaime Haletky, $87,636
3. Alan Snow, $56,355
4. Phil Rhodes, $37,489
5. Cherie Wallace, $28,847
6. Duy Ho, $23,917
7. Kyle Kitagawa, $20,083
8. Michael Pearson, $16,310
9. Ken Fitzgerald, $12,537
10. Adam Duong, $10,528

Ev. 17 • $155 NLHE
Entries: 110 • Pool: $14K
1. Roy Mode, $3,369
2. Travis Fujisaka, $3,369
3. John Rogers, $1,784
4. Fernando Mora, $1,322
5. Scott Lacy, $991
6. Gina Stagnitto, $793
7. Michelle Murillo, $660
8. Kam Tam, $528
9. Thai Nguyen, $397
10. Francisco Garcia, $289

Ev. 18 • $125 Srs.
Entries: 84 • Pool: $8,400
1. Ravinder Sharma, $2,011
2. Gaudencio Lucca, $2,010
3. Bruce Williams, $1,064
4. George Cabrey, $789
5. Darrell Colley, $591
6. Jeffrey Trettenero, $473
7. Vic Campana, $394
8. James Prager, $315
9. Arnie Adicoff, $237
10. Arthur Hill, $172

Ev. 19 • $235 OFC
Entries: 33 • Pool: $4,400
1. Azaan Nagra, $1,760
2. Chris Penfield, $1,232
3. Patrick Laffey, $792
4. John English, $616

Ev. 20 • $100 bounty
Entries: 104 • Pool: $6,032
1. Marty Gorenc, $1,600
2. Trevor Schlatzlein, $1,435
3. Michael Danilov, $754
4. Joseph Walker, $513
5. Sharon Sanchez, $407
6. Kenneth Krause, $317
7. Schuyler Thornton, $256
8. Manuel Romero, $196
9. Fernando Mora, $136
10. Richard Peloquin, $106