Alex Aqel Wins MSPT Potawatomi ($138,385)



A week after a big event in Colorado, the Mid-States Poker Tour was back in action with a trip to Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee. The event drew 596 runners and Alex Aqel of Illinois outlasted them all for a payday of $138,385, more than all of his other tournament cashes combined.

Official Final Table Results

Place Player Hometown Prize
1 Alex Aqel Orland Park, IL $138,385
2 Derek Dunifer Mukwonago, WI $82,168
3 Jilly Bryant Aurora, IL $53,626
4 Kyle Kramer N/A $37,192
5 Paul Arnett West Allis, WI $27,966
6 Ravi Raghavan Chicago, IL $21,623
7 Scott Obst Milwaukee, WI $17,587
8 Eric Maier Littleton, CO $14,416
9 Dan Stickel Vernon Hills, IL $11,532
10 Randy Perkins Davenport, IA $9,226

The tournament paid out 54 places, and a number of notable players managed to cash, including Mike Shin, James McManus, Rich Alsup, Jeremy Dresch, John Reading, Vlad Revniaga, Jason Seitz and Rob Wazwaz.

Aqel started out the day second in chips out of 111 remaining players, according to the live updates, and it wasn’t a stack he allowed to slip much during the course of Day 2. He scored a number of eliminations en route to the final table, which he entered with over 50 big blinds and a slight chip lead over Randy Perkins.

Aqel was dealt aces in two huge spots after that, busting Dan Stickel and Scott Obst, who held kings and tens, respectively. In between those two, Eric Maier went out eighth. That left just six players and Aqel held almost half of the ammo at the table.

Chicago-based pro Ravi Raghavan went out sixth and then Aqel flopped a flush with {9-Hearts}{8-Hearts} and busted Paul Arnett, who couldn’t get away from {a-Spades}{10-Hearts} on a board of {a-Hearts}{5-Hearts}{j-Hearts}{9-Spades} and failed to find another heart on the river.

After Kyle Kramer busted in fourth, start-of-day leader Jill Bryant didn’t improve with ace-queen against Aqel’s nines. Aqel took a huge lead of more than 4-1 coming into heads-up play with Derek Dunifer.

The match took a while, though, as the two played for about 90 minutes. Ultimately, with blinds at 80,000/160,000/20,000, Aqel raised to 350,000 and Dunifer defended. Dunifer check-called 275,000 on the flop and 575,000 on the turn as the board ran out {a-Hearts}{k-Clubs}{6-Diamonds}{a-Clubs}{j-Hearts}. Aqel jammed on the river and Dunifer decided to call with just {q-Spades}{9-Clubs} for queen-high. Aqel’s bet was no bluff though, as he held {a-Diamonds}{j-Spades} for aces full, winning the tournament and pocketing the six-figure score.