The trip to Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee was worth it for Illinois native Alex Aqel, who bested 596 players to secure a win and $138K at the Mid-States Poker Tour. This marked Aqel’s biggest cash to date.
Intense play began on the second day when Aqel started second in chip count out of the 111 remaining players. After a series of eliminations, he entered the final table in first, just barely in front of Randy Perkins.
The two leaders went head-to-head early on, with Perkins calling a 300,000 raise from Aqel on a 3♡, 4♡, 9♤ flop. Perkins was holding a K♤, J♤ and threw himself all-in after the 6♢ turn – a move he would come to regret when the river failed to produce a pair and he was sent home in 10th place.
After the big elimination, Aqel was in a great spot and continued his streak against Dan Stickel and Scott Obst, whom he eliminated in ninth and seventh, respectively. Eric Maier avoided a one-on-one with Aquel but was still sent home in eighth. Ravi Raghavan was awarded $21K for a sixth-place win.
At this point, Aqel was holding almost half the chips. Paul Arnett tried to steal some of his massive stack, but to no avail. Aqel, holding a 9♡, 8♡, managed to flop a flush (A♡, 5♡, J♡) against Arnett (A♤, 10♡), who went home in fifth.
Kyle Kramer and Jill Bryant busted in fourth and third, respectively, leaving Aqel to go into heads-up against Derek Dunifer, a former professional online player.
The two played for 90 minutes before a winner emerged. Aqel (A♢, J♤) raised and was called by Dunifer (Q♤, 9♧) throughout the final hand, but the most important call came after Aqel jammed on the river and Dunifer called all-in despite a queen-high hand. The board (A♡, K♧, 6♢, A♧, J♡) dominated with trip aces for Aqel and the second-place winner was awarded $82,168.
Final table results:
Featured photo credit: Mid-States Poker Tour, Twitter.
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