$

Awarded to date

Potawatomi Casino

November 12 - 20, 2016

 
  • Level: 32
  • Blinds: 80000 / 160000
  • Ante: 20000
Alex Aqel Rides Chip Lead All the Way to a Win in the MSPT Potawatomi for $138,385
Created (11/21/2016 1:12:09 AM by Chad Holloway)

The MSPT Potawatomi Hotel & Casino $1,100 buy-in Main Event attracted 596 entrants (269 Day 1a & 327 1b), which made it the second-largest major poker tournament ($1,000+ buy-in) in Wisconsin history behind the Spring 2015 MSPT Potawatomi, which drew 635 entrants.

After three days of play, Chicago’s Alex Aqel, 32, emerged victorious to capture a $138,385 first-place prize. Aqel began Day 2 second in chips, and it didn’t take him long to assume the chip lead. Amazingly, he held it all the day and used it to navigate all the way to the end.

“I want to say I played amazing, but it wasn’t that hard to play,” said Aqel, who is engaged to be married this summer. “Tournament poker is swingy. Anything can happen. I just got really fortunate in a lot of spots. Deserving to win the tournament, no I don’t buy into that. Everyone else who played this tournament deserved to win it just as much as I did.”

Prior to the win, Aqel, who plays poker part time while being invested in a tech firm with his brother, had $51,642 in tournament earnings with his prior best cash being $11,989 for a runner-up finish to tour regular Ron Kruk in the 2013 World Series of Poker Circuit Horseshoe Hammond $365 NLH Turbo. This win marked Aqel’s first MSPT cash.

Final Table Results

1st – Alex Aqel (Orland Park, IL) … $138,385
2nd – Derek Dunifer (Mukwonago, WI) … $82,168
3rd – Jill Bryant (Aurora, IL) … $53,626
4th – Kyle Kramer (Wisconsin) … $37,192
5th – Paul Arnett (West Allis, WI) … $27,966
6th – Ravi Raghavan (Chicago, IL) … $21623
7th – Scott Obst (Milwaukee, WI) … $17,57
8th – Eric Maier (Littleton, CO) … $14,416
9th – Dan Stickel (Vernon Hills, IL) … $11,532
10th – Randy Perkins (Davenport, IA) … $9,226

Day 2 saw 111 players return to action, each looking to claim their portion of the $596,000 total prize pool, which was nearly triple the advertised $200K GTD. However, with just 54 players slated to get paid, more than half the field would leave empty handed including Wisconsin State Poker champ Andy Rubinberg, Iowa State Poker champ John Sun, and poker pro Kou Vang, just to name a few.

Once Gabriele Patti fell as the bubble boy in 55th place, the in-the-money eliminations came at a steady pace. Among those to leave with a payday were 2016 WSOP 12th-place finisher Mike Shin (48th - $2,306), author of Positively Fifth Street Jim McManus (44th - $2,595), two-time MSPT champ Jeremy Dresch (41st - $2,595), and MSPT Season 6 champ Rich Alsup (40th - $2,595).

Last weekend, Alsup finished runner-up to Carl Carodenuto in the MSPT Golden Gates Main Event. As such, Carodenuto took over the top spot on the MSPT Season 7 Player of the Year leaderboard with 3,800 points while Alsup was close behind with 3,600.

Alsup could have tied Carodenuto here in Milwaukee had he finished 28th-36th place, but unfortunately he was ousted in 40th for 100 POY points. That cut the gap separating them in half with one stop to go in the season.

Others who cashed but ultimately fell short of the final table were Tom Hammers (33rd - $3114), MSPT Potawatomi Regional champ Vinh Tran (26th - $3,979), WSOP bracelet winner John Reading (24th - $3,979), and the last two Minnesotans in the field Jason Seitz (12th - $9,226) and Rob Wazwaz (11th - $9,226).

Aqel began the final table as chip leader, and in the very first hand he eliminated Randy Perkins, who had been second in chips. Perkins tried to bluff Aqel, but it didn’t work as the eventual champ called down with pocket queens.

“He just fired. I thought he had at least tens or jacks,” said Aqel of the hand. “I was really surprised to see king-jack. I was really fortunate to win that.”

That gave Aqel a huge chip lead, and to make things even sweeter he ran pure, especially when he picked up aces twice at the same time Dan Stickel and Scott Obst held kings and tens respectively. That resulted in two eliminations and even more chips.

In between, Colorado’s Eric Maier exited in eighth place after losing ace-four to Kyle Kramer’s ace-eight. A short time later, the most accomplished player at the final table, World Poker Tour champ Ravi Raghavan, also busted to Kramer in similar fashion.

Aqel would go on to bust three of his remaining four opponents including Jill Bryant, who began the day as the overall chip leader but had to settle for third place. Aqel began heads-up play with a big chip lead over Derek Dunifer, and it proved to be a lengthy affair. In the end, Dunifer was never able to capture the chip lead and ended up finishing as runner-up for $82,168.

Only one stop remains in Season 7 of the MSPT. Next month, the tour returns to Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minnesota for our season-ending finale. The $1,100 buy-in, $200K GTD Main Event runs from December 9-11, and you can find more information by clicking here.

  • Level: 32
  • Blinds: 80000 / 160000
  • Ante: 20000
Derek Dunifer Eliminated in 2nd Place ($82,168)
Created (11/21/2016 1:07:57 AM by Chad Holloway)

Derek Dunifer

Heads-up play was a long affair, but try as he might Derek Dunifer was unable to overcome Alex Aqel’s chip lead.

In what would be the final hand of the tournament, Aqel raised the button to 350,000 with the  da js and Dunifer called holding the  qs 9c.

Dunifer then check-called a bet of 275,000 on the  ah kc 6d flop before checking the  ac turn.

Aqel bet 575,000 and Dunifer thought long and hard before calling. When the  jh completed the board on the river, Dunifer checked for a third time and Aqel moved all in.

Dunifer eyed his opponent suspiciously and ended up making the call with his queen high. Unfortunately for him, he was wrong and had to settle for runner-up and an $82,168 consolation prize.

Derek Dunifer- Eliminated in 2nd Place for $82,168

  • Level: 30
  • Blinds: 50000 / 100000
  • Ante: 10000
Heads-Up Chip Counts
Created (11/20/2016 11:27:11 PM by Chad Holloway)

Alex Aqel - 9.6 million
Derek Dunifer - 2.2 million

  • Level: 30
  • Blinds: 50000 / 100000
  • Ante: 10000
Jill Bryant Eliminated in 3rd Place ($53,626)
Created (11/20/2016 11:25:45 PM by Chad Holloway)

Jill Bryant

Jill Bryant moved all in from the small blind for 1.6 million with the  ah 10d and Derek Dunifer called off for 1.2 million from the big with the  kd qc. The board ran out  2h kc 7h qh 4s and Dunifer doubled.

Bryant was left with just 375,000 after, and while she doubled it the very next hand, she fell the hand after that.

It happened when Dunifer opened the button for 200,000 and Alex Aqel moved all in from the small blind. Bryant called off from the big and Dunifer got out of the way.

Aqel:  9d 9c
Bryant:  as qd

It was a flip, but Bryant needed to improve to stay alive. Unfortunately for her, that didn’t happen as the board ran out a lowly  3d 4h 3s 8c 5d.

Jill Bryant – Eliminated in 3rd Place for $53,626

  • Level: 29
  • Blinds: 40000 / 80000
  • Ante: 10000
Kyle Kramer Eliminated in 4th Place ($37,192)
Created (11/20/2016 10:56:29 PM by Chad Holloway)

Kyle Kramer

Derek Dunifer moved all in from the button and a short-stacked Kyle Kramer called off from the small blind for 680,000.

Dunifer:  jh 7h
Kramer:  6c 6d

It was a flip, and Kramer held on the  9d 3d as flop. Unfortunately for him, the  jd spiked on the turn to give Dunifer the lead. The  10c river changed nothing and Kramer hit the rail in fourth place.

Kyle Kramer – Eliminated in 4th Place for $37,192

  • Level: 29
  • Blinds: 40000 / 80000
  • Ante: 10000
Paul Arnett Eliminated in 5th Place ($27,966)
Created (11/20/2016 10:52:40 PM by Chad Holloway)

Paul Arnett

On a flop of  ah 5h jh, Paul Arnett bet 350,000 under the gun holding the  as 10h and chip leader Alex Aqel, who had flopped a flush with the  9h 8h, just called from the cutoff.

When the  9s appeared on the turn, Arnett moved all in for 1.2 million and Aqel snap-called.

Arnett could still win with a river heart, but it didn’t come as the  6c bricked on the river.

Paul Arnett – Eliminated in 5th Place for $27,966

  • Level: 28
  • Blinds: 30000 / 60000
  • Ante: 10000
Break Time
Created (11/20/2016 10:15:28 PM by Chad Holloway)

The final five players are now on a 10-minute break.

  • Level: 28
  • Blinds: 30000 / 60000
  • Ante: 10000
Updated Chip Counts
Created (11/20/2016 9:48:03 PM by Chad Holloway)

Alex Aqel - 6.5 million
Jill Bryant - 2.3 million
Paul Arnett - 2 million
Kyle Kramer - 1.2 million
Derek Dunifer - 900,000

  • Level: 27
  • Blinds: 25000 / 50000
  • Ante: 5000
Ravi Raghavan Eliminated in 6th Place ($21,623)
Created (11/20/2016 9:31:43 PM by Chad Holloway)

Ravi Raghavan

Poker pro Ravi Raghavan, who began the final table as the short stack, moved all in for 245,000 from the hijack. Derek Dunifer called from the cutoff, Kyle Kramer did the same from the button, and both blinds folded.

Dunifer and Kramer proceeded to check it down as the board ran out  2d 5d 9h 6h 10c.

Raghavan:  ac 4s
Dunifer:  kc qc
Kramer:  ah qs

“So close” said Raghavan before shaking hands with the rest of the table. Raghavan will take home $21,623 for his second-ever MSPT cash.

Ravi Raghavan – Eliminated in 6th Place for $21,623

  • Level: 27
  • Blinds: 25000 / 50000
  • Ante: 5000
Paul Arnett Shoves on Alex Aqel
Created (11/20/2016 9:28:44 PM by Chad Holloway)

Paul Arnett raised to 110,000 from the hijack only to have Alex Aqel three-bet to 335,000 from the cutoff. The button and blinds all folded and Arnett called to see the  10c jd 6d flop.

Arnett checked, Aqel bet 350,000, and Arnett check-raised all in for 1.275 million.

“I’ll show ya,” Arnett offered as Aqel debated what to do. Eventually he folded and Arnett showed him the  kh jh for top pair.

Alex Aqel - 5 million
Paul Arnett - 2.37 million

 
 
Player Name
City
State
Country
Chips
Progress
IL 
11,920,000  
11,920,000 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
Aurora 
IL 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
IL 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
CO 
0  
Busted 
 
IL 
0  
Busted 
 
IA 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
IL 
0  
Busted 
 
IL 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
IL 
0  
Busted 
 
IL 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
IL 
0  
Busted 
 
MI 
0  
Busted 
 
MA 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
Aurora 
IL 
0  
Busted 
 
MI 
0  
Busted 
 
Verona 
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
IL 
0  
Busted 
 
IL 
0  
Busted 
  
IL 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
IL 
0  
Busted 
 
IL 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
  
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
IN 
0  
Busted 
 
IL 
0  
Busted 
 
IL 
0  
Busted 
  
IL 
0  
Busted 
 
IL 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
MI 
0  
Busted 
 
MI 
0  
Busted 
  
NH 
0  
Busted 
  
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
  
IL 
0  
Busted 
  
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
OH 
0  
Busted 
  
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
IL 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
  
IL 
0  
Busted 
 
MI 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
IL 
0  
Busted 
 
Clare 
IL 
0  
Busted 
 
IL 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
IL 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
  
ND 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
IL 
0  
Busted 
 
IL 
0  
Busted 
 
MI 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
MI 
0  
Busted 
 
Beloit 
WI 
0  
Busted 
  
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
  
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
  
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
IL 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
CO 
0  
Busted 
 
 
 
 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
  
MN 
0  
Busted 
  
IL 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
  
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
 
 
 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
IL 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
  
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
 
 
 
0  
Busted 
 
Rank
Player Name
City
State
Country
Amount
Points
1
IL 
$138,385
1,600
2
WI 
$82,168
1,400
3
Aurora 
IL 
$53,626
1,300
4
WI 
$37,192
1,200
5
WI 
$27,966
1,100
6
IL 
$21,623
1,000
7
WI 
$17,587
900
8
CO 
$14,416
800
10
IA 
$9,226
600
11
MN 
$9,226
600
12
MN 
$9,226
600
13
IL 
$6,977
500
14
IL 
$6,977
500
18
IL 
$5,190
400
20
WI 
$3,979
300
24
MN 
$3,979
300
26
Aurora 
IL 
$3,979
300
27
MI 
$3,979
300
28
Verona 
WI 
$3,114
200
30
IL 
$3,114
200
33
MN 
$3,114
200
34
WI 
$3,114
200
35
IL 
$3,114
200
36
IL 
$3,114
200
37
WI 
$2,595
100
38
WI 
$2,595
100
40
MN 
$2,595
100
41
MN 
$2,595
100
43
IN 
$2,595
100
44
IL 
$2,595
100
47
IL 
$2,306
50
48
WI 
$2,306
50
50
MI 
$2,306
50
51
MI 
$2,306
50
LEVEL INFO
Level
32
Blinds
80000 / 160000
Ante
20000
TOURNAMENT INFO
Entries
596
Players Remaining
1
Average Chip Stack
11,920,000
Total Chips
11,920,000
TOP 10 CHIP COUNT
RANK
PLAYER
CHIPS
11,920,000
0
0
0
0
0
SEASON TOP 10 POY POINTS
RANK
PLAYER
CHIPS
3,825
3,250
2,250
2,200
2,100
2,050
2,000
2,000
1,850
10 
1,800