Alex Aqel Wins WSOPC Potawatomi


Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee is proving quite the lucrative poker spot for Alex Aqel.

Just a few months after winning a Mid-States Poker Tour event for about $140,000 there, Aqel hit his biggest score yet by winning the World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event for $208,184. It roughly doubled the career tournament cashes of the Chicago-based business owner.

“Playing for that amount of money is a lot easier because I just recently had a big score,” Aqel said to tournament staff afterward.

Official Final Table Results

Place Player Hometown Prize
1 Alex Aqel Orland Park, IL $208,184
2 Chad Wiedenhoeft Whitewater, WI $128,816
3 James Gregg New Berlin, WI $94,482
4 Denise Pratt Olive Branch, MS $70,262
5 Garrett Riley Quincy, IL $52,958
6 Nick Pupillo Addison, IL $40,447
7 Nik Stone Auburndale, WI $31,298
8 Josh Reichard Janesville, WI $25,534
9 Brad Jansen West Bend, WI $19,477

With 677 runners turning up in the first WSOP Circuit Main Event at Potawatomi, 72 were paid out. Former PokerNews Managing Editor Chad Holloway, Everett Carlton, Andy Philachack, Nick Jivkov, Allen Kessler, Ravi Raghavan, Rich Alsup and TK Miles were some of the players who cashed in the event but fell short of the final table.

The final table was reached late on Day 2, and according to the live updates, Aqel was in command with around 100 big blinds.

However, Denise Pratt took the lead after picking up aces and three-betting Brad Jansen, who called with ace-king and stacked off on a king-high flop. Jansen was left with less than a big blind and busted before everyone bagged for the night to leave eight players for the final day.

Bagging and tagging did nothing to slow down how hot Pratt ran, as she coolered Josh Reichard right off the bat on Day 3. Both players made trip eights in a button versus blind spot, but Pratt had Reichard outkicked and took most of chips before he busted in eighth. Reichard could at least console himself with the sixth career ring that he picked up earlier in the series.

Aqel then won a big pot against Nik Stone by flatting from the button when Stone opened on his right. The flop came {j-Clubs}{9-Diamonds} and Aqel called a bet, then another on the {10-Spades} turn. After a {q-Hearts} arrived, Aqel made a big bet on the end and Stone called off most of his stack only to see Aqel show king-queen for the turned nut straight. Left with crumbs, Stone busted in seventh.

Nick Pupillo tried to add a second ring to his collection but faltered in sixth after running ace-king into Garrett Riley’s aces.

Meanwhile, Aqel dwindled down to about 15 big blinds when he jammed in the big blind over a button raise from Riley. Riley called with {a-Clubs}{6-Clubs} but lost to Aqel’s {a-Spades}{8-Diamonds} when enough low cards hit the felt to allow Aqel’s kicker to play.

Pratt’s roll show finally slowed down after she bluffed all in on the river into Chad Wiedenhoeft’s full house and then lost a big flip to Aqel, who paired up with ace-jack against Pratt’s sevens.

She then lost another big pot to Aqel, this time calling a raise in the small blind and then shoving all in with tens on an {a-Spades}{j-Spades}{7-Hearts} flop only to see Aqel snap with sevens. After Riley ran out of steam in fifth, Pratt bluffed off her remaining chips on the river with queen-high when James Gregg made a wheel.

Gregg shoved all in with ace-king for about 20 big blinds over a Wiedenhoeft raise three-handed. Wiedenhoeft called with ace-three and found a three on the turn to take the slightest of leads into heads-up play with Aqel.

The decisive heads-up hand started with Wiedenhoeft limping the button and Aqel raising to 350,000 at 50,000/100,000/10,000. Wiedenhoeft called and he called barrels of 250,000 and 450,000 as the board came down {9-Diamonds}{7-Clubs}{7-Spades}{7-Diamonds}{a-Clubs}. Aqel fired a final bullet of 1,050,000 on the river only to see Wiedenhoeft move all in. Aqel called since he had {7-Hearts}{5-Hearts} for quads and Wiedenhoeft showed his {j-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds}.

Wiedenhoeft was left with 32 big blinds and a 3-1 deficit and couldn’t recover, settling for second and $128,816 when he called off his remaining chips with a pair of jacks on the river only to see Aqel show down trip kings for the win on a {k-Spades}{j-Diamonds}{9-Hearts}{k-Diamonds}{3-Diamonds} board.

Here’s a look at all of the other ring winners at the Potawatomi stop:

Event Winner Prize
$365 Reentry Ty Veras $67,726
$580 NLHE Yousef Anbar $29,371
$365 Turbo Winston Ackerman $22,842
$365 NLHE Leon Gao $14,500
$365 PLO Josh Reichard $17,021
$365 Six-Max Travis Lauson $19,639
$365 Monster Stack Eric Guth $34,310
$2,200 High Roller Nadya Magnus $71,398
$365 Turbo Byron Ziebell $19,547
$580 NLHE Kalpesh Shah $22,950

Photo courtesy of WSOP

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