Rob Quigley (Pittsburgh, PA) was kicking himself for the call he didn't make, but he overcame the hand to win Event 3 ($560 NL) of the Borgata Winter Poker Open.
Quigley beat Tim "Ace" Eller (High Point, NC) heads up, the same player he folded to earlier in the day.
"I'm really happy and really relieved," says Eller. "I've had a couple of cashes and a final table here (at Borgata), so I really wanted to win."
Quigley wins the tournament with 9♥ 9♠, but it's the AQ he folded to Eller that was hard to shake off.
"I don't believe he folded what he said," Eller said. "I think if he had that he would have called."
There were 17 players remaining when Eller and Quigley saw a flop of A♠ 7♣ 4♦ with Luke Edwards (Mansfield, OH) all in. After Quigley checked, Eller moved all in into a dry side pot.
After Quigley reluctantly folded, Eller turned over pocket kings to knockout Edwards.
"He's the only guy I fold to," said Quigley, who, had he stayed in the hand, would have eliminated both Edwards and Eller with a pair of aces. "He was the tightest player yesterday. I only saw him open with aces and kings."
Quigley said it took him thirty minutes to get over the hand as he and Eller made their way to the final table.
Eller took advantage of Quigley's misstep and took the chip lead with three straight knockouts. He picked off Borgata trophy winners Kevin Saul (Chicago, IL) and Hoa Nguyen (Fairfax, VA) in 7th and 6th places respectively, followed by Shawn Yesko (Toms River, NJ) in 5th.
Then it was Quigley's turn to take the lead (2.7 million to 2 million) when he knocked out Elie "Tete" Joseph (Lexington, MA) in 4th place and Antonio Schiano (Bayville, NJ) in third.
Heads up didn't last long and ironically it was Eller who held AQ, the hand Quigley folded, when he was eliminated against pocket 9s.
"This is the highlight of my poker career to date and I've been playing since I was 16," said Eller the 52-year-old businessman who earned $28,809 for his largest career cash.
Recognizable names making the money included WSOP bracelet holder Marsha Wolak (Sarasota, FL) who made the final table and finished 10th for $2,497. She was knocked out just before Jerry Maher (9th) and Michael Caruso (8th).
Other familiar faces in the money included 2x WPT title holder Cornel Cimpan (24th), and Borgata trophy winners Amanda Musumeci (29th) and Howard Wolper (30th).
This is Quigley's largest career cash. He's a 31-year-old part time poker player who works for Allegheny County in Pittsburgh.
Final Table Results
1st Rob Quigley (Pittsburgh, PA) $51,860
2nd Tim "Ace" Eller (High Point, NC) $28,809
3rd Antonio Schiano (Bayville, NJ) $17,862
4th Elie "Tete" Joseph (Lexington, MA) $14,405
5th Shawn Yesko (Toms River, NJ) $11,139
6th Hoa Nguyen (Fairfax, VA) $9,411
7th Kevin Saul (Chicago, IL) $7,586
8th Michael Caruso (Flourtown, PA) $5,666
9th Jerry Maher (Warren, NJ) $3,841
10th Marsha Wolak (Sarasota, FL) $2,497