Loni Hardwood has won the 2015 World Series of Poker National Championships after beating World Series of Poker Circuit grinder Alex Masek in heads-up action.
The timing was pitch perfect.
In a week where misogyny infected poker like a rotten tooth, Loni Harwood rode into Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina and took down the 2015 World Series of Poker (WSOP) National Championships with surgical precision.It’s her second gold bracelet. Her first came in 2013 when she topped a 2,541 player field in a $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em (NLHE) event, earning $609,017. It was a WSOP that saw her emerge from her cocoon as one of the most exciting NLHE players in the world: cashing six times, making three final tables and earning close to $900,000.
Harwood picked up $341,599 for victory in this one. She has now earned over $1.6m in live tournament earnings, and the two gold bracelets will look pretty pristine amongst her two WSOPC gold rings.
The fifth iteration of the WSOP National Championships was held in North Carolina for the first time. It will be the last time the event retains its 100% U.S. flavor as the sixth season sees an expansion into other areas of the globe.
122 players created a total prize pool of $1,220,000, with most of the field qualifying for free as a result of their 2014/2015 WSOPC performances. It turned out to be an exciting final table.
The star attraction was, as always, Daniel Negreanu. His 11th place finish in the WSOP Main Event captured the imagination of every poker fan, and he broke off from his tour of California, to promote iPoker in the state, to play in this amazing event: Kid Poker eventually finishing in sixth place.
There was also a berth for Darryll Fish who won his seat after winning the WSOPC West Palm Beach Main Event for $173,189 earlier in the year. Fish finished third, and although he will be disappointed not to capture the gold, he must be happy with a 2015 haul that is his best since 2011.
The heads-up action fell between Harwood and WSOPC gold ring record winner Alex Masek. The eight-time WSOPC ring winner started the final table with only 10 big blinds. Masek must have had mixed emotions. $211, 599 is a lot of money when you are starting out with a shoving stack, but he still hasn’t been able to earn himself a bracelet.
After her victory Harwood was keen to sing the praises of her brother Scott.
“I wanna shout out to my brother, Scott Harwood. He’s one of my best friends. He’s always there for me. He wanted to be here today, but he works and he couldn’t get the day off. He’s been on the virtual rail and I’m sure he’s waiting for a phone call right now.” Harwood told WSOP after her win.
It was an amazing performance from Harwood, who grabbed the chip lead towards the end of Day 2 and only relinquished it briefly towards the end of the event, before snatching it back again.
Other notable finishers included Seth Berger (8th), Ari Engel (13th) and the reigning champion Dominik Nitsche (15th). The final table will be aired on ESPN August 18.
Final Table Results
1st. Loni Harwood – $341,599
2nd. Alex Masek – $211,599
3rd. Darryll Fish – $152,402
4th. Brad St. Vincent – $111,984
5th. Vincent Moscati – $83,716
6th. Daniel Negreanu – $63,647
7th. Paul Mattioda – $49,203