Loni Harwood Wins 2015 WSOP National Championship

The fifth-ever WSOP National Championship, which took place at Harrah’s Cherokee in Cherokee, North Carolina, was completed late on Friday. Female poker pro Loni Harwood topped the field of 122 of world’s best players as well as WSOP Circuit regulars to capture her second WSOP gold bracelet and the amount of $341,599.

It is important to note that the WSOP National Championship is an invitation-only event. In other words, 100 of the entrants receive free seats into the tournament due to their performance in WSOP Circuit events during the past season. The winners of all Circuit Main Events as well as the Casino Champion at every single stop are granted free entries.

The seats are worth $10,000 each, which means that the tournament features a $1-million guaranteed prize pool. Apart from those 100 invitees, 100 more players are also eligible to enter the championship, provided that they pay the $10,000 buy-in fee. However, they need to be among the 100 point earners in the WSOP Player of the Year ranking over the previous two years.

As mentioned above, there were 122 entries this year and a prize pool of $1,220,000 was generated. Of all 7 players, who returned for Day 3, the final one in the tournament’s schedule, Harwood and Daniel Negreanu were the only ones who have bought their seats. The rest of the players have earned their free entries.

Harwood is no stranger to WSOP and WSOP Circuit events. Prior to her latest victory, the female poker pro was a proud holder of one WSOP gold bracelet and two WSOP gold rings. She won her bracelet back in 2013 in a $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em tournament. It could be said that the summer of 2013 was quite successful for her. She cashed in six events, made three final table appearances, and collected a total of $874,698. At that time, she was the female player to have won most in a single WSOP.

She captured her two gold rings back in 2012 for topping the fields of a $345 No-Limit Hold’em event at Palm Beach Kennel Club and a $355 one at Harrah’s New Orleans.

After her triumph last night, Harwood’s WSOP and WSOP Circuit earnings amount to a little less than $1.4 million. As for her overall winnings from live tournaments, they total $1,627,485.

At this year’s WSOP National Championship, Harwood had to face Alex Masek in a final heads-up duel. Masek, who has won the most WSOP Circuit gold rings (eight) in the history of the Series, started Day 3 of the championship as the short stack with only 100,000 chips. However, he managed to catch up and even took the lead right before the start of the heads-up play.

Apart from this moment of weakness, Harwood held the majority of chips throughout the event’s final table. She quickly retook the chip lead and maintained it until the very end.

On what turned out to be the last hand in play, Harwood raised all in and Masek called. The female poker pro tabled [3h][3c] against her opponent’s [Ac][7h]. The board ran out [8c][7c][3d][5c][6s] and Masek was eliminated in 2nd place for $211,133.

And here are the rest of the players who made it to the final table:

Darryll Fish was eliminated in 3rd place by Masek to capture the amount of $152,402. Brad St.Vincent took 4th place for $111,984. Vincent Moscati finished 5th to scoop the amount of $83,716. The player cashed in a total of 8 WSOP Circuit events this season and grabbed 3 gold rings.

Daniel Negreanu, who holds 6 WSOP gold bracelets and has won more than $30 million from live events, took 6th place to be paid $63,647. The player almost became one of this year’s November Niners but got eliminated in 11th place during the WSOP Main Event.

Paul Mattioda took 7th place in the WSOP National Championship capturing a $49,203 payout. Seth Berger finished 8th for $38,650. Rounding out the official final table, Jonathan Abla added $30,854 to his poker bankroll for his 9th place in the tournament.

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