Not a lot of women have won bracelets in open events at the World Series of Poker. In fact Vanessa Selbst tops the standings with 3 gold bracelets in open events to her name. Until today Jennifer Harman was the only woman (apart from Selbst) to win two bracelets in open events (in this context meaning events with both male and female players), but with Loni Harwood taking down the WSOP National Championship, the gold bracelet and the $341,559 up top, Harman and Selbst are no longer the only women to hold this record.
Loni Harwood won her first bracelet in 2013, when she took down a $1,500 NLH event for $609,017. Last year she was looking to capture her second bracelet, but she had to let go of the dream and head home, when her mother fell ill and passed away in the summer (check out our interview with Harwood). This year Harwood has been within reach of another bracelet when she made the unofficial final table of Event #4: $3,000 Shootout, ultimately finishing in 10th place.
With the November Nine set and the culmination of the WSOP, Harwood decided to give the WSOP National Championship a shot, which proved to be a great decision. The WSOP National Championship is an invitation only tournament where the top 100 on the WSOP Circuit’s leaderboard from season 2014-15 earn a free ticket to the championship. Only players who have been in the top 100 of the WSOP over two previous years can buy in directly for $10,000 – and that’s exactly what Loni Harwood and 6-time bracelet winner Daniel Negreaneu did.
Closing in on the bracelet
Going into Day 3 only seven players remained out of 122, and Loni Harwood was the big chip leader with 1,340,000 in chips (134 bb, more than 36% of the chips in play). Darryll Fish (64 bb) was sitting with the 2nd largest stack, while Daniel Negreaneu (54 bb) was in third place.
At no point throughout the day (before heads-up play) did Harwood let her chip lead go. Harwood was responsible for the first elimination, when she knocked Paul Mattioda out in 7th place with vs. his , and soon after Negraneaus’ bracelet dreams came to an end, when he was eliminated in 6th place by Alex Masek. Vincent Moscati was the next player out of the door in 5th place with Harwood as the terminator, and the popular pro was also responsible for the elimination of Brad St. Vincent in 4th place. When Darryll Fish was sent to the rail in 3rd place, Harwood was heads-up vs. Alex Masek for the bracelet.
Harwood began heads-up play with a slight chips deficiency. She had 1,735,000 (57 bb) vs. Alex Masek’s 1,925,000 (64), but it wouldn’t take more than a couple of hands before Harwood had regained the lead – and from there the experienced pro didn’t look back.
In the final hand of the night Harwood raised all in from the button with and Masek called with . When the board came and Harwood flopped a set of treys, Masek was drawing thin. The on the turn and the on the river didn’t change the outcome, and Harwood was crowned champion.
Congratulations to Loni Harwood on her historic win. Harwood is now just one out of three female players (the others being Vanessa Selbst and Jen Harman) to have won two (or more) bracelets in open events.
Photo: Loni Harwood, World Series of Poker