Poker pro Loni Harwood, daughter of respected pro Joel Harwood, proved that the talent remains in the family this week when she scored her latest victory – her second bracelet and a first prize of $341,599 in the 2015 World Series of Poker National Championship.
It was a well-earned win against a stellar field of 122 players, many of them respected professionals with impressive track records in WSOP events intent on taking the lion’s share of the $1.22 million prize pool.
Harwood dominated much of the play in the second and third days, building a massive chip lead with disciplined and astute moves. Her position was only threatened once when her heads up opponent, the hugely experienced and talented Alex Masek, briefly took the lead after a massive fight-back, only to lose it again within just five hands as Harwood continued her triumphant march to the top prize.
Masek, a North Carolina-based 8-WSOP Circuit ring holder, put up a good fight, but had to be content with a second placing cash of $211,599.
The WSOP World Championship competition features one hundred players who get free seats as previous winners in Circuit main events, casino championship competition wins or top positions on the leaderboard. The other one hundred players are by invitation only and pay a $10,000 buy-in.
Staten Island resident Harwood graduated from the State University of New York with a finance degree in 2012 and moved to Florida, where she began playing professionally on the World Series of Poker Circuit.
She won a World Series of Poker bracelet at the 2013 World Series of Poker, adding it to two World Series of Poker Circuit rings in 2012.
Her victory at the 2013 World Series of Poker was historical, making her only the second woman to make three final tables in a single World Series, and the first to win a bracelet in the same year she did so.
The rewards included $609,017 – the highest payout to a woman in any Las Vegas event in World Series of Poker history and second in overall World Series of Poker Europe history to Annette Obrestad’s GBP 1,000,000 in the 2007 World Series of Poker Europe main event.
Harwood’s $874,698 total haul at the 2013 World Series of Poker is also the highest female total in a single World Series.
Other final table top ten cashes in the Championship were:
Darryll Fish – $152,402
Brad St. Vincent – $111,984
Vincent Moscati – $83,716
Daniel Negreanu – $63,647
Paul Mattioda – $49,203
Seth Berger – $38,650
Jonathan Abla – $30,854
Robert Hankins – $25,010