Loni Harwood highlights trio of women ring winners.
28 February 2018 (Las Vegas) – The 2018 edition of the World Series of Poker Circuit at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas wrapped up Tuesday night in historical fashion. This tournament series featured the first-ever online Circuit event – the final event of the series was the $365 Online no-limit hold’em event, held on WSOP.com NV. The event drew a total of 420 entries to generate a $137,760 prizepool. Anthony Spinella emerged as the winner, earning $35,817 and the first-ever World Series of Poker online Circuit ring.
Spinella also holds the title of winning the first-ever World Series of Poker online gold bracelet, which took place in 2015. Spinella won the $1,000 WSOP.com ONLINE No-Limit Hold’em event at the 2015 World Series of Poker for $197,743 and his first WSOP gold bracelet.
The $1,675 Main Event – held February 24-27 – attracted 887 entries, generating a prizepool of $1,330,500. Kevin Iacofano took down the tournament to win his first career WSOP Circuit ring and the first place prize of $259,463. In addition, Iacofano won a free entry to the 2018 $1 Million Guaranteed Global Casino Championship. Iacofano defeated Nikhil Gera in a back-and-forth heads up battle, denying Gera of what would have been his second career Circuit Main Event victory. Gera’s runner-up cash amounted to $160,325.
The last couple days of the Circuit series also featured the $2,200 High Roller tournament. There were 130 entries, and two-time bracelet winner Loni Harwood was victorious, earning her fifth career WSOP Circuit ring and $72,802. With the victory, Harwood extends her record for the most career Circuit rings won by a female.
Harwood’s victory was the highpoint of a successful Circuit series for female players – there were three who won rings in open events: Harwood, Louise Francouer (Event #8), and Lena Evans (Event #5). It was the second Circuit victories of the season for both Harwood and Evans. No woman has ever won more than two Circuit rings in one season and with more than a quarter of this season remaining, Harwood and Evans both have a shot at making WSOP Circuit history.
The series began with a six-flight $365 no-limit hold’em tournament that drew 1,074 players and was the largest tournament of the series in terms of entries. Amateur poker player, Randy Khami, was on a family vacation in Las Vegas and decided to fire a bullet into the tournament. He ended up going the distance and won the event for his first WSOP Circuit ring and first WSOP cash. Khami returned home to Detroit, Michigan with an extra $57,462 in his pocket after the victory.
Other players to win their first career Circuit rings at this year’s Rio series included Howard Chen, who won Event #2: $365 No-Limit Hold’em after qualifying into the event through a Rio-hosted freeroll tournament the week prior. Bracelet winner Tyler Groth won his first career Circuit ring in the series’ pot-limit omaha event just eight months after winning his first WSOP gold bracelet at the 2017 World Series of Poker, which was also in PLO. Francouer’s win was the first of her WSOP career, as well Robert Gray, who won the H.O.R.S.E. event. Mark Perry took down the monster stack for $39K and his first career Circuit ring. Iacofano was part of the first-time winners as well as the Casino Champion of the series, Jeremy Joseph. Joseph won Event #12: $365 No-Limit Hold’em (30-Minute Levels) on the second to last day of the series for his first career Circuit ring after two near misses earlier in the series.
Joseph’s three final table finishes earned him 97.5 points, which was 25 more than his closest opponent. For winning the Casino Championship, Joseph earned an entry to the 2018 $1 Million Guaranteed Global Casino Championship. All players who cashed in any open ring event earned points that apply toward the season-long race to claim one of the limited at-large bids. More info on the points system is available on WSOP.com.
Rio Las Vegas Circuit Results