Carlos Loving is the Palm Beach Kennel Club Casino Champion, winning the series points race to lock up a seat in the 2017 WSOP Global Casino Championship.
Loving is a 39-year-old pro from Tampa, on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Since 2013, he has just over $500,000 in career tournament earnings split between his home state and Las Vegas. Thanks to the past two series at the kennel club, he’s also the owner of two WSOP Circuit rings.
The results came early in this series for Loving. He was one of 127 players who advanced to Day 2 in Event #2, the $365 multi-flight re-entry event that drew a huge field of 1,117 entries for opening weekend. Loving ended up being eliminated in 22nd place on Sunday evening, just in time to jump into Event #3.
Late registration was just about to close for the $580 event, and Loving quickly entered as one of the last of the 191 total entries. After a long day of poker, he once again advanced to Day 2 — this time as one of just 12 players remaining. He went on to outlast another 10 of them on Monday before finding himself heads-up against Martin Ryan for the ring.
Ryan is riding a miraculous heater right now, though, and Loving could not overcome the big chip deficit he faced entering the match. It ended around 7 p.m. with Ryan as the winner for the fourth time this season, and the two men had just enough time to enter the afternoon Event #5, a $365 one-day turbo. There's no time to rest when you're chasing points.
A couple hours later, Ryan was eliminated three spots shy of the money in 24th place, but Loving was still around when the bubble burst. He was still around when the final 10 players redrew for the last time, too, though he entered the final table with the second-shortest stack.
A couple hours later, Loving was suddenly heads-up for the second time in a span of eight hours, and he once again faced an uphill climb. There was no Martin Ryan standing in his way this time, though, and Loving defeated Austin Reilly to win the ring at the end of a remarkable day. It was his second-career ring, with the pair having been won in consecutive Circuit series in the same building. All told, his haul for the day included more than $30,000 in cash and another 87.5 points to bring his total to 97.5 and counting.
That score put him atop the leaderboard for a few days, but Max Young was having a memorable series of his own. The pro from Oregon cashed a total of four times, made three final tables, and won his first ring in Event #6. His last deep run came in Event #10, where a third-place finish gave him the points lead with 115 for the series.
Neither Young nor Loving cashed in the Main Event — Event #11 on the schedule — and Young bricked the last chance Event #12, too. Loving did not. He was the chip leader when the bubble burst with 18 players remaining, guaranteed to narrow Young’s lead by at least 2.5 points. He continued to pick his way through the remaining field, and he was soon sitting at the third final table of his own series, eyeing up even more than a ring this time.
Both Loving and Young had been keeping tabs on the points situation over the course of that decisive Sunday, and Loving was aware that he needed to finish eighth or better to move ahead of Young. Around 2 a.m., bracelet winner Arkadiy Tsinis was eliminated in ninth place, and Greg Kolo fell immediately thereafter, ending Loving’s sweat in the wee hours of the morning. He had the points lead and nobody could catch him, locking up the title of Casino Champion a day before the series ended.
Loving went on to finish in sixth place in Event #12, adding another 22.5 points to bring his total to 120 for the series and a remarkable 202.5 for the season. He also collected a total of $35,578 over the four in-the-money finishes.
Here are Loving's results for the series:
Event #2: $365 NLHE Re-entry 22nd place $2,302 10 points
Event #4: $580 NLHE 2nd place $15,338 37.5 points
Event #5: $365 NLHE Turbo 1st place $15,442 50 points
Event #10: $365 NLHE Re-entry 6th place $2,496 22.5 points
Here are the final Casino Champion standings from the Palm Beach Kennel Club:
1st: Carlos Loving 120 points
2nd: Max Young 115 points
3rd: Martin Ryan 90 points
4th: Stepas Tindziulis 80 points
5th: Peter Vitantonio 75 points
Click here for the full list.