For some reason Loni Harwood sneaks up on people in big spots. She’s mostly silent at the tables, sprinkles in a few courteous smiles between pots but Harwood’s results are hardly quiet statements; as she said, she likes to “dream BIG.”
Harwood announced her presence to the poker world four years ago, a year where WSOP Circuit grinders silenced the condescending laughs from more “legitimate pros” about the Circuit. She shipped a bracelet worth $609,017 in a No Limit event with over 2,500 entries, made two other final table and won the largest Vegas WSOP cash for a female player. Her second bracelet came in the 2015 WSOP National Championship – topping a final table that included Daniel Negreanu and recent WPT $3,500 SHRPS runner-up Darryll Fish.
Harwood was hardly a noob approaching the $25,000 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown High Roller with $2.4 million on her resume. But the player pool in this event was deep in wallet and talent and with 116 entrants. “I have played a couple of $15ks and I played this $25K event last year so it wasn’t the my first,” she said.
“But obviously, I was trying to win,” Harwood added. She has a responsibility now as one of the newer Seminole Hard Rock Team Pros. “I couldn’t be happier to part of the SHR team and represent them this summer – they do everything right. The tournaments combined with the hotel is unreal. They have some of the best staff and dealers; great restaurants too.”
Harwood’s comfort at her new home casino was lost on most observers with her dead serious approach to the event. “I played super-focused – listened to music and did my thing.”
Her thing turned out to be a $348,000 score for third place besting renowned players Bryn Kenney, Ari Engel, Sam Soverel and Olivier Busquet. Ultimately, Jason Mercier and Justin Bonomo faced off for the title and Harwood wasn’t lost on the opportunity to learn new things.
“I definitely had a lot of fun in the tournament and got to watch some of the best players in the world. I also got to experience what a $50K bubble felt like,” Harwood said. “It was cool to play against Erik Seidel. He’s such a legend in poker. He even commented when I was chip leader at one point.”
Harwood’s growing list of accomplishments gives her a solid foundation for what she has in store. “I plan on doing whatever I feel like as a far as poker and life,” said Harwood. “I’m going to try to satty into the $111,111 High Roller for One Drop this year - that would be pretty cool.”
“I have a full summer ahead,” she said. “My goal is to win something big this year. I like to dream BIG.”