Ivan Luca Takes First WSOP Gold to Argentina

5 years ago
Franco Ivan Luca
18 Jun

Franco Ivan Luca, poker pro from Buenos Aires, became the first player from Argentina to win a coveted gold bracelet in a 47-year long history of WSOP.

Poker has gained a lot of traction in Argentina during the past decade but this was the first time that someone from that country won a WSOP title. The only player who came close to winning the title was Nacho Barbero who made three final table appearances and cashed 13 times in his career.

However, Luca's decision to enter one of the $1,000 NLHE WSOP events would finally change this predicament.

23 year-old Franco Ivan Luca has started playing online poker in Argentina and gradually built his bankroll. When he was 21, Franco moved to Italy and since then he has been playing on the EPT circuit and in

This particular $1k event attracted 2,150 entrants generating $1,935,900 prize pool to be divided among 216 top finishers. Big number of entries somewhat disturbed the original schedule, as they couldn't find the winner after three days of play, so the tournament ran into unscheduled Day 4. On the final day, Luca’s heads-up duel with Artur Rudzianikov lasted more than two hours. Rudzianikov is a professional poker player from Belarus who currently resides in Prague.

The heads-up match saw chip lead exchange hands at least four times, but Franco Ivan Luca was the one who scooped the very last and biggest pot of the tournament, to seize his first gold bracelet, becoming $353,391 richer. This was the biggest win in his poker career, even though he cashed many times in the European Poker Tour events. Artur Rudziankov, who also plays mostly in Europe, took home $219,976.

This particular final table boasted no bracelet winners. Apart from Rudzianikov and Luka, other seven seats were occupied by Travis Case, Pierre Horaud, Bruce Angeski, David Chase, Viliyan Petleshkov, Kai Yang and Omri Sabach.

Quite a few well known names made it to top 20 in this tournament, but none of them could make it all the way to the final table. Chris Moorman, British pro finished on the dead final table bubble, Bertrand ‘Elky’ Grospellier was eliminated in 11th place, while Jason Koon and Antonio Esfandiari were sent to the rail in 17th and 18th place respectively.

With this score, Luca's total live earnings are now in excess of added $353,391 $1,500,000. Even though this was his first WSOP ever, Luca's performance was impressive and his result is that much more important because he brought the first bracelet to his native Argentina after a wait that lasted nearly half a century.

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Ines is a Journalism student with many interests, poker being one of these. Her passion to learn and develop her horizons make her a valuable contributor to the site's content.Read more


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