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Ivan Luca Becomes Argentina's First WSOP Bracelet Winner
Ivan Luca has become Argentina’s first World Series of Poker champion.
Over the course of four days, Luca overcame a field of 2,195 players in the $1,000 NLHE to win $363,391 and his first WSOP bracelet.
While this is only Luca’s second tournament in the United States, the 23-year-old Argentinian player has been playing for a while.
“I’ve played poker my whole life,” said Luca.
“I started at 13 and have been playing professionally ever since I left school."
Luca started playing online and then hit casinos across Argentina after he turned 18. Luca quickly found success and kept building his roll and buying into bigger events.
Moving Up and Out
Online, Luca started playing all the tournaments he could find and started playing heads-up matches ranging from $200 to $2,000.
“I also won a lot of live tournaments in Argentina,” said Luca. “Recently, this year, I decided to start playing in Europe.
"I had a bigger bankroll and was getting better so I wanted to play bigger and better events.
“Luckily, I did really well and that’s why I decided I was ready to come play in Las Vegas.”
Luca has amassed $1.2 million in live tournament earnings since 2013, with his biggest cash coming from a 2nd place finish in the €10,000 EPT11 High Roller in Malta.
Luca finished second to David Peters in that event and won $434,607 for the finish.
While that’s still Luca’s largest cash, it didn’t have the prestige and weight that winning a major event does.
“Something with worldwide recognition like a WSOP bracelet was something that I was missing,” said Luca. “It really is a dream.”
Luca said he came motivated and ready to win a bracelet but didn’t expect to win one so soon.
Luca's first event was the Monster Stack but he busted out quickly. Then he registered for Event #30 and took it down.
Bringing Bracelets to South America
So far, Luca has a 100 percent cash-to-bracelet ratio, but that number will probably change throughout the summer as Luca plans on playing a lot more events.
After winning the bracelet, Luca went to go register for the $10,000 NLHE 6-max.
Aside from being Argentina’s first bracelet, Luca’s victory is just the third in South American history.
The other two bracelets come from Argentina’s neighbor and rival in every sport, Brazil.
Alexandre Gomes was the first Brazilian player to win a bracelet after he won a $2,000 NLHE event in 2008 and then Andre Akkari joined him 2011 after he won a $1,500 NLHE event.
Now Luca has put Argentina on the scoreboard and hopes to bring more bracelets to his fans in Argentina.
“I have a particularly big following in Argentina,” said Luca.
“There are people who haven't slept or have missed work because they've been watching the live stream. They're going crazy, it’s kind of like the World Cup.
"I'm very proud and very happy to bring a bracelet to Argentina, I know that's very important for Argentinians.”