WSOP Bracelets


The World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet is awarded to the winner of every event at the annual WSOP. It is widely considered to be the most valuable non-monetary prize that a poker player can win. Although the WSOP goes back to 1970, bracelets were not given out until 1976 - but even victories that occurred before 1976 are now considered to be "bracelets". In 1970, the winner received only a silver cup (besides the cash prize). From 1971 to 1974, the winners only received a trophy. In 1975, the winners received a sterling plate. In 1980 and 1981, "Oklahoma Johny" Hale and Chip Reese, respectively, received a bracelet for being the "Best All Around Player" at the WSOP. These bracelets, however, are not considered in the WSOP bracelet counts.

During the earlier years of the WSOP there were only a few bracelets awarded each year since there were not that many events. But as the number of events have increased substantially over the years, the number of bracelets given out has also increased substantially. There were only 14 bracelet events given out at the 1990 WSOP, but there were 58 given out in 2011 (in Las Vegas). Similarly, the number of bracelets has also increased as the WSOP-branded events has expanded worldwide. Some of the other worldwide WSOP tournaments where bracelets are now awarded (along with the year of the first bracelet) are:

  • 2007 - World Series of Poker Erupore (WSOPE)
  • 2011 - The WSOP Circuit Event National Champion. The single winner received a bracelet.
  • 2013 - World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific (WSOP APAC) in Melbourne, Australia. There will be five bracelets given out at the inaugural event.

Non-bracelet events

In 2005, the WSOP started hosting "Circuit Events" at many of their casino locations around the country. In order to differentiate these events, and to maintain the prestige of the WSOP Bracelet, the circuit events presented the winner with a ring instead of a bracelet. In 2011, the WSOP did award a bracelet to the winner of the Circuit Event National Champion, which was an invitation only event that used the standings of players from the various circuit events to determine who was invited.

Physical bracelets

The company who has manufactured the bracelets has changed many times over the years. The bracelet in 1976 cost approximately $500. In the early years, the bracelet had a very basic design - it was basically a solid piece of unadorned metal. During the 2000s the bracelets were designed with various stones, including: diamonds, white gold, yellow gold, rubies, sapphires, and black diamonds. In recent years though, the design has returned to the classic simple design without much bling because they wanted to create a bracelet that somebody would actually want to wear. A special platinum bracelet was awarded in 2012 to Antonio Esfandiari, the winner of the "The Big One for One Drop", a special $1 million buy-in tournament created as a fundraiser for the One Drop Foundation, a charity created by Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté.

In recent years, there have been occasional non-bracelet events at the WSOP; the most notable were the "World Series of Rock Paper Scissors" and "Ante Up for Africa."


Many professional and amateur players aspire to win a bracelet for the undeniable prestige that comes along with it. It's interesting though that the bracelets did not carry much prestige in the early years. Doyle Brunson said that his first bracelet didn't mean anything to him and that he did not even pick up two of them. I believe the lack of interest the bracelets held in the early years was due to the fact that there wasn't much history behind them. It wasn't until they had 20 years of history behind them that poker players understood the historical significance of them. Freddy Deeb said that he did not appreciate his first bracelet because he did not recognize what it meant. He said his 2007 bracelet, however, meant everything to him. Jennifer Tilly said that winning her 2005 Women's Championship bracelet was "better than an Oscar".

There is a belief by some people that winning a bracelet is a factor that separates good players from the truly great. This is similar to the popular belief that winning a championship separates a professional athlete in team sports - and that a player who has never won a championship should not be considered one of the greatest players. Although this is probably a general truism, it shouldn't be interpreted too literally.

Bracelet - Facts & Statistics

  • Johnny Moss became the first player to win multiple bracelets in 1971.
  • Moss also was the first player to win 5 bracelets in 1975.
  • Johnny Chan became the first player to win 10 bracelets in 2005 with a win in Event # 25, just days before Doyle Brunson won his 10th bracelet in Event #31 at the same WSOP.
  • Phil Hellmuth became the first player to win 11 WSOP bracelets.
  • In 1971, Johnny Moss became the first player to win 2 bracelets in the same WSOP.
  • In 1973, Walter "Puggy" Pearson became the first player to win 3 bracelets at the same WSOP.
  • In 2007, Thomas Bihl became the first person to ever win a WSOP bracelet outside Las Vegas, Nevada when he won the £2,500 World Championship H.O.R.S.E. at the World Series of Poker Europe in London, England.
  • In 2007, Annette Obrestad became the youngest player to ever win a WSOP bracelet at 18 years, 364 days (also becoming the first woman to win a World Series Main Event (WSOPE)).
  • In 2008, Jesper Hougaard became the first person to have won both a WSOP and WSOPE bracelet.
  • As of the start of the 2012 WSOP, only 5 players have won 3 bracelets at a single WSOP - Puggy Pearson (1973), Ted Forrest (1993), Phil Hellmuth (1993), Phil Ivey (2002), Jeff Lisandro (2009).

List by bracelets by decade

Decade Player Bracelets Years
1970s Johnny Moss 7 (1970, 1971 (2), 1974, 1975, 1976, 1979)
1980s Stu Ungar 4 (1980, 1981 (2), 1983)
1990s Phil Hellmuth 5 (1992, 1993 (3), 1997)
2000s Phil Ivey 7 (2000, 2002 (3), 2005, 2009 (2))

Bracelet Stories

  • Of the three top WSOP bracelet winners (Chan, Hellmuth, Brunson), only Johnny Chan still has them all. He keeps them locked in a vault because they are worth millions, according to him. Brunson did not pick up two of his. Phil Hellmuth gave away ten of his.
  • During a poker game at the Mirage in which three-time WSOP Bracelet winner Hamid Dastmalchi and five-time winner Ted Forrest had been playing for four days non-stop, Hamid started complaining about the bracelet he received for winning the 1992 Main Event because of a dispute with Binion's. Hamid said to the table that the Binion's said "it's worth $5,000, but I'd take $1,500 for it." Ted Forrest responded "Sold" and immediately tossed Hamid $1,500 in chips. Dastmalchi later mailed Forrest his bracelet. Ted Forrest also reported that three of his five bracelets have been stolen over the years, and that he gave one to his daughter.
  • Scotty Nguyen's victory in the 1998 WSOP Main Event was followed immediately by tragedy. The very next day, one of his brothers was hit and killed by a car back home in Vietnam. For this reason, Scotty does not wear his bracelet from that win.

EBay sales

  • In 2010 a pawn shop in Plano, Texas sold a WSOP bracelet on eBay that was won in 2005 by T.J. Cloutier in the $5,000 no-limit hold’em championship. He beat out 466 players to earn $657,100. The 14 karat gold, diamond-encrusted bracelet was acquired by the pawn shop from Cloutier himself. He was reportedly short on money and pawned it and was too late in trying to get it back. The bracelet was purchased by Cake Poker for $4,006. Cake Poker stated publicly that they were going to return it to T.J. Cloutier. You can see a screenshot of the auction here (small pic) or here (big pic).
  • In 2010, Brad Daugherty's 1991 WSOP Main Event bracelet was put up for sale on eBay. The final bid was $30,100 but the reserve price was not met, so the item wasn't sold.
  • In November 2010, Peter Eastgate put his main event bracelet up for auction on eBay with a starting bid of $16,000. It eventually sold for $147,500. The money was donated to UNICEF.
  • In 2010, somebody in the UK sold Paul “Eskimo” Clark’s 1999 Razz bracelet for $4,050 on EBay.
  • In 2010, Hassan Kamoei's 1999 WSOP Pot-Limit Omaha bracelet was listed on eBay with a starting price of $3,800. It didn't receive any bids though.

Future of Bracelets

Given that the WSOP brand is expanding globally and the resultant increase in the number of bracelet events will be increasing along with it, it will be interesting to see if the bracelets will retain their prestige as a symbol of poker excellence. Another interesting question is whether or not online tournaments will ever become bracelet tournaments.


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Poker Events - WSOP - Bracelets

HPG ADMIN on March 5, 2013