As a poker player, a World Series of Poker bracelet is the most coveted non-monetary prize you can win. At the end of 2014, 1083 bracelets had been awarded so far with almost half of them awarded to multi-time winners. But with only a handful of top players familiar with how it feels to be a WSOP bracelet winner, what exactly does it feel like? Continue reading to find out.
A history of the award
The bracelet was first introduced at the annual 1976 World Series of Poker tournament and has been awarded to each year’s crowned champion ever since. While they were previously reserved for only a handful of standout players, up to 100 bracelets are now awarded each year. Today, poker players tend to rank based on whether or not they have won a bracelet during their professional career so far. A number of rival poker tournaments, such as the World Poker Tour, have also capitalised on the popularity of the WSOP bracelet by developing their own version of the award.
The first winners
In 1976, Doyle Brunson was the first professional poker player to win a WSOP bracelet. To date, he has been awarded with ten in total to tie second place with Johnny Chan and Phil Ivey behind Phil Hellmuth’s record-breaking 15. He won his second bracelet just a year later, joining an elite group of only four players to ever win the coveted WSOP Main Event more than once.
With some of poker’s highest rollers leaving tournaments with bracelets in tow, it became the ultimate status symbol of professional poker and one that players would do almost anything to get their hands on. Daniel Negreanu, a GGPoker ambassador and one of the world’s greatest poker players, held the record as the youngest bracelet winner between 1998 and 2005 and with no plans to retire, his seventh may well be in sight.
How much is it worth?
The WSOP bracelet has been manufactured by a number of different companies since its launch in 1976 when it cost approximately $500. Past versions have included white diamonds, black diamonds, rubies, sapphires, white gold, and yellow gold. Modern versions are now said to be worth up to $500,000. Despite this, some poker players have famously failed to pick up their bracelet, sold it online, or auctioned it to raise money for charity.
Lebanese professional poker player Freddy Deeb admitted to not appreciating his first bracelet win as he underestimated what it meant. After winning his second bracelet in 2007, he confessed that it meant everything to him. Players that have yet to receive a WSOP bracelet tend to compare it to an Oscar.
A symbol of achievement
With the WSOP bracelet the single greatest non-monetary prize that can be awarded to professional poker players today, it continues to be regarded as a symbol of triumph and achievement in the poker community. While it is estimated to be worth a six-figure sum, most players are interested in the recognition associated with winning a bracelet. As a WSOP Main event winner, you are regarded as one of the greatest poker players in the world. For some, the title alone is worth much more than the jewelry.
A World Series of Poker bracelet is one of the greatest achievements a professional poker player can be awarded with. But with only a select few familiar with how it feels to receive one, it can be impossible to know how much it truly means. With most professional poker players currently striving to win their first or hell-bent on growing their existing collection, it has retained its title as the epitome of poker for over 45 years.