Ask any poker player worth their salt what the one poker-related prize they would love to win and the answer will be almost unanimous – a World Series of Poker bracelet.
The World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet is the most coveted prize a poker player can win. Since 1976, WSOP bracelets have been awarded to the winner of every event at the annual WSOP, but prior things were much different.
At the 1970-74 WSOP, the champion was awarded what Becky Behnen (WSOP founder Benny Binion’s daughter) described as a “corny trophy,” with the 1975 winner receiving a sterling silver plate. The first bracelet came to light in 1976 and the tradition of bracelets has continued ever since, although the quality and monetary value of them has drastically increased in recent years.
The bracelet that Greg Merson picked up for winning the 2012 WSOP Main Event (pictured) was described by its designer Jason Arashebenm as being “the most expensive piece of championship jewellery across all major sports.” That particular bracelet features over 160 grams of 14-karat gold and over 35 karats of flawless diamonds! Although no actual price has ever been confirmed, the face value of such a bracelet is estimated to be in excess of $100,000!
Since the creation of the WSOP there has been 1,008 bracelets awarded, with 462 of those being won by the 140 players who have won multiple WSOP events. Two of those multiple winners are our very own Praz Bansi and JP Kelly.
Bansi won his first WSOP bracelet in 2006 when he bested a 1,100 strong field in a $1,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em event. That result netted Bansi $230,209 in prize money and put his name on the poker map. Four years later, Bansi won his second bracelet, again in a No Limit Hold’em event. This time Bansi outlasted 2,092 players on his way to scooping his second WSOP bracelet and the massive $515,501 first place prize.
The first of JP Kelly’s two bracelets was won in 2009 in a $1,500 Pot Limit Hold’em event. Kelly was the last man standing from the field of 633. During the same year, Kelly won the £1,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em event at the World Series of Poker Europe in London and almost bagged a third in the very same event in 2010 but lost heads-up to Scott Shelley.
At the 2012 WSOP, British and Irish players only managed to snare one bracelet; something that I believe will change this time around. The UK & Ireland has so many great players at the moment that the lack of wins in 2012 simply has to be rectified. While this may be putting my head on the chopping block, I would say UK & Irish players will win at least five bracelets in 2013.
WSOP Bracelet Trivia
- Johnny Moss was the first person to win five WSOP bracelets.
- Johnny Chan was the first person to win 10 WSOP bracelets.
- Walter “Puggy” Pearson was the first player to win three bracelets at a single WSOP –only four other players have repeated this since,
- Thomas Bihl became the first person to win a WSOP bracelet outside of Las Vegas when he won the £2,500 HORSE event at the inaugural WSOPE in London.
- Annette Obrestad became the youngest-ever winner of a WSOP bracelet at 18 years 364 days when she won the 2007 WSOPE Main Event.
- Jesper Hougaard became the first player to win both a WSOP and WSOPE bracelet. Only JP Kelly and Antonio Esfandiari have achieved this since.
- Jim Collopy won the first WSOP bracelet to be awarded in Australia.
PokerNews will be on the ground at the 2013 WSOP to bring you the very best in live reporting from this amazing festival. We will have coverage of all 62 events, make sure you bookmark our WSOP Live Reporting pages so you do not miss out on any of the action.