Ask a group of aspiring poker players or even some of the more established pros about their poker related goals and most of them will say they would love to win a World Series of Poker bracelet at some point in their career. The WSOP bracelet is seen as the most coveted non-monetary prize that poker has to offer and this year there are no fewer than 65 tournaments being run that will award bracelets.
Although the WSOP has been running since 1970, the first bracelet awarded was not until 1976. Until then players received a variety of trophies, including a silver cup and a sterling plate but Benny Binion, the founder of the World Series of Poker, wanted players to have something they could keep and cherish and the tradition of the WSOP bracelet was born.
Winning a WSOP bracelet is seen as a massive achievement but the bracelets themselves were not held in high regard immediately by many of the players who won them. Doyle Brunson, who has won 10 such bracelets, admitted that he did not even bother to pick up two of his but over time the bracelets gained more and more prestige. Johnny Chan, another player who has won 10 WSOP bracelets, revealed in an interview that he keeps all of his poker jewellery locked away in a safe as they mean so much to him and Phil Hellmuth, who has won a record 11 bracelets, said “the bracelets have always been a really huge deal, to me more than the other guys, because I knew that they represented history.”
In the opening paragraph I said how the WSOP bracelet is the most coveted non-monetary prize in poker but that is not essentially true as it does have a significant monetary value. The 1976 edition of the bracelet was only worth around $500 but over time they have become more and more extravagant and made by master craftsmen. The bracelets awarded to Peter Eastgate, the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion, was made from 168 grams of 18kt white gold and was encrusted with 291 individual diamonds with a collective weight of 2.81 carets! Eastgate had the bracelet valued at $16,000 before he auctioned it off for charity, an auction that raised $100,000 for UNICEF.
The 42nd annual World Series of Poker begins on May 31 and sees 58 bracelet events take place. For your chance to get your hands, or should that be wrists, on one of the most sought-after pieces of jewellery in poker then you should really try Paypal Poker out for size. If you do not manage to qualify for the WSOP there is always the WSOPE a few months later where a further seven bracelets will be available to the lucky winners.