A World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet is one of the most coveted prizes in the game. But have you ever thought about who came up with the idea, which…
A World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet is one of the most coveted prizes in the game. But have you ever thought about who came up with the idea, which company makes them or what they’re worth?
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you ever wanted to know about the World Series of Poker bracelets, as well as WSOP rings.
Why Does the WSOP Give Out Bracelets?
Benny Binion, legendary owner of the Horseshoe casino in Las Vegas, pioneered the idea of the World Series of Poker. But for the first six years of the event, from 1970 to 1975, there were no gold bracelets to be seen. Instead, a sterling plate was issued to all winners, in addition to their tournament prize money.
That all changed in 1976, when Binion thought about giving a bracelet to the winner of each event. The idea was for the best players to wear something while playing so that others at the table could recognise their status. Receiving jewellery for winning a poker tournament was an unusual concept and Binion hoped it would set the series apart.
In those days, the WSOP was a much smaller affair with very few events. So the number of bracelets awarded was far lower than today. You might think that would make them feel more prestigious. But with no history behind the idea of a WSOP bracelet, many event winners didn’t buy into it. Doyle Brunson didn’t even bother to pick up either of his first two bracelets!
Perhaps the early lack of interest explains the introduction of watches in 1982. In addition, some players suggested that a WSOP bracelet was too effeminate. But the watches proved even less popular and bracelets returned in 1983. There’s just no pleasing some people!
Who Makes the WSOP Bracelets?
There have been several different WSOP bracelet manufacturers over the years. Although it’s unclear who was responsible for making the original jewellery in the 1970s, Mordechai Yerushalmi took over in the 1980s. The original design of a flat, solid gold bracelet remained unchanged until early 2000.
When Harrah’s Entertainment purchased the WSOP rights in 2004, they also took on the responsibility of making the bracelets. However, a year later, this was outsourced to Gold & Diamond International, who would also be charged with making WSOP rings. That arrangement didn’t last long, with Frederick Goldman Inc. coming in for the 2006 WSOP.
It was all change once again in 2007, with Corum taking over. They had worked with the WSOP before, having previously manufactured the short-lived watches. In 2010, OnTilt Designs came in, taking the design back to a more classic look. And in 2012, Jason of Beverly Hills assumed the responsibility. Since 2019, the WSOP bracelet manufacturer has been Jostens.
Jostens and the WSOP Bracelet
Image Source: Pokernews
Their first task was to create something special for the 50th-anniversary bracelets. That year, each item was made of 10-carat gold. Not to mention the 2,175 diamonds and 77 rubies, making for over 40 carats worth of gems.
At the 2022 WSOP, the solid gold bracelets were studded with 1,985 diamonds and a further 671 black diamonds. Each piece of jewellery boasted a total carat weight of 55.48. Further, a solid gold chip is contained within each bracelet, which can be used as a card cap.
How Much Does a WSOP Bracelet Cost?
It’s difficult to put an exact price on a WSOP bracelet. Ultimately, they are only worth what someone is prepared to pay for them. But with so many different designs over the years, some are clearly more valuable than others.
The first-ever WSOP bracelet is said to have cost around $500 to make. Though with inflation over the decades, that’s obviously worth a lot more than it would be today. Some have estimated that more modern designs may be worth around $1,500 to $2,000. But naturally, this doesn’t factor in sentimental value, history, or other unique elements to a bracelet’s backstory.
In recent years, the World Series of Poker Main Event bracelets have intentionally been crafted with a different design from the rest. But all of the jewellery has become increasingly extravagant over the years.
Can You Buy a WSOP Bracelet?
It’s not possible to purchase a WSOP bracelet directly from the manufacturer, as that would cheapen the entire concept. The whole idea is that you have to work for it and take down a tournament. However, many bracelet winners have sold their jewellery over the years.
In 2019, a standard WSOP bracelet appeared in an auction on eBay. Originally awarded for a $2,500 Limit Omaha event, it reached a final sale price of $50,000. But perhaps the best-known case of a poker player selling their jewellery was that of Peter Eastgate.
He won his WSOP Main Event bracelet in 2008, becoming the youngest-ever player to do so. But two years later he opted to sell it, to raise money for charity. Eastgate received a staggering $147,500, all of which was donated to UNICEF.
How Many WSOP Bracelets Are There?
According to the Hendon Mob database, there were a total of 1,987 WSOP bracelet winners by the end of 2022. Although the 1970s saw very few bracelet-awarding events, the game’s increasing popularity has led to much growth.
After the online poker boom of the early 2000s, the WSOP rapidly expanded. While just 16 events were held at the 1999 WSOP, that figure had more than doubled by 2003, reaching 36. Just four years later, the WSOP exploded, with 55 events in Las Vegas and a further three held in Europe.
In 2022, more than 100 WSOP bracelet events took place for the first time in history. The live series in Las Vegas had 89 tournaments, with many more available online and at the WSOP Europe.
What’s the Deal With WSOP Rings?
Image Source: WSOP Circuit Ring
Although the WSOP bracelet is held in the highest esteem by the poker community, there are other pieces of jewellery too. The WSOP Circuit was founded in 2005 and intended as a collection of events building up to the summer’s World Series in Las Vegas. Each tournament winner on the Circuit receives a gold ring.
Although the WSOP bracelet is held in the highest esteem by the poker community, there are other pieces of jewellery too. The WSOP circuit was founded in 2005, intended as a collection of events building up to the summer’s World Series in Las Vegas. Each tournament winner on the Circuit receives a gold ring.
The first WSOP Circuit season comprised just five events in the USA, won by the likes of Phil Ivey, Erick Lindgren, and Jennifer Harman. But by 2022, it had expanded to 25 stops in the USA, with a further 9 held internationally.
Who Makes WSOP Rings?
Rings awarded to WSOP Circuit event winners are manufactured by the same people who create the bracelets. Since 2019, that responsibility has belonged to Jostens.
The design of WSOP rings is nowhere near as flamboyant as the bracelets, as you might expect given the difference in prestige. And consequently, if you are wondering how much a WSOP ring is worth, they are far less valuable. In 2009, a Circuit ring was sold on eBay for just $1,075.
WSOP Bracelet and Ring Winners
Let’s wrap up our guide to WSOP bracelets and rings with a look at the most successful players. The stats below are all accurate at the end of 2022.
Top 8 WSOP Bracelet Winners
- Phil Hellmuth (16)
- Phil Ivey (10)
- Johnny Chan (10)
- Doyle Brunson (10)
- Johnny Moss (9)
- Erik Seidel (8)
- Men Nguyen (7)
- Billy Baxter (7)
Top 8 WSOP Ring Winners
- Maurice Hawkins (14)
- Joshua Reichard (13)
- Valentin Vornicu (12)
- Ari Engel (11)
- Daniel Lowery (10)
- Jeffrey Trudeau Jr (10)
- Robert Hankins (10)
- Martin Ryan (10)
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