Top 10 All-time bracelet winners at the World Series of Poker (WSOP)

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  • Published July 9th, 2009 in WSOP

Tournament success can best be summed up in six words: “How many bracelets do you have?” Amazingly, only one of these players can also be found in the top 10 on the All-Time Money list -Phil Hellmuth currently holds the #9 spot on the money list.

  1. Phil Hellmuth – 11

Hellmuth’s WSOP accomplishments are quite impressive, and his 11 bracelets head-lines his resume. In 1989 Phil became the youngest Main Event Champion (this feat has been eclipsed by Peter Eastgate) at the age of 24.

All of Phil’s bracelets have come in NLHE events, but don’t think of him as one-trick pony; Hellmuth has had many brushes in other poker variants, with multiple final tables in PLO, H.O.R.S.E., Omaha 8, Stud hi/lo, Limit Hold’ Em, and 2-7 Lowball: Including five runner-up finishes.

T2. Doyle Brunson – 10

I always wonder how many bracelets Doyle would have if the WSOP always had 50+ events each year, as it does now. 20? 30? 50???

It’s hard to say whether Doyle is a better tournament or cash game player, since he is considered the best in the world by many in either discipline. The iconic Brunson’s first bracelet came in 1976, and his most recent was some 30 years later in 2005.

Doyle is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to poker, and his bracelets speak to this: NLHE, 7-Card-Stud, 7-Card-Stud hi/lo, 2-7 Lowball, Mixed Doubles, Razz, and H.O.R.S.E. along with four runner-up finishes.

T2. Johnny Chan – 10

Chan had perhaps the greatest run in poker history in the late 1980’s: Chan won the 1987 and 1988 WSOP Main Event, and finished 2nd in 1989! It was this domination that caused many people to reexamine how skillful a game poker was.

His Main Event success aside, Chan has won bracelets in Limit Hold’ Em, 2-7 Lowball, 7-Card-Stud, PLO, and Pot Limit Hold’ Em. Chan has also been a runner-up five times in bracelet events.

Chan’s legacy in the poker world was cemented when he was portrayed as the epitome of poker excellence in the cult classic ‘Rounders’.

4. Johnny Moss – 9

Moss will forever be known as the first WSOP Champion, but his success didn’t end there. Similar to Doyle, it would be interesting to see how many bracelets Moss could have accumulated had the WSOP not consisted of a mere 5 events.

Moss’s place as the best poker player on the planet was firm in the 70’s, and the “Grand Ole Man of Poker” proved he still had it a decade later, when in 1988 he won his 9th and final bracelet.

5. Erik Seidel – 8

For a player with 8 WSOP bracelets it’s amusing that Seidel is best known for a loss. The contrast between the smug look of success, and pure dejection, can best be seen by looking at the final hand of 1988 WSOP Main Event. Johnny Chan Vs. Erik Seidel.

Seidel obviously put that hand behind him as he went on to capture 8 bracelets. Although Seidel has the most bracelets without a Main Event win.

T6. Billy Baxter – 7

Baxter has been a fixture at the WSOP since the 70’s and has quietly accumulated seven bracelets. Baxter has won a bracelet in every decade: 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 00’s; a feat even Doyle Brunson cannot lay claim to.

T6. Phil Ivey – 7

Unlike the man he is tied with in 6th place-Billy Baxter-Phil Ivey’s name is known to just about anyone who has walked by a deck of cards in a store. Ivey, widely considered the best player in the world, is creeping higher and higher up the WSOP all-time lists, and will likely end his career near the top of all of them.

T8. TJ Cloutier – 6

Since the 80’s Cloutier’s name has been synonymous with tournament poker. The 6-time bracelet winner was a final table machine until his recent health issues have forced him to cut back on the amount of time he spends at the tables.

T8. Layne Flack – 6

Flack won his first bracelet in 1999, and was able to win two bracelets in 2002 and 2003. Flack picked up his 6th bracelet in 2008. The affable Flack is known as much for his personality and penchant for the nightlife, as he is for his poker skills.

T8. Jay Heimowitz – 6

Like Billy Baxter, Heimowitz can also lay claim to winning a bracelet in every decade since the 1970’s, and is another one of the old-time pros who revels in their anonymity.

Heimowitz made the Main Event final table in both 1980 and 1981; finishing 3rd and 6th respectively. Heimowitz has had so many deep runs in the Main Event it’s amazing he never won the event. Besides the back-to-back final tables, Heimowitz has finished 13th, 11th, 14th, 15th, and 11th in the Main Event.

T8. Men “The Master” Nguyen – 6

There may not be a tournament played that Men “The Master” Nguyen hasn’t played in. A staple on the tournament scene since the 1980’s Men is also well known for mentoring other Vietnamese poker players, and for his catch-phrase: “Nice Hand Suh.”

In what can only be described as a super-heater that covered a three-week span in 2003, Men won two bracelets, finished second in two more events, and fourth in another .A lifetime of poker accomplishments in three weeks!

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