[LL] “Stan, I know you told us about the youngest and oldest players to win the World Series of Poker Main Event. What about any WSOP bracelet?” Leroy the Lion prodded.
[SS] “I don’t know how I missed that last year”, Stan the Stat apologized. “But I did some research and came up with what I think is the definitive history of the youngest bracelet winner going back to 1998:1
History of the Youngest WSOP Bracelet Winner
- Obrestad was one day shy of her 19th birthday when she won the first WSOP Europe Main Event. This record can’t be broken in Nevada, where the legal gambling age is 21.2
- Billirakis was ten days past his 21st birthday, Madsen 26 days, and Froehlich 117 days.”
[RR] “So, if you count just the WSOP in the U.S., the record is Billirakis’s, and it would take some lucky timing to be a younger 21.”
[SS] “Whereas Obrestad left almost a full year of margin for someone to lower her world record.”
[LL] “But eighteen is awfully young. My car is older than that.”
[RR] “The T-shirt I’m wearing is older than that.”
[SS] “Well, you guys can look forward to trying to break the oldest record instead. But first, I’m sure you were about to ask, ‘Who’s the youngest player to N bracelets, where N currently goes up to 13?’ Two Phils currently dominate the upper end of the list, but their records don’t look very safe over the next decade:
Youngest to Win Given Number of Bracelets
- Madsen was 37 days past his 21st birthday, while Nitsche was almost eight months past.
- Ivey has until December 26, 2018 to break Hellmuth’s record for eleven bracelets. He missed the marks for five and six by just over half a year.
- Nitsche has until January 20, 2019 to break Ivey’s record for four bracelets.”
[LL] “Darn, I’m too old now to break Hellmuth’s record for thirteen bracelets.”
[SS] “I think you need to worry about the first twelve first.”
Oldest Bracelet Winners
[SS] “On the other hand, if you wait long enough, you can become the oldest player to win your first bracelet. Currently, that’s Paul “Cigar” McKinney, who captured the 2007 WSOP Seniors Event at 80.”
[RR] “But who was the oldest to win an open event?”3
[SS] “That would be Johnny Moss, the Grand Old Man of Poker himself, who won the 1988 $1,500 Limit Ace to Five Draw on his 81st birthday, half a year older than McKinney was.”
[LL] “I hope I’m still playing poker when I’m 81.”
[RR] “I hope I’m still alive.”
- The previous record holder may have been Phil Hellmuth, who was 24, a year older than Negreanu, when he won the WSOP Main Event in 1989.
- If the WSOP is willing though, there are other U.S. states that have a lower legal gambling age.
- Unfortunately, I couldn’t definitively determine who was the oldest player to win his first open WSOP bracelet. My best guess: Joe Bernstein, who was 74 when he won the $3,000 Limit Ace to 5 Draw event in 1973 (he was born in 1899, which broke my spreadsheet formula).