Stan’s Lists – WSOP Bracelet Streaks

[SS] “Okay guys, two super hard trivia questions for you about the World Series of Poker”, Stan the Stat promised.

[LL] “Shoot”, Leroy the Lion encouraged.

[SS] “Who was the last player to win consecutive WSOP events?”

[LL] “Layne Flack. I thought you said these were hard.”

[SS] “They are. Flack won consecutive events that he entered in 2002, but they were actually events #4 and #19 on the schedule. And believe it or not, that’s not where he got the nickname Back-to-Back Flack anyway!”

[RR] “Really?” Roderick the Rock wondered.

[SS] “Three years earlier, he had won back-to-back events in Seven Card Stud and Limit Hold ‘Em at the Legends of Poker in Los Angeles. Any other guesses?”

[LL] “Nope.”

[RR] “Me neither.”

[SS] “Just as well, as I could give you a hundred guesses, and you wouldn’t get the answer without Googling… It was Hilbert Shirey in 1995.”

[RR] “I don’t even recognize his name.”

[SS] “His other major claim to fame was bubbling the final table of the 1991 Main Event. He also won another bracelet in 1987.”

[SS] “You ready for the second question?”

[LL & RR simultaneously] “No.”

[SS] “Who was the only player to win back-to-back bracelets twice?”

[LL] “Very few people have won four bracelets, so at least this is guessable. Johnny Moss?”

[SS] “No.”

[RR] “Doyle Brunson?”

[SS] “No.”

[LL] “Amarillo Slim?”

[SS] “No.”

[RR] “Somebody with just four or five bracelets?”

[SS] “Yes.”

[LL] “There can only be a handful of players who’ve even won multiple bracelets in multiple years!”

[SS] “And you’ve already named most of them.”

[RR] “And it has to be before 1995, so that rules out Ivey, Hellmuth, and Ferguson.”

[LL] “I give up. Who was it?”

[SS] “Gary Berland, in 1978 and 1979, taking down one Razz and three Seven Card Stud events. He had two high Main Event finishes: second behind Brunson in 1977 (technically the cash bubble boy) and third in 1986.”

[RR] “Those questions were way too hard.”

[SS] “Okay then, here’s a much easier one. Who were the only two players to win three consecutive events?”

[LL] “I actually know this one. Amazingly, they did it the same year.”

[RR] “I remember Phil Hellmuth bragging about it.”

[LL] “Yep. And then Ted Forrest matched him just a few days later!”

[SS] “In one way, Forrest outdid Hellmuth though; Hellmuth captured three Hold ‘Em bracelets, but Forrest won in Seven Card Stud, Razz, and Omaha Hi/Lo!”

Consecutive WSOP Events Won

# Player Year Events
3 Phil Hellmuth 1993 #7: $2,500 No Limit Hold ‘Em; #8: $1,500 No Limit Hold ‘Em; #9: $5,000 Limit Hold ‘Em
Ted Forrest 1993 #11: $5,000 Limit Seven Card Stud; #12: $1,500 Limit Razz; #13: $1,500 Limit Omaha Hi/Lo
2 Johnny Moss 1971 #4: $1,000 Limit Ace to Five Draw; #5: $5,000 No Limit Hold ‘Em Main Event
Jimmy Casella 1974 #1: $10,000 Limit Seven Card Stud; #2: $1,000 Limit Razz
Howard Andrew 1976 #1: $2,500 No Limit Hold ‘Em; #2: $1,000 No Limit Hold ‘Em
Bobby Baldwin 1977 #2: $10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven Lowball; #3: $5,000 Limit Seven Card Stud
Gary Berland 1978 #2: $1,000 Limit Razz; #3: $500 Limit Seven Card Stud
Gary Berland 1979 #2: $500 Limit Seven Card Stud; #3: $1,000 Limit Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo
Lakewood Louie 1979 #7: $1,000 Limit Ace to Five Draw; #8: $2,000 Limit Draw High
Stu Ungar 1981 #12: $10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven Lowball; #13: $10,000 No Limit Hold ‘Em Main Event
Billy Baxter 1982 #1: $2,500 No Limit Ace to Five Draw; #2: $10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven Lowball
Dewey Tomko 1984 #11: $10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven Lowball; #12: $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha w/Re-buys
Humberto Brenes 1993 #16: $2,500 Pot Limit Omaha; #17: $2,500 Limit Hold ‘Em
T.J. Cloutier 1994 #14: $1,500 Limit Omaha Hi/Lo; #15: $2,500 Pot Limit Hold ‘Em
Hilbert Shirey 1995 #18: $2,500 Pot Limit Omaha (w/Re-buys); #19: $2,500 Pot Limit Hold ‘Em

[SS] “Ungar was the only Main Event winner to also win the previous event.”

[SS] “Okay, same idea but for years instead of events… What two players have won at least one bracelet in four consecutive years?”

[RR] “Probably players we just guessed.”

[SS] “One of them is.”

[LL] “Moss, Brunson, …”

[SS] “Texas Dolly’s one, from 1976 to 1979. Someone did it before him though.”

[RR] “Someone really old.”

[SS] “Deceased, actually.”

[LL] “Amarillo Slim? Puggy Pearson?”

[SS] “No and no.”

[RR] “I concede.”

[SS] “Bill Boyd. He won a Limit Five-Card Stud event every year from 1971 to 1974 and was instrumental in popularizing Omaha as the Golden Nugget’s director of operations.”

Consecutive Years Winning a WSOP Bracelet

# Player Years
4 Bill Boyd 1971-74
Doyle Brunson 1976-79*
3 Johnny Moss 1974-76
Bobby Baldwin 1977-79
Gary Berland 1977-79
Lakewood Louie 1978-80
Erik Seidel 1992-94
Allen Cunningham 2005-07
Matt Matros 2010-12
Michael Mizrachi 2010-12
Robert Mizrachi 2014-161

{* Brunson’s 1979 bracelet was in Mixed Doubles with Starla Brodie.}

[SS] “Eight players have won a bracelet in three consecutive years, and two have a chance to join them this year: Michael Gathy and Roger Hairabedian.

[LL] “Interesting that nobody hit a three-bagger from 1981 to 1991 and 1995 to 2004. We would have gone a quarter of a century without one if not for Seidel.”

[SS] “Last question: what players have won at least one bracelet in the most consecutive decades? Only one of them is obvious.”

[RR] “Brunson again?”

[SS] “Nope, but he and Chip Reese get honorable mentions for winning bracelets in three out of four decades.”

[LL] “The obvious one must be Hellmuth, since he won the Main Event in 1989, giving him the 1980s to the 2010s.”

[SS] “Correct. And I’ll give you the other two: Jay Heimowitz was the first to do it in 2000 (1970s to 2000s), and Bill Baxter joined him in 2002. Both of their streaks started in the 1970s, so they still have six years to pass Hellmuth.”

Consecutive Decades Winning a WSOP Bracelet

# Player Years
4 Jay Heimowitz 1975 1986 1991 1994 2000 2001
Bill Baxter 1975 1978 1982 [2] 1987 1993 2002
Phil Hellmuth 1989 1992 1993 [3] 1997 2001 2003 [2] 2006 2007 2012 [2]2
3 Amarillo Slim Preston 1972 1974 1985 1990
Johnny Chan 1985 1987 1988 1994 1997 2000 2002 2003 [2] 2005
Berry Johnston 1983 1986 1990 1995 2001
Mickey Appleman 1980 1992 1995 2003
T.J. Cloutier 1987 1994 [2] 1998 2004 2005
Men Nguyen 1992 1995 [2] 1996 2003 [2] 2010
Sam Farha 1996 2006 2010
Peter Vilandos 1995 2009 2012
Mike Matusow 1999 2002 2008 2013
David Chiu 1996 1998 2000 2005 2013
Daniel Negreanu 1998 2003 2004 2008 20133
Ted Forrest 1993 [3], 2004 [2], 2014

[SS] “Twelve players have a bracelet in three consecutive decades, with Amarillo Slim Preston being the first to do it in 1990, a year before Heimowitz. Chan, Johnston, Appleman, and Cloutier can join the four-decade list in the next six years, while Nguyen, Farha, Vilandos, Negreanu, Chiu, and Matusow will have to wait until 2020 to extend their streaks.”4

[SS] Four players are on both the events and years lists (Baldwin, Berland, Moss, and Louie), three are on both the events and decades lists (Hellmuth, Cloutier, and Forrest), but nobody is on both the years and decades lists (either Brunson or Seidel could be the first with a bracelet in the 2010s).

Footnotes:

  1. Robert Mizrachi joined the list by winning the $10,000 Seven Card Stud event on June 6, 2016.
  2. Hellmuth’s two 2012 bracelets include one in Europe.
  3. Negreanu’s two 2013 bracelets were in Asia and Europe.
  4. Twenty people have until 2019 to join the list of players with a bracelet in three consecutive decades: Chau Giang, Chris Bjorin, David Grey, Doyle Brunson, Eli Balas, Erik Seidel, Farzad Bonyadi, Freddy Deeb, Hoyt Corkins, Huck Seed, John Cernuto, Josh Arieh, Layne Flack, O’Neil Longson, Paul Clark, Randy Holland, Scotty Nguyen, Steve Zolotow, and Tony Ma.5
  5. Ted Forrest won the $1,500 Razz Event on June 1, 2014 [and was therefore moved from footnote 4 into the table above].

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