Stan’s Lists – WSOP Bracelets

[SS] “Since the World Series of Poker does such an excellent job of maintaining a list of bracelet winners, I don’t keep my own copy”, Stan the Stat claimed.

[RR] “Somehow I doubt that”, Roderick the Rock countered.

[SS] “Okay, I do occasionally download the data to play around with it.”

[RR] “Find out anything interesting?”

[SS] “Obviously, Phil Hellmuth has won the most World Series of Poker bracelets,1 14.2 Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan are tied for second with 10, but neither has won a bracelet since 2005. Phil Ivey3 and Johnny Moss are next at 9. Ivey added to his collection with a win this year in Asia, while Moss passed away in 1995. Rounding out the top 11 are Erik Seidel (8); Billy Baxter and Men Nguyen (7); and T.J. Cloutier, Layne Flack, and Jay Heimowitz (6). Of the eleven players with five bracelets, three have added one in the past five years: Daniel Negreanu, David Chiu, and John Juanda.”

[SS] “624 players have at least three bracelets, a group that J.C. Tran could join with a win at next month’s Main Event final table. Barbara Enright (2 women’s events and 1 open event5) and Nani Dollison (ditto) are the only two women who have done it.”

[SS] “159 players have at least two bracelets, a group that Amir Lehavot could join in November. Jennifer Harman became the first woman to win multiple open events6 by taking the $5,000 No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw in 2000 and the $5,000 Limit Hold’em in 2002. Vanessa Selbst7 joined her in 2012. The only other women with two bracelets are Starla Brodie (one doubles event [one man and one woman] and one women’s event) and Susie Isaacs (two women’s events).”

[SS] “Five players have won three bracelets in a single year. Puggy Pearson was the first to do it, in 1973. It took two decades for anyone to match him, when amazingly both Phil Hellmuth and Ted Forrest pulled off the hat trick in 1993. Phil Ivey matched the record in 2002, and Jeff Lisandro was the last to do it, in 2009.”8

[SS] “399 players have won exactly two bracelets in a year, including Hellmuth in 2003 and Ivey in 2009. Six others have won two bracelets in a year twice: Doyle Brunson (1976 and 1977), Gary “Bones” Berland (1978 and 1979), Men Nguyen (1995 and 2003), Chris Ferguson (2000 and 2003), Layne Flack (2002 and 2003), and Tom Schneider (2007 and 2013). Dollison is the only woman to capture two bracelets in a year, when she won the Women’s Championship (No-Limit Hold’em)10 and the $2,000 Limit Hold’em event in 2001.”

[RR] “People like to bet on whether there will be a multiple winner at the WSOP; should you bet for or against it?”

[SS] “There’s been at least one every year since 2000, so you better be getting pretty good odds to go against it. Something around 10-to-1 might be fair, but I’m sure you could find someone willing to give you 20-to-1 or even 30-to-1,11 since it seems inevitable now. In reality, the 26 two-timers we’ve had since 2000 equal less than two per year. If you randomly distributed those 26 over fourteen years, you’d end up with a zero somewhere quite often (giving 13-to-1 odds) and even a couple zeroes some of the time. There are more events now than ever, but just last year the bet came down to the final hand of the Main Event! If anyone but Greg Merson had survived that final table, 2012 would have had no double-winners.”12

Footnotes:

  1. Bracelets include women’s events, seniors events, WSOP Europe events (began in 2007), and WSOP Asia events (began in 2013).
  2. Hellmuth won his 14th bracelet in the $10,000 Razz Championship on June 8, 2015.
  3. Ivey won his tenth bracelet in the $1,500 Eight Game Mixed event on June 27, 2014.
  4. On June 4, 2015, Max Pescatori became the 70th player with three WSOP bracelets.
  5. Enright was the first and still only female to reach the final table of the Main Event, finishing fifth in 1995. Four women have finished in tenth place: Barbara Samuelson (1994), Susie Isaacs (1998), Annie Duke (2000), and Gaelle Baumann (2012, one place better than Elisabeth Hille). Wikipedia incorrectly credits Enright as the first woman to win an open event, but see the next footnote.
  6. Vera Richmond was the first woman to win an open event, the $1,000 Limit Ace to 5 Draw tournament in 1982. Richmond’s father was Abraham Lincoln “Al” Neiman, who co-founded Neiman Marcus in 1907 with his wife and brother-in-law.
  7. Selbst won her third bracelet on May 30, 2014, capturing the $25,000 Mixed-Max No-Limit Hold ‘Em event.
  8. George Danzer joined the elite group with three WSOP bracelets in 2014.
  9. { June 23, 2016 update } Benny Glaser’s second bracelet of 2016 brings the total number of players who won exactly two bracelets in a year to 52. Both 2015 and 2016 have had three players pull off the double.
  10. Dollison also won the women’s title the year before as well, when it was a combination of Limit Hold’em and Seven-card stud.
  11. Steve Zolotow estimated the odds at 30-to-1 last year. I think this is too high because most players don’t play that many events or are particularly good at only one type of poker.
  12. { March 11, 2016 update } George Danzer won two WSOP events in 2014, the $10,000 Seven Card Razz (Event #18) and the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo (Event #38). Max Pescatori, Brian Hastings, and Jonathan Duhamel (one in Europe) all won two bracelets in 2015.

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