POKER LIFESTYLE

Breaking Down the Worth and Rarity of WSOP Bracelets

By David Huber
February 07, 2024

WSOP bracelets are perhaps the most coveted “trophies” in the entire poker tournament world. Up until recent years, ownership of a WSOP gold bracelet meant that you outlasted all opponents in a branded World Series of Poker live event (or purchased the item from a tournament winner).

Thanks to WSOP.com and GGPoker, online poker players can now win bracelets online, too, both in the United States and outside US soil! This means that every year, the WSOP brand might award more than 100 gold bracelets to tournament winners; an acknowledgment to achieving a first place finish in a branded event.

Even WSOP bracelets that are awarded for relatively low buy-in “side events” are typically valued at over $1,000 on the open market. And of course, the World Series of Poker Main Event bracelet is the most highly sought after poker trophy of all.

WSOP main event bracelet

How Much is a WSOP Bracelet Worth?

The 2006 WSOP Main Event bracelet won by Jamie Gold was originally sold at auction for over $65,000. Peter Eastgate auctioned his 2008 WSOP Main Event bracelet for charity in 2013, and it attracted a $147,500 price on eBay.

There’s a lot of intrinsic value that might go into estimating a price for any given WSOP bracelet – especially now that more than 2,000 exist (and that number grows every year). Everything from the jeweler brand to the individual who won the bracelet might be taken into account when considering how much to pay for a WSOP bracelet once one comes up for sale.

A low buy-in side event might award a bracelet that is nowhere near the actual precious gem (or melt) value of a more prestigious bracelet like the WSOP Main Event winner’s gear.

Small particles of precious gems that are simply chips that have not been professionally shaped by a licensed jeweler can be close to worthless on their own. In fact, some of the encrusted jewelry that is associated with fine jewelry contains very little precious gem weight when measured in carats or milligrams.

High grade lapidary for small precious stones is an artform that only a few jewelers in the world can achieve. Even then, it requires a number of specialized tools in order to shape an oblong gem into something that is attractive enough to be set into an artisan-worked precious metal receptacle – such as a ring or bracelet.

The prestige of the jeweler brand can mean almost everything in terms of pricing when it comes to answering the questions of how much is a World Series of Poker bracelet worth. Moreover, the value of a WSOP bracelet can go up or down depending on precisely “who” won it, the exact tournament that it was awarded for, or even the year in which it was won.

For a low-end WSOP bracelet, you can still expect to pay over $1,000. The higher end bracelets can go for six figures, as we witnessed with the 2008 WSOP Main Event bracelet.

How Many WSOP Bracelets Are Awarded Per Year?

Once upon a time, before the early 2000s Travel Channel poker boom led by the WPT and the iconic Chris Moneymaker 2003 WSOP Main Event win, there were only a relatively small number of WSOP bracelets in existence.

When 24-year old Phil Hellmuth defeated Johnny Chan in the 1989 WSOP Main Event, there were barely more than a dozen World Series of Poker bracelets in existence; making the prestige of owning such a trophy that much greater.

Fast-forward three decades and Hellmuth has now won more than that amount of WSOP tournaments all by himself!

Although the number fluctuates from year to year, it is now possible for there to be more than 200 WSOP bracelets awarded over the course of any given calendar year. This is thanks to online poker events that now award real gold bracelets to the winners of sanctioned WSOP virtual poker events. For the past few years, these have been held on WSOP.com and GGPoker.

Conventional wisdom may lead one to believe that WSOP bracelets have become less valuable (both monetarily and intrinsically speaking) as a growing amount continues to be awarded each year. However, it remains true that quite a few poker players still consider winning a WSOP bracelet to be one of the most prestigious poker achievements.

The monetary worth of a World Series of Poker bracelet is also dependent on what a buyer is willing to pay for it. Some who seek to buy a WSOP bracelet may consider higher buy-ins to be more valuable, while someone else might believe that a Ladies Event bracelet holds more value since there is only one of that specialty event sanctioned at the WSOP each year.

In the future, we may see modules such as a WSOP Bracelet Calculator pop up on the internet in an effort to estimate the value for each of the 2,000+ “trophies.” However, it is extremely likely that any such calculator would provide just that – an estimate – that would be superseded by a buyer’s perception of each piece’s worth.

How Easy is it To Win a WSOP Bracelet?

Winning a WSOP may be “easier” than it was in the past, but it also may be equally or more difficult depending on the number of entrants in a specific, sanctioned poker tournament. There are more variables that go into answering this question, such as the skill level of all competitors in an event and even the tournament Blind/Ante structure relative to starting chip stacks.

When the “Poker Brat” won his WSOP Main Event bracelet in 1989, there were fewer than 180 total entries into that tournament. In 2023, the World Series of Poker witnessed a record-breaking 10,000+ entries into its marquee tournament.

If a WSOP bracelet is something you strive to obtain, you might want to consider entering some of the events that attract fewer contestants. These events include Mixed Games tournaments, Seven Card Stud, and Draw Games events.

Are WSOP Circuit Rings Worth More Than WSOP Bracelets?

Depending on some of the same factors that might make a WSOP bracelet more or less valuable, a WSOP Circuit ring can attract buyers who are willing to pay north of $50,000 to obtain one. Of course, the individual who wins a Circuit ring, the buy-in of the WSOP Circuit event, the materials used to forge the ring, and the jeweler who made the ring all factor in.

WSOP Circuit events have become a popular alternative (or add-on, depending on how you consider it) to bracelet tournaments? If you had a poor showing in the once-per-year WSOP, you can compete for a Circuit ring both in a live and online setting.

Similar to bracelet events, Circuit winners will have their name published on major affiliated websites that are hosted by the WSOP and The Hendon Mob.

Are Replica WSOP Bracelets and Rings Available for Purchase?

Yes. You can perform a quick Google Search to find outlets that offer replica WSOP bracelets and rings for sale. Replica bracelets are more common than replica rings at this time.

As a rule, these replica pieces will tend to increase or decrease in value depending on the ratio of precious metals to cheaper alloy metals they are made with. Since “pure” precious metals such as silver and gold tend to be softer than alloy materials, it is commonplace for a forger to use a high percentage of cheaper alloys in a replica piece.

If you’re aiming to decipher the difference between a genuine WSOP bracelet or ring compared to a replica, one telling sign is the jeweler’s stamp that is ingrained into legitimate jewelry that is officially awarded by the World Series of Poker.

Cheaper replica pieces are unlikely to have a jeweler’s stamp and – if they do contain one – that stamp is likely to be placed in a far more aesthetically unattractive manner compared to a legitimate bracelet or ring.

While it’s unlikely you’ll be able to mislead a poker pro who competes in WSOP sanctioned events into believing that a replica piece is the “real thing,” replica bracelets and rings can be an entertaining conversation piece among friends at your next poker home game.

A typical bracelet replica that you find online will cost hundreds of dollars; the same can be said for replica rings. Some of the more elaborate replica pieces may retail at $1,000 or more – which means it may actually be cheaper to obtain a real WSOP bracelet for one of the less prestigious events than to purchase a replica.

There’s not really a complete WSOP bracelet “ranking” article out there that goes into full detail about all the awards, and why they are more or less attractive to buyers on an open market. Even for some of the minor event bracelets, buyers can expect to pay around $10,000 for a legitimate bracelet that might contain less than $2,000 in raw metals at melt price.

How Can I Win WSOP Bracelets and WSOP Rings?

The only way to actually win WSOP bracelets or WSOP rings is to compete in sanctioned live or online events that take place seasonally within a calendar year.

The Las Vegas WSOP is a tournament festival that runs over a course of six to eight weeks in a live setting at the Horseshoe and Paris Hotel & Casinos in Sin City.

WSOP Circuit rings are awarded online and live as well, with tour stops throughout the year at various commercial and tribal casino venues.

Competing in sanctioned events (either live or online) is the only way to legitimately win a WSOP bracelet or ring.

How Expensive is it to Compete for WSOP Bracelets?

In recent years, the WSOP live series has added a number of relatively small buy-in events that are perfect for budget poker players looking to compete for a WSOP bracelet. The Colossus is famous for its low buy-in (which was only $400 in 2023), and attracts more than 10,000 contestants in a live setting.

If you’re looking for “one shot” to win a poker bracelet for a relatively low buy-in, then the Colossus is perfect for you. There are other low buy-in events as well, but some of those are specialty events that only allow specific players to enter (such as the Ladies Event and the Seniors Event).

Thanks to online WSOP bracelet events, players don’t even need to leave the comfort of their own home (or the convenience of their own mobile device) to compete for a WSOP bracelet. The lowest WSOP Online bracelet event buy-in hovers around $100, with plenty of sub-satellites and qualifiers for players to gain entry for a lower monetary investment.

Of course, if you’re looking to splurge, the online and live WSOP tournament schedule includes its share of High Roller events that can require an initial buy-in of $50,000 or more. There have even been a limited number of “One Drop” charity events sanctioned by the WSOP that require a whopping $1,000,000 entry!

When Will the 2024 WSOP Las Vegas Tournament Series Be Held?

The 2024 World Series of Poker will be held from May 28th through July 17th at the Horseshoe and Paris Casino in Las Vegas.

If you’re looking for an extremely unique live poker setting, there’s really no substitute for the annual series that packs contestants to the “rafters” for some of the larger events.

You can qualify for many of the events while you’re on-site at the venue in Las Vegas, but there are also opportunities to win a satellite tournament online (through WSOP.com anf GGPoker) that will award you an entry into one or more of the live Las Vegas events.

Best of luck if you’ll be competing in a sanctioned WSOP bracelet or ring event this year. Maybe YOU will be the next person to win an actual WSOP bracelet or ring!

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David Huber poker author
Written By.

David Huber

David Huber has been involved in the poker industry for close to two decades: initially as a professional online poker player and later as an editor, consultant, writer, and forum manager. Known as “dhubermex” online, David’s poker-related work has been heavily published across numerous websites since 2004.

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