There is a lot to be said on that topic, especially since many great players don’t particularly care about bracelets or tournament poker at all, for that matter, but that’s a discussion for another day.
In this article, we’ll be looking at 10 of the best poker players out there who still don’t have a WSOP bracelet for one reason or another.
When it comes to measuring success in the poker world, there are many ways to do it. Some people believe that looking at the player’s total career winnings is enough, while others think that major titles are just as important in this argument. The latter group of people finds it especially important to look at the WSOP bracelets won by a given player. After all, it is the largest poker tournament in the world.
Maria Ho, a poker player, TV host, and one of the top poker personalities, is still looking for her first WSOP bracelet. This comes as a bit of a surprise given how busy she has been on the tournament circuit in general, but it’s simply a case of bad luck in crucial moments of her games. At the time of writing, Maria had over $4.2 million in live tournament earnings and had cashed in 69 WSOP events. As a result, Maria Ho is quite familiar with the World Series of Poker.
Probably her finest opportunity came over a decade ago, in 2011, when she has managed to get into the heads-up play during the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em event. However, she was unable to seal the deal as her run was stopped by Allen Bari. Ho had numerous additional strong results in the WSOP, including a sixth-place finish in the 2017 WSOP Europe Main Event. Her total World Series of Poker earnings exceed $1.7 million at the time of writing this article.
It is fair to say that Maria Ho has a great chance of getting her first WSOP this year. That is because she shows a strong commitment to the game and enjoys the grind. Therefore, it is only a matter of time until she gets that bracelet.
Dan Smith is currently one of the top poker players from the United States. Many people might be shocked to find this name on the list. Smith is presently placed 6th on the worldwide All Time Money List, with about $38 million in tournament winnings throughout his career.
Furthermore, about a fifth of that total came from the World Series of Poker events, with $4 million attributable to his third-place finish in 2018 Big One for One Drop event. Smith had a couple more close calls, finishing second in the 2016 High Roller for One Drop and third four times more.
No one can deny that the tournament expert deserves a bracelet, if not several, given his overall poker performance and skills.
It is fair to say that Dan Smith is easily one of the best poker players out there. He can easily back this claim up thanks to his several wins in EPT and WPT events. We can assume that Dan Smith will be able to win his first WSOP bracelet and add it to his impressive poker career. But, as it stands right now, Smith has been pretty unlucky when it comes to WSOP bracelets.
Few poker fans will recognize Sam Trickett. However, this British poker pro used to be one of poker’s most famous faces. He has managed to board the poker boom bandwagon and ride it all the way until his huge success. Over the years, the Brit has earned about $22 million in tournament prizes. In addition, he was a frequent participant in a number of high-stakes cash games and had connections with well-known poker companies, so it’s reasonable to think he had a sizable net worth. Trickett’s finest achievement was, of course, his runner-up finish in the first Big One for One Drop competition in 2012.
Aside from losing to Esfandiari in the last round, Trickett was awarded more than $10 million for his performance. Trickett, like Smith and many others on this list, is still yet to win a WSOP bracelet. He made a couple of WSOP final tables and got heads up twice more in his career, but he just couldn’t seal the deal.
Sam Trickett hasn’t been as involved in the live poker scene in the past few years, and chasing bracelets doesn’t appear to be a primary concern for him. Nonetheless, with so much expertise under his belt and a sizable bankroll, he has a good chance of joining the ranks of bracelet holders at some moment.
Isaac “Ike” Haxton is a name that practically all poker enthusiasts will recognize right off the bat.
Even though he never received the same level of media exposure as many of the other players mentioned, Haxton’s accomplishments spoke for themselves, establishing him as one of the poker world’s superstars. Ike has earned $27.7 million in live tournament winnings to date, largely from high-roller and super-high-roller tournaments. With all this in mind, it’s probably less shocking that Haxton still lacks a bracelet. Nonetheless, the American saw a couple of good chances for a bracelet throughout the years. Back in 2009, he came in second place in the $40,000 Annual Event.
Isaac Haxton came close to victory once again in 2017, finishing third in the coveted Poker Players Championship tournament. We can say with confidence that If Haxton puts his mind to it, he may easily earn one or more bracelets in the coming years. However, he currently seems to be more focused on high-stakes tournaments with smaller fields and more rewards, which makes sense given his bankroll. There is still time to be concerned about the legacy.
Steve O’Dwyer is another player who does not have a bracelet just yet. O’Dwyer, nicknamed the “Hairy Beast” due to his signature long hair and beard, is a freak of nature at the poker tables, having won just under $31 million in live earnings and over $7 million in online poker. And what’s even more amazing is the fact that O’Dwyer’s largest single cash victory is about $1.9 million, implying that he didn’t just get lucky in one or two events to get these impressive results. Instead, he’s had a streak of victories and top-three finishers throughout the years, demonstrating that he’s a genuine grinder and a player to be reckoned with. Despite his great resume, he has yet to win a WSOP bracelet.
According to his statistics, O’Dwyer has managed to finish 19 times in the money at the WSOP. This adds up to a little over $700,000, indicating that he wasn’t very concerned about playing in the World Series. This is most likely one of the reasons he has yet to win a bracelet. His resume includes over a dozen tournament victories, including an EPT championship from 2013. Throughout his lengthy and illustrious career, he has also had nearly 20 runner-up finishes and several final tables.
Maurice Hawkins is not the most famous poker player. Especially amongst casual poker enthusiasts. However, if we’re talking about players who don’t have a WSOP bracelet, this name has to be on the list. At first sight, Hawkins has slightly more than $4 million in tournament winnings, which in itself is a fine achievement but not particularly outstanding when compared to the other players on this list. At this point, you might ask why should he be chosen over several other players who have achieved comparable results? The solution is straightforward. It’s because Maurice Hawkins has 14 WSOP Circuit rings and around 150 money finishes in WSOP and WSOPC events.
Maurice Hawkins is probably the definition of a live tournament grinder. He absolutely loves poker, and he is obsessed with the World Series of Poker. Obviously, Hawkins does not have as huge a bankroll as most of the other players mentioned, therefore he prefers to play in larger-field, lower-buy-in tournaments. Managing to win a bracelet is a difficult endeavor, regardless of how excellent a player one is. But it is fair to say that Hawkins absolutely loves playing poker and isn’t going away. He is sure to decorate his wrist with a coveted bracelet sooner or later. After all, he already has more rings than fingers, so it’s time to diversify his jewelry collection.
Even though Jake Schindler is not really a household name among poker enthusiasts, there is really no doubt that he is one of the top tournament players in the game. Schindler, who is from Pennsylvania, has won somewhere around $28 million in live tournaments over the course of a decade. Schindler, along with many other young pros, focuses on high-roller tournaments, and the fact that he’s had so much success in such a difficult environment speaks much about his poker skills. It’s a wonder why he still doesn’t have a WSOP bracelet, although it’s most likely due to chance.
However, Schindler does have a WSCOP Circuit ring to his name. He has also managed to get into a few final tables at some WSOP tournaments in the past few years. Therefore, it is just a matter of time and luck until he finally gets his first WSOP bracelet.
Kempe is a member of the German poker school. He is a tremendously accomplished high-roller with no WSOP wins to his name. Kempe’s overall tournament earnings exceed $21.6 million, with the two largest money finishes coming from Super High Roller Bowl tournaments in Las Vegas and Macau. These two wins account for around one-third of his overall earnings. However, the German has won several high-buy-in events over the years, proving that he is far from a one-trick pony. Kempe hasn’t had a lot of luck at the WSOP in the past.
With 48 money finishes for around $1.3 million, he came the closest to earning a bracelet during the 50th Anniversary WSOP in 2019, finishing fourth in a $600 PLO tournament. When looking at Kempe’s track record, it’s worth noting that he doesn’t hesitate to participate in the low-buy-in WSOP tournaments. Kempe has participated in a number of four-figure buy-in events, which is unusual for high-rollers of his type, implying that the German would want to win at least one bracelet sooner rather than later.
When you think of the high-stakes tournament field right now, Germany is one of the first things that spring to mind. The country has developed a plethora of talented young players who have been dominating on the live circuit, winning multiple titles in events with six-figure buy-ins. Christoph Vogelsang is amongst the most successful players of that community, having won $25.5 million in live tournaments in just seven years. The young German has also had a great deal of success in World Series of Poker tournaments, with WSOP cashes accounting for around one-third of his personal worth. The most notable came in 2014, when he finished third in the $1MM Big One for One Drop, earning him just shy of $4.5 million.
However, this was not Vogelsang’s biggest victory to date. He won $6 million at 2017 $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl Las Vegas, beating out a very strong field. In such a short time, the German superstar has created an outstanding poker career, yet a WSOP bracelet remains elusive. He clearly has the talent and the bankroll, so all he needs is a solid run when it counts. We can say with confidence that Vogelsang will join the select club of WSOP champions in the near future.
Thomas Marchese, a US-born poker player with a current record of $19.2 million in live tournament earnings, rounds up our list of the top poker players without a WSOP bracelet.
Marchese, and many others on this list, has had a lot of success playing in high-roller tournaments, which has helped him develop his bankroll and confidence at the tables.
He is among the elite echelons of the poker industry, having amassed over a dozen seven-figure scores. Marchese, like the others, is still missing a WSOP bracelet to round off his professional resume. Marchese is also a Pot Limit Omaha expert, as he demonstrated multiple times at the World Series.
Thomas Marchese has almost managed to snatch his first WSOP bracelet in 2015 when he made it all the way to the heads-up duel in a $1,500 PLO event. However, he was unable to seal the deal and had to be content with a runner-up result. But, this close call didn’t demotivate the US poker pro. Marchese continues to grind poker tournaments and sooner or later he is sure to add a WSOP bracelet to the collection of his trophies.