While winning a World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet is one of the greatest accomplishments a poker player can achieve, many of the greatest and most successful players in the game have yet to put one on their wrists.
Since PokerNews last looked in 2021 at the greatest players who hadn’t won a WSOP bracelet, high stakes crusher Jason Koon got the monkey off of his back by winning Event #11: $25K Heads-up No-Limit Hold’em Championship for his first bracelet, while other top players like Dan Smith and Isaac Haxton have yet to win WSOP gold.
With the 2022 WSOP right around the corner, here’s a look at some of the best players who have yet to add a World Series bracelet to their long lists of accolades.
Note: This list looks at primarily poker tournament players or who are regular names in the tournament circuit. This excludes the likes of Tom Dwan and popular high stakes cash game players like Garrett Adelstein and Andy Stacks.
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With $38.2 million in live tournament earnings and a seventh-place spot on the Hendon Mob all-time money list, it is surprising that Dan Smith does not have a WSOP bracelet to his name. It’s additionally surprising since the high stakes pro has had victories on the PokerGO Tour, WPT and EPT, in addition to Super High Roller Bowl Online and Poker Masters Online titles.
Despite not yet having won a bracelet, Smith has an amazing $10.1 million in WSOP earnings, heavily padded by a third-place finish in Event #78: The Big One for One Drop – $1,000,000 No-Limit Hold’em at the 2018 WSOP for $4 million, as well as a runner-up finish in the 2016 $111,111 buy-in High Roller for One Drop for $3.1 million.
Smith had a few deep runs at the 2021 World Series but is still looking for his first bracelet. This summer could be the year he finds it.
Dan Smith Top Five WSOP Cashes
|July 15, 2018||Event #78: The Big One for One Drop – $1,000,000 No-Limit Hold’em||3rd||$4,000,000|
|July 8, 2016||Event #67: High Roller for One Drop – $111,111 No-Limit Hold’em||2nd||$3,078,974|
|June 15, 2018||Event #33: $50,000 Poker Players Championship||3rd||$521,782|
|July 6, 2016||Event #62: $25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller (8-Handed)||3rd||$487,361|
|June 26, 2015||Event #54: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship||3rd||$369,564|
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Isaac Haxton is widely regarded as one of the best poker tournament players of all time, having racked up $27.7 million in live earnings across his career. Despite the millions in tournament cashes, including $3 million at the WSOP alone, Haxton has yet to win a bracelet.
Haxton came closest to doing so at the 2009 WSOP when he finished runner-up in Event #2: $40,000 40th Annual No-Limit Holdem to take home $1.2 million. Eight years later, Haxton finished third in the $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship at the 2017 World Series to pocket $595,812.
Haxton’s last WSOP cashes date back to 2020 in online GGPoker events, but a bracelet could certainly be in his future if he continues to play events.
Isaac Haxton Top Five WSOP Cashes
|May 28, 2009||Event #2: $40,000 40th Annual No-Limit Holdem||2nd||$1,168,566|
|July 2, 2017||Event #62: $50,000 Poker Players Championship (6-Handed)||3rd||$595,812|
|July 13, 2018||Event #77: $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller (Big Blind Antes)||4th||$518,882|
|June 30, 2010||Event #52: $25,000 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Handed||9th||$104,651|
|July 2, 2007||Event #52: $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em (Rebuy)||7th||$96,798|
Alex Foxen was clearly meant for poker tournaments as he won the very first WSOP Circuit event he entered in 2012 at Harrah’s New Orleans to win $22,421 and his first ring. Despite racking up 60 WSOP cashes and a million more in WSOP earnings in the time since then, Foxen has yet to win another piece of World Series hardware.
It’s been a great year of live poker already for Foxen, who took down Event #7: $15,000 NL Hold’em at the 2022 US Poker Open to win $283,500. The next month, Foxen $515,587 after finishing runner-up in Event #31: $50,000 Super High Roller at the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open, where PokerNews spoke with Foxen about the victory and getting wed in the Florida Keys.
Foxen was notably absent at the 2021 WSOP, though we will see if that changes this year now that most COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.
Alex Foxen Top Five WSOP Cashes
|July 3, 2019||Event #73: $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event – World Championship||40th||$211,945|
|July 4, 2017||Event #65: $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em||3rd||$98,761|
|October 20, 2019||Event #8: €25,500 Platinum High Roller No-Limit Hold’em (WSOPE)||6th||€95,962|
|July 15, 2021||WSOP.com Event #15: $5,300 No Limit Hold’em High Roller Freezeout||4th||$65,800|
|May 30, 2018||Event #2: $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Super Turbo Bounty||6th||$63,042|
Shannon Shorr is no stranger to success at the WSOP. The Alabama all-time money leader finished second in Event #7: $2,000 No-Limit Hold’em at the 2008 WSOP for $349,141, and finished third in Event #57: $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Handed Championship for $455,362 four years later.
More recently, Shorr had another close call in Event #11: $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em at the 2019 WSOP, where he finished second for $273,416 after falling to Daniel Strelitz. After so many deep runs and close calls at the World Series, it would be hard to argue that Shorr isn’t due for a bracelet.
And Shorr is already off to a hot start in 2022, having taken down Event #1: $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em at the US Poker Open for $213,900 in March and finishing second in $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em at the PGT Venetian High Roller Series for $64,400 earlier this month.
Multiple PokerNews staff members picked Shorr as their favorite to win a first bracelet this summer as part of PokerNews’ annual WSOP predictions, so time will tell if those predictions come true.
Shannon Shorr Top Five WSOP Cashes
|July 3, 2012||Event #57: $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Handed Championship||3rd||$455,362|
|June 4, 2008||Event #7: $2,000 No-Limit Hold’em||2nd||$349,141|
|June 3, 2019||Event #11: $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em||2nd||$273,416|
|July 2, 2018||Event #65: $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event – World Championship||39th||$189,165|
|June 28, 2013||Event #52: $25,000 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Handed||7th||$129,342|
A new addition to this list is Chris Brewer, a regular on the high stakes circuit who has accumulated $4.7 million in lifetime earnings since his first live cash in 2015. Brewer’s biggest WSOP cash came last year when he finished fifth in Event #60: $50,000 Poker Players Championship 6-Handed for $211,235.
Brewer has had success outside of the World Series as well, including a victory in $10,000 WPT High Roller at the 2021 WPT Online Series and a first-place finish earlier this year in Event #9: €10,000 No Limit Hold’em at EPT Prague for €155,830.
Given his success on other tours and recent performance in the Poker Player’s Championship, it seems only a matter of time before Brewer adds a first-place finish at the WSOP to his poker resume.
Chris Brewer Top Five WSOP Cashes
|October 31, 2021||Event #60: $50,000 Poker Players Championship 6-Handed||5th||$211,235|
|August 23, 2020||GGPoker.com Event #70: $25,000 NLH Poker Players Championship||46th||$57,592|
|August 30, 2020||GGPoker.com Event #77: $5,000 No Limit Hold’em Main Event||32nd||$55,880|
|August 8, 2020||GGPoker.com Event #54: $10,000 Heads Up No Limit Hold’em Championship||6th||$49,664|
|September 25, 2021||WSOP.com Event #25: No Limit Hold’em Lucky 7’s High Roller||9th||$19,494|
Gianluca Speranza has been within inches of earning a WSOP bracelet on multiple occasions, making him an easy addition to this list. In 2011, the Italian finished second in Event #2: €1,090 No-Limit Hold’em at WSOPE for €91,262. In 2017, he won more than seven times that, €689,246, when he finished runner up in the WSOPE Main Event, falling to Marti de Torres.
The runner-up finish in the WSOPE Main was Speranza’s best live cash until he took down a €25,000 High Roller at EPT Monte Carlo earlier this month for €853,000. We will see if Speranza can continue his run-good this summer in Las Vegas and if it will earn him a bracelet.
Gianluca Speranza Top Five WSOP Cashes
|November 4, 2017||Event #11: €10,350 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event (WSOPE)||2nd||€689,246|
|October 8, 2011||Event #2: €1,090 No-Limit Hold’em (WSOPE)||2nd||€91,262|
|July 5, 2010||Event #57: $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event – World Championship||197th||$48,847|
|October 24, 2018||Event #8: €25,500 Super Highroller Series 25K (WSOPE)||20th||€38,365|
|June 23, 2019||$1,000 WSOP.com Online No-Limit Hold’em Double Stack (Event #55)||7th||$29,886|
Iconic poker commentator and Women in Poker Hall of Famer Maria Ho is still after a first bracelet despite racking up 71 WSOP cashes (seven more from when PokerNews put out this list in 2021) and $1.8 million in WSOP earnings.
Ho was denied a bracelet at the 2011 WSOP in Event #4: $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em, where she finished second for $540,020. More recently, Ho finished sixth in the 2017 WSOPE Main Event to earn €174,365, another close call for the California pro and commentator.
Ho had a number of deep runs at the most recent World Series, including a fifth-place finish in Event #32: $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. for $39,423. 2022 could be the year Ho adds a bracelet to her impressive poker resume.
Maria Ho Top Five WSOP Cashes
|June 2, 2011||Event #4: $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em||2nd||$540,020|
|July 6, 2007||Event #55: $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em MAIN EVENT – World Championship||38th||$237,865|
|November 4, 2017||Event #11: €10,350 No-Limit Hold’em MAIN EVENT (WSOPE)||6th||€174,365|
|June 3, 2019||Event #11: $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em||5th||$91,211|
|June 24, 2016||Event #42: $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout||4th||$87,487|
With a record 334 WSOP cashes to his name, Roland Israelashvili sits far in front on the all-time list, ahead of Arkadiy Tsinis (237 WSOP cashes) and Ari Engel (218 cashes), the latter of whom was on this list until he won his first bracelet in 2019.
Despite having all of those cashes and an impressive eight Circuit rings, Israelashvili has yet to get a golden bracelet under his belt. The New Yorker, who is originally from the Republic of Georgia, had his closest call in Event #58: The Little One for One Drop – $1,111 No-Limit Hold’em at the 2013 WSOP, where he finished third for $295,433. The previous year, Israelashvili had finished fifth in Event #45: $50,000 Poker Players Championship for his biggest WSOP score of $317,882.
Israelashvili made a few deep runs at the 2021 WSOP and WSOPE, so expect him to be back this summer looking to finally win a bracelet.
Roland Israelashvili Top Five WSOP Cashes
|June 24, 2012||Event #45: $50,000 Poker Players Championship||5th||$317,882|
|July 3, 2013||Event #58: The Little One for One Drop – $1,111 No-Limit Hold’em||3rd||$295,433|
|July 7, 2012||Event #61: $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event – World Championship||25th||$294,601|
|March 12, 2010||Event #10: $5,150 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event (WSOP Circuit)||1st||$264,715|
|July 7, 2005||Event #42: $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event – World Championship||37th||$235,390|
Niklas Astedt is one of the best online tournament grinders to ever touch a computer mouse, sitting atop the PocketFives all-time leaderboard with $23.6 million in earnings. “Lena900” has also had success in the live realm, accumulating just under $1.5 million in lifetime earnings.
The Swedish pro played a heavy schedule at the 2021 WSOP and had a number of deep runs, including a 7th-place finish in Event #64: $5,000 Mixed No-Limit Hold’em; Pot-Limit Omaha for $70,367, and the next day finishing 19th in Event #66: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship for $20,097.
The previous year, the online grinder was denied a bracelet in a GGPoker.com $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event, in which he finished second for $156,905. Whether it’s earned online or in a live arena, a bracelet could certainly be in Astedt’s future.
Niklas Astedt Top Five WSOP Cashes
|July 6, 2020||GGPoker.com Event #39: $1,500 No Limit Hold’em||2nd||$156,905|
|November 2, 2021||Event #64: $5,000 Mixed No-Limit Hold’em; Pot-Limit Omaha (8-Handed)||7th||$70,367|
|June 19, 2019||Event #45: $25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller||26th||$43,270|
|July 9, 2016||Event #68: $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event – World Championship||182nd||$42,285|
|November 3, 2021||Event #66: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship||19th||$20,097|
Top Poker Players Without a WSOP Bracelet Breakdown
|PLAYER NAME||COUNTRY||CAREER EARNINGS||CAREER WINS||ALL-TIME MONEY RANK||WSOP EARNINGS||WSOP CASHES|
|Dan Smith||United States||$38,231,025||25||7th||$10,123,958||50|
|Isaac Haxton||United States||$27,670,939||7||18th||$2,996,040||32|
|Alex Foxen||United States||$21,720,149||17||29th||$1,025,507||61|
|Shannon Shorr||United States||$10,114,942||12||82nd||$2,578,944||146|
|Chris Brewer||United States||$4,738,889||8||303rd||$485,202||27|
|Maria Ho||United States||$4,246,404||8||359th||$1,796,869||71|
|Roland Israelashvili||United States||$3,927,013||25||383rd||$3,244,724||334|
Live poker statistics and poker’s all-time money list rankings courtesy of The Hendon Mob.