When a poker player wins a World Series of Poker gold bracelet, they hold it up proudly for the cameras. Most of them are smiling broadly in one of the happiest moments of his or her poker life.
The same happens when a player wins a European Poker Tour or World Poker Tour trophy. They pose with it, hold it, sometimes even kiss it – all in a show of pride for what they just accomplished. The moment will live in poker history, and the physical award goes home with them.
Most players find some way to keep the keepsake safe and on display. We asked some winners of WSOP bracelets from the 2016 summer series in Las Vegas about their plans for the gold jewelry.
Kristen Bicknell was the first woman to win an open WSOP event this summer, and she now owns two bracelets from her World Series victories. “I keep my bracelets at home,” she told us. “I don’t have a special place for them at the moment, but once I get a home office set up, I will probably display them there.”
Read Interview: Kristen Bicknell Reflects on Bracelets, Traveling, and Risks
Courtney Kennedy, who won the Ladies Championship this year, told CardPlayer that the entire event was dedicated to her recently-deceased father. So when she took her bracelet home, she wanted to showcase it but in a way that honored her father. “That bracelet sits in front of his urn I have at the house, with a plate and his memoirs, and I have it all on a nice little stand. Every day I try to take a look at it. It’s definitely something I wish he could have seen in the physical, but I know he’s happy that I made it.”
While Benny Glaser already had one WSOP bracelet at home, he traveled back to the UK this year with another two to add to the collection. The double 2016 WSOP winner talked about his 2015 piece of gold first. “As for my first bracelet, I just kept it on top of my guitar amp for the year. It’s next to where I normally sit, and it is a lice place that I can see/look at it easily. I think I’ll probably just leave it there from now on, too, as it’s the one that means the most to me.” And the two latest ones? “Honestly, I haven’t really thought about where to put them yet. They are currently just on my table at home. I’ll either put them in a similar place near my first one or somewhere for safe keeping. My other poker trophies are on my amp and my window sill, too. Nothing fancy.”
New WSOP winner Ryan Laplante took his bracelet on a tour of the United States. “It’s on a shelf in my fiancée’s mom’s house as we visit her. It will eventually be placed in a small display case underneath a very large picture – or painting, possibly – of the bracelet photo that had been taken with my fiancée and those who were there to rail.”
Doug Polk of Upswing Poker won his second WSOP gold this year, as he and Ryan Fee won the Tag Team tournament to each garner a shiny new slab of commemorative gold. He keeps the bracelets in their boxes but open when he wants a reminder of those accomplishments or when he wants to show them off a little.
Ryan Fee keeps all of his poker memorabilia nearby so as to see the benefits of his hard work as he continues to work. All of them hold an important place next to his computer.
Read Interview: Ryan Fee: Upswing Poker & Joys of Learning and Teaching Poker
Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind
Of course, there are other stories about WSOP bracelets that no longer reside with their rightful owners. Phil Hellmuth has 14 bracelets to date, but he chooses to give them away to important people in his life. Each of his parents has one, as does each of his sisters. His wife and sons have several, and his very first friend in life keeps one as well. Hellmuth gave the most recent one to the family of a deceased friend.
BOOOM!! Won my 14th @WSOP Bracelet!!! Dedicated it to a friend I lost recently: Dave Goldberg. Giving my bracelet to Goldies family— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) June 9, 2015
Some poker pros sold theirs when they needed money, but one champion sold his bracelet to raise money for charity. The 2008 WSOP Main Event champion Peter Eastgate, who mostly disappeared from the world of poker in subsequent years, sold his gold just two years after he won the jewel-encrusted gold prize. He put it up on eBay for auction, and after more than 100 bids, one person won it for $147,500. That money was then donated to UNICEF to help children around the world.
@BernardLeePoker Peter Eastgate's ME bracelet sold for $147,000, but its priceless when you factor in "Life Equity"— High Roller Radio (@HighRollerRadio) June 14, 2013