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Most WSOP Bracelets, Alternative Counts

When Spider-Man headed into the Spider-Verse in 2018, he began a pop culture trend of alternate universes. The World Series of Poker has its own set of realities, and the currently accepted history of its early years doesn't actually make much sense.

Officially, Johnny Moss won the first World Series of Poker bracelet when he was voted the "World's Champion Poker Player" at the festival-ending banquet in 1970. Other top player awards were bestowed in Hold 'Em, Seven-Card Stud, Five-Card Stud, Razz, Ace-to-Five Lowball, and Deuce-to-Seven Draw, but the WSOP does not consider them bracelets.

The WSOP also gave out banquet awards in 1971, most of which they do consider bracelets, and 1972, most of which they don't.

To be consistent, either all or none of the banquet awards should be considered bracelets, although an exception probably should be made for Moss's 1970 championship, especially given that he won three awards that year. The following table shows how inconsistently the first three years of the WSOP are treated.

WSOP Awards and Tournament Winners 1970 to 1972

YearChampionshipHold 'EmSeven-Card StudFive-Card StudRazzAce-to-Five LowballDeuce-to-Seven Draw
1970Johnny MossJohnny MossPuggy PearsonGeorge BarnesJimmy CasellaJoe BernsteinJohnny Moss
1971Johnny MossJohnny MossPuggy PearsonBill BoydJimmy CasellaJohnny Moss
1972Amarillo Slim PrestonunknownPuggy PearsonBill Boydunknownunknownunknown

Notes:

Not Counting Game Awards as Bracelets

If awards aren't counted except for Johnny Moss's 1970 championship, Moss would have 8 bracelets instead of 9, dropping out of a tie for fifth with Erik Seidel into sole sixth.

Doyle Brunson would have caught him at 8 in 1998 instead of joining a four-way tie at 9 in 2003.

Counting Game Awards as Bracelets

On the other hand, if all game awards are counted as bracelets, Johnny Moss would gain three to move into second with 12 bracelets, and Puggy Pearson would gain two and be tied for ninth with 6.

Moss would have been the first player to win three bracelets in one year, in 1971, before Pearson in 1973.

Moss's 1970-79 Decade-leading total would jump from 7 to 9, moving three ahead of Doyle Brunson and Pearson, who would move into a tie for second.

Moss would have been the first player to amass ten bracelets, all the way back on May 1, 1981, more than 24 years before Johnny Chan got there.

Sources

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