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Big in 2010: WSOP Bracelets

29 December 2010 by admin

This is the second in a series that will look back at who and what was big in the online gambling world in the year 2010.The first part of the Big in 2010 series can be found here.

WSOP_gold_braceletFew things were bigger in the gambling world in 2010 than World Series of Poker bracelets. That’s because for the first time people could obtain the bracelets two different ways. You could get one the traditional way, which would be by winning it in tournament play, or you could buy one in an eBay auction.

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet is the biggest non-monetary prize in the game of poker. It is like a Super Bowl Ring for football players or an Olympic gold medal for individual athletes. The winner of every event in the World Series of Poker gets a bracelet, with the best and fanciest bracelet going to the winner of the Main Event.

23-year-old Canadian pro Jonathan Duhamel surprised some by winning the WSOP Main Event in 2010, earning a bracelet in addition to the $8,944,301 he took away from the poker table. Though Duhamel’s win may have raised some eyebrows, it was nothing compared to what Peter Eastgate did.

peter-eastgate-26556Earlier this year, Eastgate announced that he was retiring from professional poker and placed his WSOP bracelet up for auction on eBay, with the proceeds going to UNICEF. Eastgate won the Main Event in 2008 and at the time was the youngest champion ever, though Joe Cada beat that record the next year. Only 25 years old, Eastgate’s decision to retire shocked the poker world, but it was auctioning his bracelet that really got the poker blogs buzzing.

Many people thought it was disrespectful to the game of poker and to the poker tournament to put the bracelet on eBay, a website where you can also buy virtually anything of unsentimental value. Others came to Eastgate’s defense, saying that the bracelet was his property and he could do with it as he wishes. Some humble people don’t like having awards around because they don’t want to show them off, so why should anyone be bothered by Eastgate selling his award?

Whether you agree with Eastgate’s decision or not, there is no denying that it started a trend. Soon after, a WSOP bracelet won by Eskimo Clark in 1999 was put up for auction on eBay. Clark’s bracelet was from the Razz Event, rather than the Main Event, but it was still an official WSOP bracelet. Then Brad Daugherty (no relation to the former Cavs basketball player), who won the Main Event in 1991, put his bracelet up for bid.

tonyg2No one made more headlines regarding a WSOP bracelet than Tony G, though. The controversial poker pro (real name Antanas Guoga) said that he would buy the bracelet and make it into a dog collar. In the end, it sold to an unknown bidder for $147,500 and, as far as I know, is not being worn by a dog.

To the event winners, a WSOP bracelet is a memento and a prize for reaching the ultimate achievement in the game of poker. To poker fans, the bracelet is a piece of poker memorabilia that can’t be topped. Only time will tell whether this trend will continue and if it does, people will continue to debate whether the selling of WSOP bracelets is a good thing. One thing can’t be debated, though. World Series of Poker bracelets were big in 2010.

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