Jon Sofen


The poker world has reached the end of an era with the World Series of Poker (WSOP) closing his latest bracelet event on the Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino.

Next summer the series make your way to the Las Vegas Strip, the first time the WSOP will take place anywhere other than Rio since 2004, when it was held in downtown Binion.

On June 3, 2005, Anthony Nguyen shipped the $500 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em tournament, the first bracelet ever won in Rio, owned at the time by Harrah’s Entertainment, which became later Caesars Entertainment. Allen Cunningham was the first player to win an open bracelet event near Strip, having won a $1,500 NLH tournament two days after Nguyen’s victory.

The last bracelet won in the Rio, from the 1,030 total awarded, took place on Tuesday, with Boris Kolev Winning Event #88: $5,000 8-Handed No-Limit Hold’em, exactly 6,019 days since the off-Strip casino first opened its doors to the World Series of Poker.

Between the first champion and the last winner, there have been more memorable moments than we can count. But we dug up some interesting statistics about the WSOP during the Rio era, starting with the WSOP’s GOAT, Phil Hellmuth, who is unsurprisingly the only player to have won more than five bracelets at the Caesars-owned resort.

Hellmuth, who won his 16th bracelet last month in Event #31: $1,500 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw, collected six shiny gold bracelets at the Rio. Four others won five, and they are listed as follows:

PlayerRio braceletsLatest Rio Bracelet
Phil Hellmuth62021
Shaun Deeb52021
Brian Rast52021
Brian Hastings52021
Jason Mercier52016

Legends make history in Rio

Doyle Brunson

Doyle Brunson and Johnny ChanTheir biggest achievements were over by the time the WSOP left Binions after the 2004 series. But they both made history in the mega-resort.

During the series’ first month in Rio in 2005, Chan became the first ever player to reach 10 bracelets when he sent off a $2,500 pot-limit hold’em tournament. Four days later, Brunson reached the double-digit bracelet plateau by winning a $5,000 no-limit hold’em event. Neither player has since won a WSOP title, although they both still participate in the occasional bracelet event.

Hellmuth would catch up the following summer in a $1,000 no-limit hold’em tournament, then win his 11th in 2007, a record no one else has since. Phil Ivey is the only other player to have won 10 bracelets, but there were only four in Rio. The Poker Hall of Famer won his 10th in 2014 when he won a $1,500 8-game mix tournament.

Negreanu’s mixed set of results

Daniel Negreanu

There are two ways to analyze: Daniel Negreanu‘s appearance in bracelet events in the Rio. The first is for those who view championships as the measure of player success. And the other looks at the total body of work (titles, final table appearances, cash prizes, prizes, etc.).

Since 2008, Negreanu hasn’t won a single bracelet at Rio yet, though he won two overseas in 2013. But he’s made 26 final tables in that span – two in the past few days – at the Las Vegas casino, which is impressive in itself. The GGPoker ambassador won his only bracelet in Rio in 2008 and has been gone ever since 0-7 at heads up for a bracelet.

Daniel Negreanu’s Most Astounding WSOP Stats in Rio

Master of the Min-Cash

Roland Israelashvili

Roland Israelashvili spawned one of the most intriguing poker careers ever. With 304 cash prizes in WSOP and WSOP Circuit events, he holds the all-time record but has never won a bracelet, although he does have eight circuit rings.

In Rio, Israelashvili took 131 cashes, more than anyone in history. But he did so without winning a bracelet, never reaching heads-up for a bracelet and only made three final tables. He is the perfect minus cashier, maybe even more than Allen Kessler.

Main event champions and winning bracelets

Chippy the WSOP mascot with 2017 Main Event winner Scott Blumstein

Winning the most prestigious annual poker event doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a great player. Since 2005, the WSOP has crowned 17 different world champions, and only four of those winners have multiple bracelets — Joe Cada (4), Joe McKeehen (3), Jonathan Duhamel (3), and Greg Merson (2).

In all, the Rio-era WSOP champions have won just eight bracelets outside of the Main Event. Going back even further, none of the 2002-2004 champions — Robert Varkonyic, Chris Moneymaker, or Greg Raymer — have won a second bracelet. Times have certainly changed since the 1990s and earlier, when the Main Event champions were often multiple bracelet winners.

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