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Poker Players Who Have Defended Their WSOP Bracelet

WSOP Gold Bracelet

Dan "Jungleman" Cates made World Series of Poker history in the wee hours of the morning after achieving back-to-back wins in one of poker's most prestigious events, the $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship (PPC) for $1,449,103.

Cates is the first player ever to pull off the feat and his accomplishment will no doubt stand the test of time. It's hard to win one WSOP event, let alone defending your title the following year. However, it isn't impossible, as a select few players have been able to do just that, with Cates being the latest inductee into the club.

So, PokerNews has looked at some of the elite players who have defended their WSOP bracelets. An honourable mention goes to Bill Boyd who won the $10,000 No-Limit Five Card Stud three years in a row from 1972 to 1974. However, in 1973 he was the only entrant, so for this reason, he didn't make our official list.

Adam Friedman

Adam Friedman

Adam Friedman pulled off an unmatched milestone at the 2021 WSOP by winning the $10,000 Dealers Choice 6-Handed Championship for a third straight year, while simultaneously denying Phil Hellmuth his 17th WSOP bracelet.

Friedman beat the 'Poker Brat' at heads-up play to be the last player standing from an initial 93 entries. His trio of triumphs netted him $854,042 which is a very nice return from his $30,000 in entry fees.

Unfortunately, the three-peater could not make four years in a row this time around, and surprisingly busted on Day 1 of the tournament. Ben Diebold took the crown at this year's series after he despatched Mike Gorodinsky following a marathon of a heads-up duel.

The 2022 WSOP hasn't been all bad for Friedman though, he picked up his fifth WSOP bracelet and another championship win after taking down Event #22: $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship for $248,254

Adam Friedman

YearEventEntriesWinnerPrize
2018$10,000 Dealers Choice 6-Handed Championship111Adam Friedman$293,275
2019$10,000 Dealers Choice 6-Handed Championship122Adam Friedman$312,417
2021$10,000 Dealers Choice 6-Handed Championship93Adam Friedman$248,350

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Johnny Moss, Doyle Brunson, Stu Ungar & Johnny Chan

Main Event Winners

Remarkably, four players have won consecutive WSOP Main Event's however the achievement hasn't been repeated since 1988. In the quartet are Johnny Moss (1970, 1971), Doyle Brunson (1976, 1977), Stu Ungar (1980, 1981) and Johnny Chan (1987, 1988).

Johnny Moss won the inaugural WSOP Main Event, however, the series was a far cry away from what it is today. For the first WSOP, seven poker pros played battled in the cash game streets and then voted on a champion. Amusingly, each player voted for themselves so WSOP founder Benny Binnion asked them to vote for the second-best player and from that, Moss was chosen.

There was no cash prize in 1970 but Moss took home a silver cup as a trophy as bracelets had not been incorporated.

In 1971, the Main Event featured it's first buy-in and cash prize. Six players paid the $5,000 entry fee (>$30,000 in 2022) and Moss was the last player standing to become the first two-time WSOP Main Event champion.

Brunson, Ungar and Chan were the next players to win back-to-back Main Events, with Chan securing the biggest first-place payday ($700,000).

YearEventEntriesWinnerPrize
1970WSOP Main Event7Johnny Moss-
1971$5,000 WSOP Main Event6Johnny Moss$30,000
     
1976$10,000 WSOP Main Event22Doyle Brunson$220,000
1977$10,000 WSOP Main Event34Doyle Brunson$340,000
     
1980$10,000 WSOP Main Event73Stu Ungar$385,000
1981$10,000 WSOP Main Event75Stu Ungar$375,000
     
1987$10,000 WSOP Main Event152Johnny Chan$625,000
1988$10,000 WSOP Main Event167Johnny Chan$700,000

Phil Hellmuth

Phil Hellmuth

No WSOP list could be complete without mentioning Hellmuth and the all-time leading bracelet winner is a part of the exclusive list of players who have been able to defend their bracelet.

In 1992, Hellmuth topped an 88-entry field in the $5,000 Limit Hold'em event for his second WSOP bracelet and did the same the following year for his fifth.

YearEventEntriesWinnerPrize
1992$5,000 Limit Hold'em88Phil Hellmuth$188,000
1993$5,000 Limit Hold'em63Phil Hellmuth$138,000

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James Moore

James Moore

James Moore is another player who has successfully retained their crown. Moore bested the $1,000 Super Seniors field in 2016 and 2017, collecting nearly $500,000.

Moore nearly picked up his third WSOP bracelet in 2020, but this time it was on the virtual felt. He finished as the runner-up in the 2020 WSOP Online Senior's event, which was won by Jonathan Lessin.

YEAREVENTENTRIESWINNERPRIZE
2016$1,000 Super Seniors1,476James Moore$230,626
2017$1,000 Super Seniors1,720James Moore$259,230

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Gary 'Bones' Berland

Gary 'Bones' Berland is the only player to win the same event twice on two occasions. In 1977 and 1978, he was the winner of the series' Razz events. The buy-in was upped to $1,000 for '78 after originally being a $500 entry fee.

Berland also won another bracelet in 1978, finishing first in the $500 Limit Seven Card Stud tournament. He went back-to-back for a second time in 1979 to claim his largest payout of $24,000 and fourth WSOP bracelet.

YearEventEntriesWinnerPrize
1977$500 Limit Razz21Gary 'Bones' Berland$6,300
1978$1,000 Limit Razz32Gary 'Bones' Berland$19,200
     
1978$500 Limit Seven Card Stud57Gary 'Bones' Berland$17,100
1979$500 Limit Seven Card Stud80Gary 'Bones' Berland$24,000

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Lakewood Louie

Last on the list is Lakewood Louie. He cashed in four WSOP tournaments and went on to win all four events. He picked up two bracelets in Limit Draw High events and also won one in WSOP Razz and Ace to Five Draw tournaments.

Interestingly, he was also (allegedly) the first-ever person to table a Royal Flush at the WSOP and did so in the 1979 Main Event.

YearEventEntriesWinnerPrize
1978$5,000 Limit Draw High7Lakewood Louie$21,000
1979$2,000 Limit Draw High19Lakewood Louie$24,000
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  • Dan "Jungleman" Cates is the latest poker player to pull off the historic feat.

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Editor & Live Reporter

Calum has been a part of the PokerNews team since September 2021 after working in the UK energy sector. He played his first hand of poker in 2017 and immediately fell in love with the game. Calum's proudest poker achievement is winning the only tournament he has ever played in Las Vegas, the prestigious $60 Flamingo evening event.

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