7 Players Without WSOP Bracelets Who Could End the Curse This Summer

Poker

Over the years, several big-name players have been labeled ‘the best never to win a WSOP bracelet’. But who really is the biggest name never to claim gold in Las Vegas or even around the world at the WSOP?

We’ve found seven huge names in land-based and online poker who are yet to claim their first win — and who might be desperate to win a bracelet this summer in Las Vegas.

1. Dan Smith

Known as ‘The Cowboy’, Dan Smith’s reputation could hardly be higher in the poker industry. One of the biggest winners of all-time, he currently sits in 7th place on the all-time money list for live poker tournaments and founded the charity Double Up Drive, which has given millions to those most in need for many years.

Despite his incredible career, however, Smith has never won a bracelet. With over $38 million in career earnings, a whopping 26.3% of his live winnings have been at the WSOP felt. Having cashed 50 times in World Series events, could this year be Smith’s year to turn it around?

  • Verdict: Success at last as The Cowboy rides high in a High Roller event.

2 Steve O’Dwyer

The Irish-American poker legend Steve O’Dwyer is surely only a few years away from a place in the Poker Hall of Fame, having earned over $31 million in the game at the live felt. With a recent Irish Open win confirming just how much he loves the live game at any level, O’Dwyer is virtually unbeatable on his day and with the right cards.

Somehow, however, he has never won a bracelet. Oddly, with O’Dwyer, there may be a decent reason for that anomaly, with the frequency of him playing WSOP events considerably lower than others. In all, O’Dwyer has cashed only 19 times, winning $711,592 at the WSOP tournament tables. That’s not inconsiderable, but it represents a fraction of his live winnings, and he may decide to play fewer events than others this summer too.

  • Verdict: Has the skills, but doubts remain over the volume of events he’ll play.

3. Isaac Haxton

Isaac ‘Action’ Haxton is one of the best players in the world, but after all his many victories and over $27 million in tournament earnings, Haxton has never won a fabled gold bracelet. Haxton is known as a cash game player as much as he is anything in poker, but still. His World Series of Poker earnings total over 10% of his career winnings, with Haxton cashing an impressive 32 times.

Haxton will no doubt have the opportunity to end his drought this summer, but no longer with a poker brand, will he take it? He may be known as one of the best players in the world, but given his career longevity, should Haxton have already won a bracelet?

  • Verdict: Likely to be tempted more by the juicy cash games in town.

4. Sam Trickett

Often overlooked, the British player Sam Trickett has one of the best records of anyone at the WSOP, and has won the most money on our list. Trickett won the vast bulk of his $11.7 million winnings in the 2012 WSOP Big One for One Drop, where was edged out for the title and $18.3 million top prize by Antonio Esfandiari. Trickett came so close not only to the money on that day, but also his first bracelet.

Since that defeat a decade ago, Trickett hasn’t been able to break his duck, but it’s worth remembering that his One Drop heads-up defeat was not his only near-miss. Trickett has finished as a runner-up not once or twice, but three times in WSOP events. Losing out to Jason DeWitt in 2010 in a $5,000-entry WSOP event, Trickett also came second in 2019 in Rozvadov as Kahle Burns beat him to the bracelet. Three years on, could ‘Tricky’ come out of his self-titled semi-retirement to claim the gold his play over the years has deserved?

  • Verdict: If he plays, he has every chance, but Ibiza may appeal more.

5. Alex Foxen

If there anyone in better form than Foxen in the race to win their maiden WSOP bracelet, we’re yet to discover them. Foxen’s closest call in WSOP events came in $1,000-entry event five long years ago, as Israeli player Shai Zurr claimed victory at Foxen’s expense. Foxen hasn’t got closer than that since, but in the past five years, has improved his standing on the all-time money list to a huge degree.

Foxen’s record in high rollers over the past year alone separate him from many fields as the dominant force, especially in no limit hold’em events. He has to be the favorite of our seven to improve on his $1 million in WSOP earnings, and having cashed 61 times to earn that score, will be looking to improve his batting average considerably when the cards are in the air.

  • Verdict: Foxen claims gold at last, in one of the biggest-hitting events.

6. Shannon Shorr

Shannon Shorr has cashed more times than anyone else on our list, with an amazing 146 cashes failing to yield a single bracelet. For anyone, that record of cashing without winning outright would be incredible, but for a player of Shorr’s vast talent, it is almost unbelievable.

Shorr sits 82nd on the all-time money list, with over $10.1 million in live career earnings. Of that numbers, over 25% of those winnings have come at the World Series, so he clearly loves the festival, he just needs to grab that win. Overall, Shorr has finished second twice, third twice, fourth once and fifth an astonishing four times in a series of final table appearances that have failed to take gold.

  • Verdict: Shorr comes close… yet again!

7. Maria Ho

It’s impossible not to root for Maria Ho to succeed at the 2022 WSOP. With eight rankings titles in her career, the Taiwan-born American is one of the best female poker players, if not one of the best, period. She has several deep runs in the WSOP Main Event and could well star in the big one, but can she win gold? The closest Ho has come to winning gold was actually over a decade ago as she finished runner-up to Allen Bari in the $5,000-entry event for a result that earned her over half a million dollars.

Six years ago, Ho came fourth in the $3,000-entry Shootout and has finished fifth in WSOP events twice in the past three years. With 13 of her last 17 cashes being in World Series of Poker events, Ho must be among the favorites to finally win the trophy that she craves more than any other.

  • Verdict: We’re calling another winner!

The Seven Best Players Never to Win a WSOP Bracelet  

Player All-Time Rank Career Earnings WSOP Earnings WSOP Cashes
Dan Smith 7th $38,231,025 $10,123,958 50
Steve O’Dwyer 14th $31,281,125 $711,592 19
Isaac Haxton 18th $27,670,939 $2,996,040 32
Sam Trickett 28th $21,782,557 $11,749,685 19
Alex Foxen 29th $21,720,149 $1,025,507 61
Shannon Shorr 82nd $10,114,942 $2,578,944 146
Maria Ho 359th $4,246,404 $1,796,869 71
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