Is This the Year Doyle Brunson Catches Phil Hellmuth in WSOP Bracelet Chase?

Written by:
Thomas Somach
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Poker legend Doyle "Texas Dolly" Brunson gets another chance to become the leader in World Series of Poker (WSOP) championship gold bracelets won in a career when the 42nd annual WSOP gets underway Tuesday in Las Vegas.

Brunson has won 10 WSOP bracelets in his storied career, including two for winning the WSOP Main Event, in 1976 and 1977.

That puts the wiley Texan just one behind loudmouth Phil "Poker Brat" Hellmuth Jr., the all-time career leader with 11 WSOP bracelets won, which includes one WSOP Main Event victory in 1989.

Johnny "The Orient Express" Chan has also won 10 career bracelets, including two for the WSOP Main Event in 1987 and 1988, so he's officially tied with Brunson for second place on the list.

Brunson, who is 77 years young, has said he intends to play poker until he's 85, which gives him eight more years to catch Hellmuth for first place, or somewhere around the year 2019.

If Brunson and Hellmuth were racehorses, one would check the racing form to see who's been hot of late.

Applying the same logic to poker and checking the database, one learns that Brunson won his last WSOP bracelet in 2005, while Hellmuth last snagged one in 2007.

Chan's last one was also in 2007, so the top three on the list have all been relatively cold of late when it comes to winning bracelets.

Next on the list with nine career WSOP bracelets is Johnny Moss, who won the Main Event in 1970, 1971 and 1974.

He is followed by Phil "Poison" Ivey and Erik Seidel, who have each won eight career WSOP bracelets.

Billy Baxter and Men "The Master" Nguyen are next on the list with seven bracelets apiece.

T.J. Cloutier, Layne Flack and Jay Heimowitz have each won six.

Eight poker players have each won five WSOP bracelets: Stu "The Kid" Ungar, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, Gary "Bones" Berland, Allen Cunningham,  Ted Forrest, Berry Johnston, Jeff Lisandro and Scotty Nguyen (Ungar won two Main Events and Nguyen, Johnston and Ferguson each won one).

Thirteen poker players have each won four bracelets, while 23 players have won three.

Dozens of players have won two and even more have won one.

But the big question this coming WSOP is: Can Doyle finally catch Phil?

In many people's minds, Doyle already has.

That's because all of Hellmuth's WSOP bracelets have come in one discipline: no-limit Texas hold 'em.

He's never won a bracelet playing any other kind of poker.

Brunson, on the other hand, has won WSOP bracelets in five disciplines: razz, stud, lowball, H.O.R.S.E. and no-limit Texas hold 'em.

Hellmuth is a one-trick pony.

Brunson is a jack-of-all-trades.

Which one would you rather have?

By Tom Somach Staff Writer