Heading into every WSOP there is always discussion of who are the best players who have never won a bracelet. And naturally that leads to the question of which of those players will remove their name from that list in the upcoming summer.
That question has an early answer in 2023 as Isaac Haxton removed his name from the somewhat dreaded “best players to never win a bracelet” category by conquering Event #16: $25,000 High Roller No Limit Hold’em 8-Handed for his first bracelet and the grand prize of almost $1.7 million.
He entered the final day of the high roller 264 player field right in the middle in chips of the remaining thirteen players. Fortune went his way early as he doubled up to take the chip lead and set himself up for a run at the bracelet. Haxton would then come out on top after an intense up and down three-handed battle with Darren Elias and Kevin O’Donnell.
Haxton adds this prestigious bracelet to his extensive resume that includes over $37 million in career earnings which includes a red hot 2023 where he has already had two seven-figure victories prior tho this win. That ability to close out the win in tournaments this year was likely a factor in being able to close the deal in this event as well as he discussed with our Tiffany Michelle afterwards:
Haxton has been highly regarded and often thought of as one of the best players in poker for over a decade but never found himself on the right end of a WSOP final table before last night. There have been quite a few near misses in Haxton’s career where he could almost feel the wrap of the bracelet around his wrist.
In 2009 Haxton was at the final table of a special 40th year WSOP anniversary $40,000 buy in event, a table that included the likes of Justin Bonomo, Greg Raymer and Lex Veldhuis. Haxton would make it all the way to heads up in that event to battle for the bracelet and nearly $1.9 million where he held a 2:1 chip lead at the starts of heads up play. But his opponent, Vitaly Lunkin, was able to chip away at that chip lead, including making a key huge river bet that Haxton folded to. Lunkin eventually came out on top to steal the bracelet away from Haxton.
Always a player who tests his meddle at the highest levels of the game, His two other closest brushes with the bracelet came in $50,000 buy in events with third place finish in the 2017 $50,000 Poker Players Championship and a fourth place result in the 2018 $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller as well as three other final table appearances throughout the years.
Is Haxton’s win a harbinger of things to come for other great players who want to break their lack of WSOP bracelet hoodoo? Players such as Maria Ho, Seth Davies and Roland Israelashvili amongst others will be looking to do just that throughout the summer.