The brand-spanking-new World Series of Poker Pennsylvania online poker room had only just launched last week when the WSOP shared some big news. Like players on WSOP sites in other states, those in Pennsylvania will be able to play for WSOP gold bracelets as well…and very soon.

The first ever WSOP Online Bracelet series in PA will take place August 6-16 on WSOP PA during which eight WSOP gold bracelets will be awarded.

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WSOP PA bracelet series schedule

The series begins and ends with two multi-flight tournaments. The initial “kick-off” event has a $500 buy-in and three starting flights on Aug. 6-8, with the final day Aug. 9. The series concludes with the $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Pennsylvania Championship for which there will be three starting flights Aug. 13-15 with the finale Aug. 16.

Each of the eight tournaments are no-limit hold’em, including two that will employ the progressive knockout bounty format. Buy-ins range from a couple of $400 tournaments up to a $3,200 high roller event.

PA WSOP Online Bracelet series schedule

No.DateTime (ET)EventBuy-in
1Aug. 6-9 (Th-Su)5:30 p.m.No-Limit Hold'em Keystone Kick Off$500
2Aug. 9 (M)5:30 p.m.No-Limit Hold'em PKO$500
3Aug. 10 (Tu)5:30 p.m.No-Limit Hold'em High Roller$3,200
4Aug. 11 (W)5:30 p.m.No-Limit Hold'em 6-Max$400
5Aug. 12 (Th)5:30 p.m.No-Limit Hold'em Lucky 7's$777
6Aug. 13 (F)5:30 p.m.No-Limit Hold'em PKO$400
7Aug. 14 (Sa)5:30 p.m.No-Limit Hold'em Monster Stack$600
8Aug. 13-16 (Th-Su)5:30 p.m.No-Limit Hold'em PA Championship$1,000

WSOP PA already has the events listed in the client and open for registration. There are currently $10 satellites running for those first two $500 buy-in events. More satellites will likely appear for all of the other events once the series draws nearer.

The quick announcement of a bracelet series starting less than a month after WSOP PA’s launch might have surprised some. Many expect a WSOP Online Circuit series awarding WSOP Circuit rings to take place on the site thanks to earlier hints regarding from the WSOP. That may happen sooner than later, which if it follows other similar series, will be a 12- or 18-tournament series.

Pennsylvania bracelets help push overall WSOP total to record high

The bracelet series on WSOP PA arrives as sort of a supplement to the currently in-progress WSOP Online Bracelet series running on the WSOP Nevada and WSOP New Jersey sites. That series runs from July 1-August 1 and features 33 events.

Thanks to a multi-state agreement, WSOP NV and WSOP NJ share a player pool for their bracelet events. By contrast, the new WSOP PA site is a ring-fenced site. Only players physically located in the state of Pennsylvania can play real money games on the site. That will likely mean smaller tournament fields for the series on WSOP PA. However it could also increase players’ chances to win a WSOP bracelet.

A second half to the WSOP Online Bracelet series will run on the international GGPoker site from August 1-September 12 during which another 33 bracelets will be awarded. Although available in dozens of countries around the world, GGPoker is not open to US players.

Meanwhile, the traditional in-person WSOP series will happen at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas this fall. A total of 88 bracelet events will play out from September 30-November 22, including the $10,000 WSOP Main Event.

That adds up to 162 bracelets awarded by the WSOP in the US during 2021. Still more will be won at WSOP Europe at the King’s Resort in Rozvadov, Czech Republic in November and December. As of now, that series schedule features 15 more bracelet events.

Bracelets carry prestige, fifty years of tradition

Barring any schedule changes, poker players will win more WSOP bracelets this year than in any of the previous years of the World Series of Poker.

The series first began in 1970 as a small, intimate gathering of gamblers who came together at Binion’s Horseshoe in downtown Las Vegas. In fact, tournaments weren’t even introduced until the second year, and bracelets only became the standard winner’s “trophy” a few years after that. In 1974, WSOP Main Event champion Brian “Sailor” Roberts was given a gold bracelet for his victory, and starting in 1975 bracelets were given to winners of all tournaments, including the preliminary events.

Even so, for many years the WSOP only featured a modest number of bracelet events. In 1977 the total reached double-digits for the first time with 13 bracelets awarded. It took until 1992 for the total to reach 20. In 2004, the first year events began to take place at the Rio, players won 33 bracelets.

The “poker boom” of the mid-2000s increased the WSOP’s profile significantly. More players took part, and thus the schedule continued expanding. The WSOP first added online bracelet events in 2015, helping the overall total grow even more. Players won more than 100 bracelets both in Las Vegas and at WSOP Europe in 2019, the first year the figure reached triple-digits.

Phil Hellmuth currently tops the all-time list with 15 bracelets, well ahead of nearest challengers Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, and Phil Ivey who each have 10.

Despite the explosion in the number of bracelets, they still carry a great deal of prestige among poker players. Winning one of the first at WSOP PA will no doubt provide some memorable early highlights for PA players.

Lead photo John Locher/AP