Dan Marino. Charles Barkley. Barry Bonds. All of these famous athletes, despite their gaudy stats, MVP awards, and multi-million dollar advertising deals, are best known for one thing: NOT winning a championship. In the world of professional sports, this is how people are judged and measured. This also holds true in the world of professional poker. No matter how many millions of dollars a player wins in the game of poker, there’s one thing that their money can’t buy: a World Series of Poker bracelet.
We’ve compiled a list of the best players never win to win a WSOP bracelet. Most of the names below will surprise you. Between them, they have over $40 million in career live winnings and over 100 cashes in World Series of Poker events.
9. Mike “Timex” McDonald
Despite nearly $10M in career live winnings, as well as a pair of Aussie Millions titles and an EPT title, “Timex” has been unable to finish higher than 6th in any WSOP event. At 25 years-old, the Waterloo, Ontario native has only been allowed to compete in WSOP events for the past four years, so expect him to improve upon his two final table finishes and nine cashes in the future.
8. Tom McCormick
“The Shamrock Kid” may not be a household name, but the 30-year veteran has an incredible 48 career WSOP cashes without a bracelet. He has nearly $2 million in career live earnings, but only $619k of that has come from the World Series of Poker. With his best years behind him, the odds of capping off his career with a bracelet are not in his favor.
7. Marcel Luske
During the early years of ESPN’s coverage of the WSOP, the “Flying Dutchman” was a Main Event mainstay. Wearing upside-down sunglasses and an array of colorful suits, Luske finished 14th in 2003 and 10th in 2004. With 30 WSOP cashes and two “European Player of the Year” awards under his belt, Luske is always a danger to make a final table, but the closest he has come to winning a bracelet was in 2006 when he finished 2nd at the $5,000 Seven Card Stud World Championship.
6. Mark Newhouse
Mark Newhouse made history this year by becoming the first player in poker history to make back-to-back November Nines. The odds of this happening were 524,558-1. To truly show you how difficult that feat is in today’s poker world, know this: When Dan Harrington had back-to-back WSOP Main Event final table finishes in 2003 and 2004, the odds were 26,312-1. With 8 cashes and $906k in career WSOP winnings, Mark is hoping for a better finish in this year’s Main Event than his 9th place finish last year.
5. Sam Trickett
With nearly $20 million in live winnings, including a $10 million runner-up finish to Antonio Esfandiari in the inaugural $1M Big One for One Drop, Sam Trickett’s bankroll isn’t hurting, but he does have the dubious distinction of being the biggest career money winner without a WSOP bracelet. Sitting 6th on the all-time money list, the 28 year-old has 14 cashes to his name.
4. Viktor “Isildur1” Blom
It might be a stretch to call Viktor Blom the best poker player in the world, but he is definitely one of the most famous and fearless. Rising to fame at the end of the last decade, the player known as “Isildur1” took on—and beat—the best cash game players Full Tilt had to offer, including Tom Dwan, Phil Ivey, and Ilari “Ziigmund” Sahamies. Although his meteoric rise would end with an equally incredible collapse, the FullTilt pro still regularly competes in the biggest online cash games. Despite only three WSOP cashes for a total of $160k, odds are good that the 23 year-old savant will win a bracelet in the upcoming years.
3. Tony Cousineau
Tony Cousineau sits tied for 6th place all-time with a whopping 68 cashes in WSOP events and currently holds the record for most WSOP cashes without a bracelet. While his best result was a 4th place finish in 1999, Cousineau is still plugging away—he had nine cashes in this year’s World Series of Poker.
2. Patrik Antonius
Antonius may be the second most successful online player in the history of poker (trailing only Phil Ivey), but it hasn’t translated into big results in the World Series of Poker. The former childhood tennis star/model has 14 WSOP cashes, but only $900k of his career $5.7M live winnings have come from the WSOP. Something tells us that if he really focused on his live results, a WSOP bracelet win would come sooner rather than later, but he doesn’t seem to be overly concerned.
1. Tom “durrrr” Dwan
Known throughout the poker world as “durrrr,” the 28-year-old New Jersey native is widely hailed as one of the greatest, and most fearless, online cash game players in the world. While his best result is a runner-up finish at a 2010 $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event, don’t expect it to stay that way. Known for taking lucrative bracelet bets against the rest of the field, we fully expect “durrrr” to be in the winner’s circle soon.