Awards in the poker world can range from plaques to large trophies to even the head of an alligator (the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Circuit’s Bayou Poker Classic trophy is the stuffed head of such an animal). One of the most cherished mementos of victory in poker is, of course, the WSOP bracelet that is awarded to each winner of an event in Las Vegas. For one of the most prized trophies in poker to appear for sale is almost unheard of.
This apparently is occurring at this moment and the former owner of the bracelet is none other than longtime poker veteran T.J. Cloutier. For sale on eBay, the popular online auction site, is a WSOP Bracelet won by Cloutier. The information on the site states that the bracelet is the last one that was won by the Texas road gambler in 2005. Information from the WSOP site shows that Cloutier won the last of his six bracelets in 2005 in the $5000 No Limit Hold’em event, where he defeated a final table that included Todd Brunson, John “World” Hennigan and the late John Bonetti to capture the championship.
On sale by the Plano Pawn Shop (which is approximately ten miles from T.J.’s hometown of Richardson, Texas), the auction on eBay has about two days left in the bidding. Asking for a minimum bid of $2999, the 2005 WSOP bracelet has yet to garner any interest from potential buyers. Perhaps anyone interested in the bracelet is wary of its authenticity (the Plano Pawn Shop has stated that the bracelet will come with a certificate of authenticity to prove it is real), but eBay sales are also notorious for not getting any action until the sale is almost over.
According to other details included in the sale information for the WSOP bracelet, the Plano Pawn Shop also has another championship bracelet from Cloutier. This has been confirmed by Poker News Daily as the bracelet from Cloutier’s last major poker championship, the 2007 Scotty Nguyen Poker Challenge IV, and the Plano Pawn Shop’s minimum bid for that bracelet is $2,499. Both of the items are not only for sale on eBay but are also being offered in the Plano Pawn Shop and can be viewed by appointment only.
The actual cash value of a WSOP bracelet is surprisingly easy to determine. From information provided by the Plano Pawn Shop about the Cloutier bracelet, Poker News Daily has determined an approximate value for such an item. With its 96 grams (3.38 ounces) of 14 karat gold (which is 58% gold, with 24K being solid gold) and 0.25 carats in diamonds, the cash value of the 2005 bracelet is roughly $2,350. The inherent value in a WSOP bracelet, of which only about 500 have been awarded, is priceless.
As far as what Cloutier may have received for the WSOP bracelet, an examination of the pawnshop industry would be necessary. When a pawnshop buys a piece of merchandise, it usually will pay anywhere from 30% to 50% of the actual value of an item to ensure that they get a significant return on their investment. With the Plano Pawn Shop putting a price tag of $2,999 on Cloutier’s 2005 WSOP bracelet, it can be logically assumed that the poker pro sold the bracelet for somewhere between $1,000 and $1,500.
The sale of the bracelet has the forums burning with questions about the bracelet and Cloutier’s current financial status. On TwoPlusTwo, players are assuming that Cloutier has gone broke and needs the finances to continue playing poker (at this time, Cloutier has no sponsorship deal) or, some posters imply, to take to the craps tables. Many, however, are lamenting that Cloutier would part with one of his six WSOP bracelets. Poster “Dan_Vincent” writes in his post, “That’s sad. You know he didn’t get anything close to $2K for this.”
Others, perhaps cruelly, are making jokes about the issue. Citing one of the currently popular reality television shows, poster “Tom Bayes” says, “TJ should have gone on ‘Pawn Stars.’ Then Corey and Chumlee could have drooled on the bracelet, Rick could call up one of his numerous ‘buddies’ to give an ‘expert’ appraisal and then lowball the hell out of TJ, and then the ‘Old Man’ could tell us how ‘real’ poker was played ‘back in the day.’”
For whatever reason, Cloutier felt as though these two bracelets were items that he could live without. With slightly more than 48 hours left in the two auctions, it remains to be seen how many bids Cloutier’s bracelets will get or if they will even be sold through the eBay auctions at all.