Recent events have stirred the competitive landscape of the World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOP-C) rings. While the WSOP bracelet chase may have been dominated by one specific person (Phil Hellmuth), the race for the WSOP-C Rings is heating up, especially with the rise of Ari Engel.

Engel’s Impressive Victory Streak

Ari Engel recently clinched back-to-back victories at Graton Casino, tying the record held by Maurice Hawkins with 15 WSOP-C titles. Within just a week at Graton, Northern California, Engel bagged both the 14th and 15th rings of his career. His victories, which came in the $400 H.O.R.S.E event and the Pot Limit Big O event, not only increased his title count but also won him close to $9,000. Engel’s first WSOP-C ring was won back in 2007, and his expertise spans across various formats including No Limit, Heads Up, PLO, H.O.R.S.E, and Omaha Hi/Lo. He has also done well in Mystery Bounty, and find success both live and online. This year alone, Engel has been adorned with four such rings.

The Significance of the WSOP-C Ring

Many see the WSOP-C Ring as a stepping stone to the more prestigious WSOP bracelets. Interestingly, while bracelets might be more renowned, there are more rings available, and they come with a lower entry fee. The real allure, however, is the seat at the Tournament of Champions at the WSOP, which each ring guarantees. Over time, this has made the competition for the WSOP-C rings even fiercer, with players like Daniel Lowery, Joshua Reichard, and Valentin Vornicu, all possessing more than ten WSOP-C titles.

Engel and Hawkins: A Rivalry Beyond the Felt

As Engel ties with Hawkins at the pinnacle of the all-time WSOP-C ring list, it’s essential to note the contrasting reputations of the two. Engel is revered in the poker community for his professionalism and achievements. On the other hand, Hawkins, despite his evident skill, has faced criticism and accusations, particularly related to alleged non-payment to backers. While fans might pit them against each other, it’s crucial to realize that their rivalry is mostly perceived and isn’t personal. Their individual paths to WSOP-C glory have largely been separate, often taking place in different states.

Financial Gains from Engel’s Victories

Engel’s journey over the last 16 years has been lucrative and awe-inspiring. In 2007, he made a significant mark by winning a $300-entry WSOP event in Atlantic City, pocketing a top prize of $63,018 – his largest from the WSOP Circuit to date. Beyond the circuit, Engel has two WSOP bracelets to his name, one from 2019 and another from a year earlier, with top prizes significantly exceeding his WSOP-C wins. In totality, from his 15 WSOP-C victories, he’s transformed buy-ins amounting to $8,000 into an impressive sum of $325,000 in top prizes.

Looking Ahead

With both Engel and Hawkins sitting at 15 WSOP-C titles, the poker community eagerly anticipates who will take the outright lead. Engel might be eyeing a record-breaking 16th ring or perhaps another bracelet from the upcoming online series or the WSOP Paradise festival in December. Regardless of what the future holds, one thing is certain: Engel’s accomplishments in the world of poker are nothing short of remarkable.


Ari Engel15
Maurice Hawkins15
Josh Reichard14
Daniel Lowery14
Valentin Vornicu12
Jeffrey Trudeau Jr.10
Robert Hankins10
Martin Ryan10
David Larson10

World Series of Poker Circuit Overview

The World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOP Circuit) started in 2005, acting as a collection of poker tournaments in various casinos leading up to the grand World Series of Poker. These tournaments predominantly involve No Limit Texas Hold’em, although preliminary events might incorporate other poker variants.

The WSOP Circuit’s scope expanded internationally in 2015, introducing the WSOP International Circuit. The initial rounds of this new addition were held all over the world, spanning Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Africa. By the 2017-18 season, the number of tournaments in the International Circuit had grown to 13.

WSOP Circuit National Championship Changes

In the 2010–11 season, the WSOP Circuit National Championship was introduced as a private event exclusive to participants from different circuit events. Victory in this championship meant clinching a coveted World Series of Poker bracelet. However, the 2011–12 season saw shifts in the qualification procedure. Now, 100 players gain automatic entry into the WSOP Circuit National Championship. This includes all Circuit main event winners and the highest point earners from each circuit stop. Additionally, players ranked in the top 100 of the “WSOP World Rankings” can also participate. While Circuit qualifiers can join the National Championship without any fees, those qualifying through the WSOP World Rankings must submit a $10,000 buy-in.

About WSOP Rings

The WSOP Circuit was initiated in 2005 as a lead-up to the main World Series event in Las Vegas. Winners of each tournament within this circuit are awarded a gold ring. From its inception, which had only five events, to 2022 when the circuit had extended to 25 stops domestically and included nine international events.

Creation and Design of WSOP Rings

Jostens has been crafting the WSOP Circuit rings since 2019. Although these rings don’t rival the flamboyance of the WSOP bracelets in design, they still hold significant value. In 2009, a Circuit ring garnered $1,075 in an online sale. These rings, authentic and genuine, are made of real gold. Their worth isn’t merely their material value but the esteem they command in the poker community.

Composition of Poker Bracelets and Rings

Both WSOP rings and bracelets are crafted with real gold, often embellished with diamonds or other precious gems, enhancing their value. Over time, design shifts have occurred due to changes in manufacturers or unique collaborations.