We've known for some time that there was a new WSOP bracelet in the works, we even got an invitation to go tour the factory where it's been produced, but for the first time we've got some real evidence of what it's going to look like.
The photo above is an unfinished version of the new hardware. It's tough to please everyone but so far the feedback hasn't been positive.
They enlisted the design expertise of Steve Soffa, a watch and jewelry maker who has a shop inside the Rio Hotel and Casino.
In our opinion there's a bit of a disconnect between the image that the WSOP is trying to cultivate and the uber-flashy Ed Hardy-esque look of Soffa's stuff. From the photo of the bracelet in progress it seems the new design doesn't take after Soffa's usual style, but rather follows a more simple, chunky look, which is definitely a good thing.
My first impressions aren't terrible. I like the simplistic feel to it and it looks like it's going to have some serious heft.
In the end I don't think people are going to care all that much. Winning a WSOP bracelet is hardly about the piece of wrist-candy you take home.
It's too bad, though, that the decision wasn't taken to move back to the original design. The old-school chain bracelet and simple flat face is pretty unanimously loved and it would do a lot in terms of lending that weight of history and tradition to the bracelet.
They should be looking to build on that tradition, rather than bringing in a new look every few years. The Corum bracelets of the last few years weren't exactly embraced by the players and by the sounds of it, this newest incarnation isn't going to fare any better.
We'll be in Las Vegas for the entire WSOP so keep an eye on our Live Updates and Full Coverage of the 2010 WSOP to see the finished product of these new bracelets.