Chris Hunichen Turning Up the Volume in Pursuit of WSOP Bracelet

Chris Hunichen is considered by many of his peers to be one of the best No Limit Hold’em tournament players in the world. That might explain why he had trouble getting a bracelet bet down for the 2023 WSOP.

Lance Bradley
May 30, 2023
Chris Hunichen is ready to put in more volume at the WSOP this year in pursuit of his first bracelet.

Chris Hunichen just wanted a little bit of extra motivation. He wanted to find a way to increase the sweat associated with playing the World Series of Poker. So the former #1-ranked online poker player in the world took to Twitter looking to bet on himself to win a WSOP bracelet this summer. 

Only problem was, nobody was willing to bite at that price. Seems like a player with nearly $5,000,000 in lifetime WSOP earnings might not be that big of an underdog. He pleaded with a few people, some even going out of their way to show Hunichen why his math was off. He eventually did get some “actionnnnn” at a much lower number.

“I got one bet down at 12-1. It was just small, and I was like, ‘well at least it’s something before I go play, a little bit of extra motivation’,” Hunichen said. 

The 39-year-old doesn’t have a WSOP bracelet to his credit but hasn’t really been putting in the volume that some of the best players in the world have. Even with his limited play, he has managed to make some deep runs.

“I’ve played maybe 6-10 events each year. Last year I got third in the $250K … I have two seconds, a third, maybe like four or five more top sixes without a bracelet,” Hunichen said while on a break during his first event, the $25,000 Six Max NLHE.

His runner-up finishes both came in big spots. The first was in a $5,000 No Limit Hold’em in 2017 where he lost to Nadar Kakhmazov. The second came online during the 2020 pandemic where he was bested only by Christian Rudolph in the $25,000 NLHE Poker Players Championship. 

Despite making the bracelet bet on Tuesday morning, just a few hours before the WSOP began, Hunichen admits he had plans to play a lot more this summer a while back and started putting in the work to prepare for the grind.

“I don’t know, felt like this was the summer that I wanted to pump the volume back up,” Hunichen said.  “Started studying a lot more this year, doing a lot of review sessions with some of my friends, some horses.”

Mixed games aren’t really in Hunichen’s repertoire, so he’s going to be focused almost entirely on the No Limit Hold’em events with a buy-in of $3,000 or more. The landmines that are big-field, lower buy-in NLHE events can be a little tricky to navigate.

“I’ll probably play that $1K mystery bounty, just because that’s a fun one. Other than that, I don’t see me really playing $1,500s, that’s just getting a little too tough,” Hunichen said.

On Monday night, Hunichen was one of 160 players drafted in Daniel Negreanu’s $25K WSOP Fantasy Draft. He went for $1 to Dan Zack after Zack did a little bit of recon.

“(Zack) had actually reached out to me two weeks ago and asked for my schedule,” Hunichen said. “Even if you play just a handful of tournaments, if you’re playing all the high rollers with small fields there’s definitely some value there (for Zack).”

There is one thing that will keep Hunichen from playing WSOP events though. Hunichen is a big Ultimate Fighting Championship fan and he has tickets to four UFC Fight Night cards during the WSOP plus UFC 290 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on July 8. Hunichen might be okay with missing that one however as it coincides with Day 3 of the WSOP Main Event.

“It’s worth skipping UFC – I can probably just sell those tickets or whatever,” Hunichen said.