The moniker “best poker player who’s never won a gold bracelet” is a bit unjust.
It implies there’s a small clique of players who somehow are more deserving of a World Series of Poker victory than others.  It also puts unnecessary pressure on the players who are thought of in this way.

Just ask the players of the very recent past who found themselves in this category before finally shedding the proverbial poker monkey in 2010 – Gavin Smith, Michael “the Grinder” Mizrachi, Frank Kassela, Chris Bell, and others.

But if the classification of great poker playing non-WSOP winners were to be applied, it would most certainly fit the $10,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. World Championship final table like a glove.
Rising above the supremely-talented group of bridesmaids was the venerable Fabrice Soulier, from France.  Perhaps more than anyone in the field, he's paid his dues at the poker table and away for the past decade.  During that span, he's experienced more than his share of close calls and disappointments.  Sure, the ride has been a one of a kind experience.  But at the end of every WSOP tournament he's entered since his debut in 2000, there's been sorrow and the lingering sense of unfulfilled destiny.
All that changed on Friday at 3:30 pm in front of a packed gallery of French supporters, rotting on their favorite poker player.  Soulier returned to the final table for what was an unscheduled fourth day of play.  All that stood in his way of victory was another tough, formidable foe, who was also seeking his breakthrough victory.  Indeed, Canadian poker pro Shawn Buchanan could very well have had many of the same things written and said about his poker background.  Both players fit the mold perfectly as poker pros who are well-respected by their peers.  Yet both remained bracelet-less -- at least until the final hand of the tournament when Soulier's two-pair scooped the last pot of the marathon during the Omaha High-Low Split round..
With his victory, Soulier became the third French WSOP winner this year.  The two previous champions were Bertrand Grospellier and Elie Payan.

The other final table players -- in addition to Soulier and Buchanan -- were also quite worthy of a victory based on their reputations and accomplishments.  This illustrious list included Andrey Zaichenko, Daniel Ospina, Tom Dwan, Matthew Ashton, Michael Binger, and Jacobo Fernandez -- who finished third through eight respectively.

As champion, Soulier received the coveted WSOP gold bracelet.  He also collected a whopping $609,130 in prize money.  Buchanan, the runner up collected $463,480 but remains bracelet-less -- at least until the next time when he shall inevitably use this experience as added motivation, making victory all the sweeter once achieved..

For the official report with more data and statistics, please return to WSOP.com later today.