World Series Of Poker

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is the world's largest and most popular series of poker tournaments. From its humble, yet hopeful, beginnings in 1970, the WSOP has grown into a premier sports event that has attracted poker fans and players from all over the world. Some of the most famous poker players are those that have played in the World Series of Poker. Throughout history, this series has continued to revolutionize poker tournaments and the sport of poker as a whole.

History of the World Series of Poker

The first World Series of Poker was held in 1970. It was on this year that around thirty gamblers came together at the hotel casino Binion's Horseshoe, in Las Vegas, Nevada. The invitational tournament was held to determine the first “world champion” in poker. Horseshoe owner, Benny Binion, is one of the men who helped organize the first WSOP. The idea of a grand poker tournament did not originally belong to Benny, though.

In 1969, Tom Moore and Vic Vickrey hosted a number of well-known poker players to Reno for the Texas Gamblers Reunion. The players played high-stakes poker together for several days. One of the players at the Texas Gamblers Reunion was Benny Binion. When Moore and Vickrey decided not to hold another reunion the next year, Binion took advantage of the opportunity to create the World Series of Poker.

Johnny Moss as the first World Series of Poker champion

The very first world champion was declared in 1970, at the Horseshoe, during the first World Series of Poker. Johnny Moss was voted by his competitors as the “best all-around player.” He went home that night as the World Champion of Poker and he had a silver trophy to prove it. While there was no prize money involved at the time, the prestige of being voted as the best among some of the most skilled poker players in the world was well worth it. Binion realized this fact, and he decided to make some changes and improvements to the World Series of Poker.

One of the first changes that Binion made for the 1971 WSOP was to add a cash prize for the winner. Tournaments would now feature an entry fee of $5,000. This first winner-take-all competition was won by Johnny Moss, solidifying his reputation as the World Champion of Poker. It was not until 1972 that the World Series of Poker would attract the public eye. In 1972, “Amarillo Slim” Preston won the World Series of Poker. After winning the tournament, Preston went on publicity tours that quickly caught the attention of people all around the country. With eleven Tonight Show appearances and a best selling book, Preston was able to bring recognition and fame to WSOP.

Over the next years, the WSOP continued to grow, attracting competitors from all around the nation, including the first female competitor in 1978. Amateurs began joining in World Series of Poker tournaments, especially after the first amateur poker player won in the 1979 WSOP. Players were coming from other countries just to play in the WSOP at the Horseshoe. After NBC Sports televised the 1981 WSOP, the event became known to millions all throughout the country.

Word Series of Poker satellite tournaments were put into place in order to cater to the large number of players that were coming in from all around the world. The first non-American champion won in the 1990 WSOP. One year later, WSOP was able to generate enough competitors to offer its first million dollar cash prize. As the tournament continued to grow, the Horseshoe began to suffer and decline. Jack Binion, who had been running the Horseshoe casino and the WSOP since the 1980's, was not allowed to meddle in WSOP operations in the late 90's. As a result, between 1999 and 2002, many of the well-known poker players stopped visiting the casino and playing in the WSOP.

Chris Moneymaker making waves at the World Series of Poker

The World Series of Poker began to lose fans and competitors to a rival poker tournament called the World Poker Tour (WPT). In 2003, though, the WSOP would experience one of the biggest and best changes in its history. Chris Moneymaker was a young man who many poker players could identify with. Moneymaker's astounding win in the 2003 WSOP marked a new era for the WSOP. After his win, poker players were becoming widely publicized through television, the Internet, and the media in general. There were even television shows that featured poker tournaments between celebrities.

The years following Moneymaker's $2.5 million win would bring more people to the WSOP and, with more competitors, more money was at stake. The world champions of 2004 and 2005 received $5 million and $7.5 million, respectively. While the WSOP was skyrocketing, the Horseshoe was suffering without enough space to host all of the people. The answer to this venue problem came in 2004, when the WSOP was sold to Harrah's Entertainment, which is the largest gaming company in the world. Since the WSOP was acquired by Harrah's, the series and the sport of poker as a whole has continued to grow and develop into the largest and most famous set of poker tournaments in the world.

Today, the World Series of Poker has grown into a sporting spectacle that is followed by people all around the world. In fact, 2007 marked the inaugural year for the World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE). The World Series of Poker Circuit celebrates its fifth year in 2008. There is even a World Series of Poker Academy, for those who want to learn how to become a professional and perhaps even win a gold bracelet in the next Main Event.

Games played at the World Series of Poker

As of 2007, some of the poker variants played in WSOP tournaments include the following:
* Texas Hold 'em
* Omaha Hold 'em
* Seven-card stud

World Series of Poker Main Event

The first Main Event with a cash prize was held in 1971. At the time, the buy-in was $5,000. Since 1972, though, the Main Event was regularized as a no-limit Texas Hold 'Em tournament with a $10,000 buy-in. Winners of the Main Event receive a World Series of Poker gold bracelet, which is highly respected among poker players. The winner is also named the World Champion, although this is an unofficial title. The prize money is split up between the players at the final table. Ever since 2000, the number of contestants has grown into the thousands. In 2000, there are a little over 500 entrants, with the grand prize amounting to $1.5 million. In 2008, nearly 6850 players joined the Main Event, resulting in a first place prize of over $9 million.

Qualifying for the World Series of Poker

There are three ways that you can qualify for the World Series of Poker Main Event. First is to pay the entrance fee, which has a buy-in of $10,000. Another way to qualify for the Main Event is to win a qualifying tournament. There are two types of qualifying tournament: the annual tournament in Binion's Horseshoe, and the many satellite tournaments around the world. The third way to qualify for the Main Event is to play in online tournaments. Each site has a different set of criteria to determine who qualifies for the Main Event. All contestants have to be at least 21 years old.