The World Series of Poker

WSOP LogoThe World Series of Poker (WSOP) is the most popular poker tournament series in the world, and also plays host to the largest poker tournament in the world, the WSOP Main Event. The WSOP not only runs their premier tournament series in Las Vegas, but also operates a WSOP Europe series in London, and a WSOP tournament circuit that hosts major tournaments all around the world.

This article will discuss the history of the WSOP, recent WSOP results, and upcoming WSOP events.

History of the World Series of Poker

The World Series of Poker began in 1970, when there were less than fifty poker tables in the entire city of Las Vegas. The first event was hosted at Binion's Horseshoe Casino, and the entire casino did not contain a single poker room. The first WSOP consisted of about ten players sitting around a dark table, with no public viewers or press.

The first event didn't have a true champion, because that is not how the WSOP winner was decided. Instead, the players played a normal cash game for a set time period, and then elected a winner. The first WSOP champion was Johnny Moss, who then went on to become one of poker's greats.

After that first year, Jack Binion changed the rules, and forced players to put up $5,000 to enter the event. The second event attracted seven players who played an actual tournament. Johnny Moss claimed the prize for the second year in a row, and retained his status as the world champion.

The WSOP would take a turn for the best after the 1972 event. The great "Amarillo Slim" outlasted eleven other players, and then went public with his victory. He appeared on the Tonight Show and even wrote a book which gave the WSOP its first public attention. Amarillo Slim's promotion of the WSOP lead to CBS televising the 1973 event for the first time. With a TV deal, the WSOP decided to add more events to their tournament lineup.

Young Winner Attracts Young Players

Any serious poker player has heard of Stu "The Kid" Ungar, who was one of the most intelligent and brilliant minds to ever play the game. Ungar began his WSOP career by winning back to back championships in 1980 and 1981. Ungar was from New York City, and added a new sense of electricity to the game. Since Stu was such a young player, other players felt they had a chance playing poker, even without the experience of the older grinders.

The WSOP Blows Up

The World Series of Poker became what it is today after an explosion in popularity in 2003. ESPN televised the event, and an amateur player named Chris Moneymaker won the event with millions of viewers watching. The 38 year old accountant proved to everyone that you did not need to be a professional poker player to win money at poker. The key reason why Chris changed everything was because he was an average man with a normal 9-5 job who qualified for the WSOP at The "Moneymaker Effect" brought millions of new players to online poker rooms.

From there, the WSOP experienced a snowball effect - the following year Greg Raymer took down a massive first place prize of $5 million, and the tournament continued to grow ever year as new players took a shot at the riches. Also, the institution of a WSOP Player of the Year award brought more pros to the event to prove their worthiness.

Current Day World Series of Poker

Since the early days, the WSOP has moved from the Horseshoe Casino to the world renowned Harrah's Casino, and finally to the RIO All-Suites Casino, where it currently resides. The RIO is a huge casino, so the WSOP staff decided to add even more events to the series. In 2009, the WSOP ran 57 events including a $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event which has been hailed as the ultimate test of a poker player's skill.

So far, the largest WSOP Main Event was the 2006 Main Event which had 8,772 entrants and a first place prize of over $12 million. The champion Jamie Gold still stands as the biggest single prize winner in poker history. Check out Shirley Rosario's site to learn more about WSOP poker players.

WSOP Qualifiers

Most players cannot afford to put up the $10,000 buy-in for the WSOP Main Event, but players have the chance to qualify for the event through "WSOP Satellites". These satellites are smaller poker tournaments, with the winner moving on to play in the Main Event. The best WSOP satellites are held at online poker sites, because players at online sites can qualify for as little as a few dollars by playing in "Step Sit and Go's" or super satellite tournaments.

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