The World Series of Poker History
The history of the World Series of Poker
The history of the World Series of Poker can be traced back to the 1970s. Benny Binion gathered the best poker players in the United States and made them play in public against each other in order to find out who was the best poker player in the world. The event was named by Binion the World Series of Poker and it took place in Las Vegas, at the Binions Horseshoe, which has been the site of this tournament ever since. Binion chose No-Limit Texas Holdem and the prize pool was 10,000 US Dollars. After the tournament finished, the audience chose Johnny Moss as the best poker player. Thus, Moss became the first champion of the WSOP.
In 1971, the second edition of the WSOP took place with some changes in its structure. Players had to defeat each other until one player was left. Johnny Moss again won. In 1972, Thomas Preston, also known as Amarillo Slim, was crowned champion taking home 80,000 dollars, and in 2000, Chris Ferguson won and took home 1,5 million dollars. That year the number of participants had increased to 519. Only 4 years after, in 2004, the number of players reached 2,576 and the prize was 5 million dollars. The increase in participants in the WSOP was partly caused by the Internet. Online poker had become very popular those years and had its champion in Chris Moneymaker who won the WSOP in 2003. He won 2,5 million dollars after having paid an entry fee of 39 dollars at an online poker site.
Moneymaker’s feat had a global effect and in 2003 and 2004 the number of participants in the WSOP tripled, so the number of events increased and in 2004 there were 33 events in total including the Final. They catered games such as Omaha Pot Limit, 7 Card Stud, Texas Holdem Limit, etc. The winner of each event was awarded a precious WSOP bracelet, which is one of the most prestigious awards in the poker world.
Legendary winners of the WSOP are Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, and Phil Hellmuth, who hold 9 bracelets each. 2004 was the last year the WSOP was held at the Horseshoe. From 2005 onwards, the event has been held at The Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, which has become the official site of the World Series of Poker tournament.