Tournaments Game Guide

World Series of Poker

World Series of Poker Background of the WSOP

Since its modest beginnings in 1970, the World Series of Poker has grown to host thousands of players with top prizes in the millions of dollars.

Background of the World Series of Poker

The first World Series of Poker (WSOP) event was held in 1970, however the idea for it was sparked long before. In 1949, Lester Benny Binion, the owner of the Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas was asked by Nick "The Greek" Dandalos to organize the biggest poker game he could. Johnny Moss was recruited to play against Dandalos in a "game" that lasted five long months. They played every type of poker for huge pots until Dandalos conceded to Moss.

It took until 1970, but Binion decided to try the same again on a bigger scale. This time, he invited seven of the best poker players he knew to play in a no limit Texas Hold'em event which was to become the first World Series of Poker. Johnny Moss, Doyle Brunson, Amarillo Slim Preston, Brian Sailor Roberts, Puggy Pearson, Crandall Addington and Carl Cannon unanimously chose Johnny Moss as the best player.

In 1971, the WSOP was played as a winner-takes-all event and Johnny Moss took the title once more. Since 1971, the WSOP became a shared purse tournament, meaning that a number of the top players share in the total prize pool. The numbers have been growing steadily since then, but it wasn't until after the 2003 WSOP that the numbers really skyrocketed.

Entry into the World Series of Poker

Since 1971, the World Series of Poker has been a favorite of poker professionals. It is however open to anyone who can afford to pay the $10,000 buy-in fee. As online poker and online poker tournaments have become more popular, more satellite events have been held for the WSOP. This means that players can compete in low buy-in events in order to win a seat to the WSOP. The 2003 WSOP was won by a satellite tournament entrant and since then the popularity of satellite tournaments and the WSOP has boomed.

The 2003 WSOP Win

In 2003, Chris Moneymaker paid $40 to enter a satellite tournament for the WSOP. He won himself a seat at the WSOP (in place of paying the $10,000 buy-in) and went on to compete in the WSOP Main Event. Not only did Moneymaker make it to the final table, but he won the event taking home a prize of $2.5 million. At the time, Moneymaker was an unknown name in the poker world and had only played online poker tournaments prior to the 2003 WSOP. He beat 838 other contestants to take home the main prize. Now his name is on everybody's lips and his performance has single-handedly boosted online satellite tournament registration and registration for the WSOP events.

WSOP 2004 Onwards

In 2004, registration for the WSOP main event tripled. 2,576 players registered and the main event was once again won by an online satellite entrant Greg Fossilman Raymer, who took home $5 million.

In 2004, Harrah's won the rights to host the WSOP at their casino, The Rio All-Suite. The number of participants continues to grow, with the peak being in the 2006 WSOP which saw 8,773 players battling it out for a prize of $12 million.

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