This year’s World Series of Poker (WSOP) ran last week with 89 events, making for a landmark event on July 3 – 59 days in total. Prizes will total more than $ 866 million in prizes plus bracelets for multiple champions.
Players around the world are participating. Last year, there were more than 120,000 participants in the WSOP event representing 102 countries, including nearly 90,000 from the US.
It all started in 1969 – 50 years ago, in Reno, when Benny Binion, a gangster and casino owner, created the World Series of Poker. There are hardly enough players to make it a fair competition, and the game is a 7-card hand. A lot has happened since then. Today, it’s Texas hold’em, the so-called most popular poker game.
In 1970, Binion switched the show to its Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas. Since then still in Vegas, moved to Rio in 2005.
Since 1972, the WSOP pivotal event has been a no-limit Texas hold’em competition with a purchase of $ 10,000. (Some earn their entry through small competitions chosen for that purpose, just as Chris Moneymaker does.) Winners of important events receive millions of dollars (exact amount depends on number of participants), special WSOP bracelets, and are seen as World Poker Champions for that year.
The WSOP grows and grows together with Las Vegas. After being ruled by the “gang,” Vegas became a place for family picnics, distractions and gambling, watched over by some clever business people.
The number of players shot up from just seven at the 1970 WSOP to almost 200 in 1990 – one year after Binion died. Moneymaker made poker history in 2003 when he won a small PisauQQ online poker competition which led him to the WSOP. He then took first place in the WSOP challenging more than 800 enemies, winning $ 2.5 million. That’s great news and attracts more and more players. The next 3 years, with more events being offered, there were nearly 9,000 attendees.
With all the interest in the WSOP, important events are quickly getting their hands on TV with ESPN. Needless to say, as millions of people looking, interested in the WSOP (as well as the game of poker, in a general way), is really growing. And the WSOP prizes grew along with the number of participants. Last year’s champion, John Cynn. won $ 8.8 million.
In all, 1,182 players finished with money. To that effect, except for Chis Moneymaker, several poker players have already gained popularity and fortune through the WSOP. Of special note, Barbara Enright, a Hollywood, California, community, is one of the women who reached the final table at the WSOP. In 1995, he finished in 5th place. She is the first woman to win two WSOP bracelets (she currently has three), as well as the first woman to win an open event at the WSOP when she won in 1996.That helped her earn her selection in the WSOP Poker Hall of Fame, which is Women in the Hall of Fame. Poker, as well as the Senior Poker Hall of Fame.
Other poker figures who have been named champions of important WSOP events include 3x champions Johnny Moss and Stu Ungar. Doyle Brunson and Johny Chan won 2 years in a row. (Johnny Chan’s second win was shown in the 1998 film, “The Rounders.”
In 2008, Peter Eastgate, then only 22 years old, became the youngest person to win the WSOP at that time. However, just a year later, 21-year-old Joe Cada became a WSOP champion. Some of the increasingly colorful champions are Tom “Amarillo Slim” Preston, Walt “Puggy” Pearson, Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, Greg “Fossilman” Raymer, Jerry “Shadow” Yang, Ryan “The Beast” Riess, and Qui “Tommy Gun” Nguyen.
And, in 2007, the WSOP has grown to Europe. The first WSOPE champion is Annette Obrestad from Norway. He was just ashamed of his 18th birthday – the youngest person in the world to win the WSOP. (Note: The minimum age is 18 in the UK.)
It’s clear that the World Series of Poker has done a number of things to help promote and grow the game in its first 50 years. Let us see where the next 50 years are going.
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