Every poker player, regardless of skill level, dreams of playing and winning a World Series of Poker bracelet or ring, the greatest benchmark for success in this wonderful game.
Last year, the World Series Of Poker turned 50, and while the event has millions of loyal followers and fans across the world, not many people know where or how the massive tournament started.
And that is why today we are going to delve back in time to learn a bit about the history of the WSOP.
What is the WSOP?
The World Series of Poker is, without a doubt, the single most important and prestigious poker tournament in the world. Except the WSOP is not really a single tournament, you see. The World Series of Poker is actually made up of 55 tournaments, played across various stages, and ranging different types of poker and requiring different registration prices.
Participants of WSOP will have to play No Limit, Fixed Limit, Pot Limit, Omaha, 2-7 Draw Ball, and other styles in order to emerge victoriously.
Registrations or "buy-ins" start at a thousand dollars and range up to $50,000.
Now that we know what it is, let’s talk a bit about where it all started.
We can’t really talk about the history of the WSOP without talking about the legend, Benny Binion. Benny was one of the greatest and most famous entrepreneurs in all of Vegas history, and his vision was the primary reason behind the birth of the World Series of Poker.
After a somewhat shady past, in 1951 Benny acquired a hotel and casino with the intention of setting up games that enjoyed higher payouts than the rest of the establishments in town, which were much more focused on shows and other types of entertainment.
For this reason, Benny considerably increased the betting limits of the poker games held at Binion’s casino, the Horseshoe. Of course, this managed to attract a steady supply of daring players looking to win big, and the casino grew in fame and prestige.
Then in 1970, Benny decided to invite seven of the best professional players in the city to play a poker tournament, with the ultimate goal of setting up a tradition of inviting the best players every year to fight for the title of the best player in the world.
As people around town saw that the winner of Benny's tournament typically won big in other tournaments, the reputation of his event skyrocketed. It seemed, after all, that Benny’s winner really was the best in the world.
The WSOP consisted of a single tournament with a buy-in of $10,000 until 1978 when Benny added smaller buy-in events so that more players could access the event. Once again, this increased the popularity of the WSOP as more and more players dreamed of making it big.
Little by little, the event garnered media coverage and 1981, NBC acquired the broadcast rights, just in time to give the country at large a front-row seat of the legendary Stu Ungar at his prime.
In 2004, the WSOp changed owners, and the rights passed on to Harrah's Entertainment (now Caesars Entertainment).
Covid-19 And The WSOP
The World Series Of Poker has never been more popular than it currently is. In fact, as of last year, the WSOP featured more than 100 events featuring most major poker variants played by thousands of players.
Given the current state of the world, this will be the first year since its inception that the WSOP wasn't held in person. The entire event was virtual. Covid-19 has been a destructive enemy to most of the events scheduled for 2020, and the WSOP has been no exception.
But without a doubt, as always, we will have the World Series of Poker- even if it's online.