The World Series of Poker or WSOP is the world’s most prestigious annual poker tournament held in Las Vegas, NV. Poker itself has an interesting history and Texas Hold’em, the most popular poker variant, had its official debut in 1970. The WSOP uses Texas Hold’em as its game format, and has since its inception.
The Legend is has it, that in 1949, the gambler Nicholas “Nick the Greek” Dandolos asked Benny Binion if he couldchallenge the best in a high-stakes poker marathon to determine who was the best of the best.. Binion agreed and set up a heads up match between Dandolos and veteran player Johnny Moss. This game was played in open view of the public in order to draw visitors into the casino to watch. They faced each other in all varieties of cash games imaginable. This marathon of poker lasted for over 5 months with breaks only for sleep. Moss eventually won the marathon and an estimated $2 million off Dandolos. When the Dandalos lost, he got up from his chairand said, “Mr. Moss, I have to let you go.” This five month match was the inception of the WSOP. Binion saw that the public had gathered outside the casino daily just to view the game thereby generating more revenue for his casino.
In 1971, the event had a $10k buy in, and the winner was determined by a freeze out competition, the current format of the World Series of Poker. Since then, the WSOP has been a tournament structure that crowns a world champion each year, similar to the Superbowl or Baseball’s Wold Series. In 1972, Thomas “Amarillo Slim” Preston won the title and started speaking to the talk-shows and media promoting his win. The popularity of the tournament then exploded. Eventually it would become a phenomenon and experience another major surge in popularity when an amateur, Chris Moneymaker, won $2.5 Million in the main event. Currently, the WSOP boasts an average yearly player count of 6000 or more players. The top 10%, of which, make at least their money back. This is called “Making it into the money.”
Players who could not afford the $10k buyin would swarm to World Series of Poker Satellites, smaller buyin tournaments where the prize was a $10k seat to the main event. Recently, with the advent of the many options online, World Series of Poker Satellites are offered online for as little as $1. Chris Moneymaker won his seat to the main event through these satellites for $39. World Series of Poker Satellites are offered by the casinos as well, and there are sometimes advertising requirments involved if you win your seat in these satellite events.
The WSOP will continue to be a holy grail for poker players, and offers players the opportunity of fulfilling their dream of becoming a world champion. With so many options for players to get to the WSOP, the player count and prize pool keeps growing and growing. Best of Luck!