The World Series of Poker is the most important poker tournament in the world. They suppose what for other sports would be the world championship and are held annually in Las Vegas.
The event is an unlimited
Texas Holdem poker tournament with $10,000 buy-in, where anyone able to afford entry can take on the best players and fight to become world champion. Something that separates poker from other sports, and that is certainly one of the reasons for its growing popularity.
However, the World Series of Poker is much more than the main tournament. As championship of the world of poker, we can find tournaments of all the variants like Seven Card Stud, Lowball, Razz and many others, although each time the tour turns more around Texas Hold’em.
The first tournament of the World Series of Poker was celebrated in 1970, promoted by the legendary Benny Binnion and celebrated in its own casino.
We could say that Benny Binnion was a visionary at the time. He was the first to install carpets in his casino, the first to use limousines to pick up his customers, and the first to offer free drinks to his players. In turn, he allowed betting limits much higher than usual, which quickly made his casino one of the most popular, and in turn made him receive more than a death threat from his competitors.
Binnion’s most important legacy was the World Series of Poker, but legend has it that the seed of this tournament was a legendary match between Nick the Greek and Johnny Moss.
The Greek, a compulsive player, asked Benny to organize a big poker game with Moss, where they would play all possible poker variants. Binion agreed with the condition that it be public.
Evolution of the World Series of Poker
As we said the first tournament took place in 1970, with only 7 players, and was voted best player Johnny Moss by popular vote. He received a silver cup as a symbolic prize.
As of 1971, all World Series events have been cash prize tournaments. That same year, the second edition was celebrated with 14 players, being proclaimed winner in its own right the same Johnny Moss.
In 1973 a new event was added to the competition, a Five Card Stud tournament. Since then many other variants have been added, to date, where next year’s event (2006) will feature up to 42 individual tournaments.
From those early days until today, the number of participants has not stopped growing. In the 2003 edition of the main tournament, 839 players participated. In 2004, the number rose to 2576. In the last edition of 2005, 5619 players took part, forcing to move the main tournament because of space problems.
Similarly, the prize for the World Series winner has been steadily increasing from the $ 30,000 Johnny Moss won in 1971 to $ 7,500,000 for Joe Hachem’s first place in 2005.
Some alternatives have been proposed to limit this high participation, such as increasing the buy-in of the tournament to the $ 50,000 that has not been touched since the 70s, but for the moment it does not seem to take any steps in this regard.