The World Series of Poker : History In The Making

Over the World Series of Poker’s (WSOP) history, it has done much for the astonishing
growth in popularity that poker has enjoyed.

The Beginning of WSOP

When the first World Series of Poker was held at Binion’s
Horseshoe in 1970, the casino did not even have a poker room.

Benny Binion,
is widely credited with the idea for the World Series, although in 1969 he had
played in a tournament – the first and only Texas Gamblers Reunion, arranged by
Tom Moore and Vic Vickney – which followed this championship format.

WSOP: Down The Years

The first WSOP received no press coverage and the
participants elected Johnny Moss
“best all-round player”.

The next year the format changed to a freeze-out tournament.
Seven players posted $5 000 buy-in and Moss retained his title.

A significant moment in World Series of Poker history came
in 1972. “Amarillo Slim” Preston
turned his upset victory into a publicity coup that swept the United States,
going on a tour that brought the WSOP to the attention of the general public.

The rest is history. The next year CBS Sports televised the World Series for the
first time and four preliminary events were added.

In 1978 the Main
Event’s
prize money was divided up for the first time, between the top five
players. Barbara Freer became the first woman to play in the WSOP in the same
year.

World Series On The Rise

Hal Fowler was the first amateur to win at the WSOP in 1979,
attracting a wider range of participants, including overseas players.

But the real breakthrough came in 2003. Chris Moneymaker, an online qualifier, won the Main
Event, shocking the entire poker world and ushering in a new era as many
professional poker players suddenly gained celebrity.

Harrah’s
Entertainment
bought the rights to the World Series of Poker in 2004 and
the next year it moved to the huge Rio
All-Suites Casino and Hotel
. This accommodates more tournaments, and the
WSOP now consists of 55 events.

Last year the first World
Series of Poker Europe
was held and Jeffrey Pollack, the WSOP Commissioner, has mooted further expansion
through the potential staging of events in South Africa and Egypt.