The World Series of Poker (often referred to as the WSOP) is the most famous poker tournament series in the world. Any player who wins the main event of this notorious poker series instantly becomes known to the whole of the poker community and often beyond that. Not to mention the fact that they just won a few million dollars!
The first ever WSOP was held back in 1970 when famous casino owner and poker player Benny Binion hosted the series for the first time. In those days they didn’t hold tournaments in the same way we do now, they played a series of Cash games instead including Texas Hold’em, Razz, seven card stud, deuce to seven, low ball draw and five card stud.
Because they were playing cash games and not tournaments they needed a way to decide who the winner was. So Benny Binion invited six of the best poker players in the world to vote and judge who would be crowned the world champion. That very first WSOP back in 1970 was won by Johnny Moss after he was voted the best player, he became the first ever World Champion of Poker and unlike today where a bracelet is given to the winner of the WSOP, Johnny Moss received a silver cup. The year after the WSOP brought in the freeze out style tournament structure that we still use today.
Since its start in 1970 the WSOP has come a long way and is now the worlds biggest live tournament series which in turn creates the biggest prize pools in the world. 2006 was the year with the highest EVER prize pool for the main event and hasn’t been topped since, in 2006 8,773 players each paid a $10,000 buy in creating a first place prize of over $12 million which was won by Jamie Gold who also took away the title for that year of World Champion of Poker as well as a much sought after WSOP winners bracelet.
The internet poker boom is largely responsible for this massive increase in players turning up to play the WSOP tournaments because players can now win seats to games as big as the $10k main event for as little as $1 and sometimes even from a freeroll! You’d be wrong to think players who qualify this way don’t go on to make money in the tournaments, the most famous example if of Chris Moneymaker who won the 2003 WSOP main event and over $2,5 million after qualifying online through PokerStars for only $39.
When the World Series of Poker got so huge the Horseshoe casino was no longer able to hold the series because it couldn’t accommodate so many players, the WSOP was then moved to the Amazon Room in the Rio Casino (Las Vegas) where it is still held each year.
2007 saw a whole new idea for the WSOP when for the first time ever a WSOP championship was held outside of Las Vegas, it was held in London and called the World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE), the WSOPE was full of big name poker players but was won by a then unknown young female player Annette Obrestad, who was only 18 at the time making her the youngest player to ever win a WSOP bracelet. The very next day was her 19th birthday, that must’ve been some amazing birthday and Annette has since gone on to prove her worth in many big poker tournaments.
If you want to try your luck or skill at playing in the famous World Series of Poker but don’t quite fancy emptying the wallet of $10k to buy in the have a look at PokerStars where you will find many qualifiers for all bankrolls which give you the chance to be there and play with the stars.
We wish you well on your WSOP journey and in the meantime here is some very old school footage of the World Series of Poker 1978, including Johnny Moss and Puggy Pearson playing poker way way way back in the day: