History of the World Series of Poker

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) began in 1970 when it was held at The Horseshoe, and organized by the casino’s owner Benny Binion. It all started after inviting six of the very best poker players to his casino in Las Vegas to play in a tournament. That year, Johnny Moss won. He went on to also win in 1971 and 1974.

Over the years, several players have gone on to win multiple WSOP main event titles. In addition to Johnny Moss, Doyle Brunson won twice, first in 1976 and then again in 1977. Stu Ungar won two consecutive WSOP main events, in 1980 and again in 1981. Also, Johnny Chan won two consecutive WSOPs, in the years 1987 and 1988.

The World Series of Poker continued to grow throughout the 1980s. This was helped by the fact that satellite tournaments took place in the United States and the rest of world.

The inception of online poker sites meant that a lot of players were qualifying through online satellite tournaments to gain entry into the main event. During the 2000s a lot of cable channels had poker shows giving the game of no limit texas hold’em even greater exposure to the masses.

Then when Chris Moneymaker won the WSOP main event title in 2003 outlasting more than 800 players and collecting an incredible $2.5 million in first place prize money, it proved that even amateur players had a chance of winning lots of money and the most prestigious poker tournament in the world, then the poker boom exploded.

However, in 2005 the WSOP moved to the Rio Casino to accommodate more entrants. The main event attendance numbers exploded as did the number of side events and there are now more than 6,000 players that play the WSOP main event each and every year with first place prize money also increasing proportionally. And these attendance numbers not expected to decline anytime soon.

Unfortunately, WSOP’s brainchild, Benny Binion, died in 1989, leaving his casino to his children. This meant he did not get to see what the WSOP has become today.


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