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Pokerteam articles 21

The World Series of Poker (WSOP)

The World Series of Poker is the most luxuries of all poker tournaments; it is broadcasted to millions of homes all around the world. As Nike is a brand of shoes and GAP for clothes the World Series of Poker is a poker brand, a trademark.

The World Series of Poker began in the 70's with the world's best poker players at the time. Benny Binion decided to arrange a friendly poker contest for his buddies to see who the best poker player among them is.

The tournament took place at Biniosn's Horseshoe and the big winner was Johnny Moss which was elected by fellow players. During 1972 the winner was determined by a Freezout, it was Thomas "Amarillo Slim" Preston. People soon started to talk about the WOSP and soon it hit the masses when Binion was interviewed by Mary Ellen Glass.

But the idea for the World Series of Poker was born two decades before 1949's summer and the story goes as following: The notorious gambler Nicholas "nick the greek" Dandolos asked Binion to arrange a high-stakes tournament for him with Johnny Moses, the famous player with the conditioning that the tournament would be open to the public.

Dandolos and Moses battled each other for five months with breaks only for sleeping and eating; they competed at any variation of poker possible at that time and the big winner was Johnny Moses that defeated Nicholas in the "biggest game in town" and went home with $2M after the Greek concluded the battle with the famous phrase "Mr. Moses, I've got to let you go".

During those five months the audience grew every day, more and more people came to see the "ultimate poker tournament". He noticed that the spectators were as eager and thrilled as sport fans watching a regular football or soccer match. Binion didn't stay indifferent to this but it took him two decades to re-create this battle of super-poker players, which he dubbed as "The World Series of Poker".

In 1970 the first WSOP event took place in Binion's Horseshoe and the winner – again Johnny Moses- walked home with a silver cup as a prize. From then forward all WSOP's prizes were cash prizes. During 1973 a five-card stud event was added to the main event – the no limit Texas Hold 'em and the tournament began to draw attention for the media. Ever since different poker variations were added and removed from the main event. Each winner received a gold bracelet along with a cash prize.

Ever since 1970 the number of participants grew dramatically and from 6 participants in 1970 the tournament increased to host about 5,600 players in 2005, but the real change came with the introduction of the preliminary satellite competitions.

During the 80's the World Series of Poker gained more and more attention from the media. More players tried to enter the competition and during that time the WSOP satellite tournaments began. Benny Binion passed away in the Christmas of 1989 without knowing that his creation would triple its size during the 90's. Today many online poker rooms offer a seat at the WSOP as a prize and they act as a regular satellite tournamnet.

In 2004 Harrah's Entertainment, a gaming corporation that operated many casinos in Vegas under different brands and has few online poker rooms as well, had purchased Binion's Horseshoe and changed its name to simply Binion's and they had moved the World Series of Poker to the luxuries Rio casino hotel which is located on the Las Vegas Strip.

Harrah's moved the tournament so that more players would be able to take part in it but the final table was still played in Binion's as a sign of respect to the man's legacy. Not only dies the World series of poker draws thousands of players but it also draws numerous sponsors: among them there are many huge commercial enterprises such as Sony, Pepsi, ESPN, Miller Brewing and other companies (and even few online poker rooms).

The World Series of Poker present huge prizes and every winner becomes a celebrity. This competition offers poker players to be honored for their skills and the show they put out during the final table. Over the years the WSOP has changed the lives of many poker players.

David Gendam,
Editorial Staff, 6th of February, 2006.

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