History of WSOP

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History of WSOP

Postby DM101 » Wed Jul 11, 2007 1:51 pm

Origin

The original World Series of Poker was started in 1968 by Tom Moore of San Antonio, Texas, at the Holiday Hotel and Casino in Reno and was an invitational event. This inaugural event was won by Crandell Addington who went on to place in the top ten of the World Series of Poker Main Event eight times, a record that still stands as of 2007. The set of tournaments that the World Series of Poker (WSOP) would evolve into was the brainchild of Las Vegas casino owner and poker player Benny Binion, as well as his two sons Jack and Ted.

The Binion family nurtured not only the WSOP, but poker in general. Prior to the 1970s, poker was not found at many casinos because of the difficulty of keeping cheaters out. Through better security techniques as well as the Binion's tireless promotion through events like the WSOP, poker became a very popular game.

In 1970, the first WSOP at Binion's Horseshoe took place as a series of cash games that included five-card stud, deuce to seven low-ball draw, razz, seven-card stud, and Texas hold 'em. The format for the Main Event as a freeze-out Texas hold 'em game came the next year. The winner in 1970, Johnny Moss, was elected by his peers as the first World Champion of Poker and received a silver cup as a prize.

Evolution

From 1971 on, all WSOP events have been tournaments with cash prizes. In 1973 a new event, Five-card stud, was added to the main event of no limit Texas hold 'em. Since then new events have been added and removed. In 2006 there were 45 events at the WSOP, covering the majority of poker variants. Currently, Texas hold 'Em, Omaha hold 'em and Seven-card stud and their lowball variants (if any) are played. H.O.R.S.E. has been played in the past and returned in 2006. Also, S.H.O.E. has been played in the past, and returned in 2007. Other events played in the past include Chinese poker, Five card stud, and many others. Each event winner gets a coveted gold bracelet as well as the grand prize money, which by tradition is paid in cash brought in cardboard boxes.

Phil Hellmuth has the most bracelets with eleven. Runners-up Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan have each won ten bracelets. Doyle's son, Todd Brunson, won a bracelet in a $2,500 Omaha Eight-or-better event in 2005, making them the first and only father/son combo to win at least one event at the WSOP. Also, celebrities Patrick Bruel, Jan Vang Sørensen and Jennifer Tilly have won WSOP bracelets in 1998, 2002 and 2005 respectively.

The number of participants in the WSOP has grown almost every year, and in recent years the growth has exploded. In 2000 there were 4,780 entrants in the various events, but in 2005, the number rose to over 23,000 players. In the main event alone, the number of participants grew from 839 in 2003 to 8,773 in 2006. This was known as the "Moneymaker Effect", named after unknown rookie Chris Moneymaker, who won the main event after having qualified for just $39 through a satellite tournament. Much of this growth can also be attributed to the WSOP airing on ESPN and the World Poker Tour being shown on the Travel Channel, along with other televised series, as well as the boom of online poker.

Like most tournaments, the sponsoring casino takes an entry fee (a percentage between 6% and 10%, depending on the buy-in) and distributes the rest, hence the prize money increases with more players. In the 2005 main event $52,818,610 (US) in prize money was distributed among 560 players, with $7.5 million to first prize.

Harrah's Takes "The Pot"

In 2004, Harrah's Entertainment purchased Binion's Horseshoe, kept the rights to the Horseshoe and World Series of Poker brands, sold the hotel and casino to MTR Gaming Group, and announced that the 2005 Series events would be held at the Harrah's-owned Rio Hotel and Casino, located just off the Las Vegas Strip. The final two days of the main event in 2005 were held downtown at what is now the MTR operated "Binion's" in celebration of the centennial of the founding of Las Vegas. It also added a made-for-television $2 million "freeroll" invitational "Tournament of Champions" (TOC) event first won by Annie Duke as a "winner-take-all" event.

Starting in 2005, the WSOP began a tournament "circuit" at Harrah's-owned properties in the United States where in addition to the $10,000 buy-in tournament at each site, qualifying players became eligible for a revamped Tournament of Champions. The 2005 TOC, made up of the top twenty qualifying players at each circuit event, along with the final table from the 2005 Main Event and the winners of nine or more bracelets (Johnny Chan, Doyle Brunson, and Phil Hellmuth) would participate in the revamped TOC at Caesar's Palace. Mike "The Mouth" Matusow won the first prize of $1 million (US), and all the players at the final table were guaranteed a minimum of $25,000 for the eighth and ninth place finishers. During a break in the final table of the 2005 Main Event on July 16, Harrah's announced that eleven properties — including the recently added Bally's and Caesar's properties — would host 2005-06 WSOP Circuit events that started on August 11 in Tunica, Mississippi. One event, that was scheduled for Biloxi, Mississippi was canceled after the Grand Casino Biloxi, which was scheduled to host the event, suffered major damage from Hurricane Katrina.

The Rio also hosted the 2006 World Series of Poker, which began on June 25 with satellite events and formally began the day after with the annual Casino Employee event, won in 2006 by Chris Gros. 2006 featured the "Tournament of Champions" on June 25 and 26, won by Mike Sexton. Various events led up to the main event, which was held from July 28 until August 10. The first prize of $12 million was awarded to Jamie Gold.


Please check out the official site of WSOP.

http://www.worldseriesofpoker.com
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