Among the many different poker tournaments around the world, the World Series of Poker is the biggest and most popular. With a history that stretches back nearly 50 years, the WSOP is held every year in Las Vegas.
Since 2005, the WSOP has been sponsored by Caesars Entertainment Corporation and has one of the largest prize pools in the industry.
When Did the WSOP Start?
The tournament was created in 1970 when famous casino owner Benny Binion decided to hold a tournament series of cash games for the best poker players at that time. The first WSOP was held at Binion’s Horseshoe, consisting of games such as Five-Card Stud and Texas Hold’em for example. The first winner of the tournament, Johnny Moss, was named World Champion in Poker, and the name stuck to the tournament as well.
This tournament grew slowly over the years, but the added events and increased number of participants made it very attractive for poker fans. Since 1971, it always featured a cash prize for the winner as well as the coveted WSOP bracelet, which is considered the highest prize in poker nowadays. Although it featured only 52 players in 1982, thousands of people play in the tournament nowadays. There are even satellite tournaments where players can win their seat at the tournament since the buy-in fee is rather steep ($10,000).
Over the years, the tournament has seen many great poker players win the Main Event. Phil Ivey, Johnny Moss, and the legendary Phil Helmuth have all won the Main Event, with Helmuth at the top of the list with 15 bracelets. The WSOP is a huge draw for the public and is regularly televised by major media outlets.
How Can I Qualify?
Any player who wants to enter the main event can qualify in a number of ways. Aside from a buy-in, there are many satellite tournaments that award players with a spot at the main event.
These indirect ways to qualify are what made the tournament grow so fast and big. For as little as $200, you get the chance to win a satellite event and enter the WSOP with a main prize of millions of dollars. In 2007, Jerry Yang won the tournament after winning his seat at a Californian casino. He has been playing poker for only 2 years prior, which means that everyone gets a fair chance at winning the tournament.
Besides qualifying through satellite tournaments in land-based casinos, you can enter the through many online poker rooms. These online satellites can either be free or so-called ‘steps’ tournaments. The former is free to enter, but winning it doesn’t directly earn you a spot at the Main Event. Instead, winning a free online satellite will most likely earn you a spot at another cheap tournament where you get the chance to earn your spot. The other type of online satellites, the ‘steps’ tournaments, include several levels of buy-in tournaments which may get you to the WSOP. All players in these tournaments can start their journey from the lower levels and work their way up to the final tournament which awards a seat in the Main Event.
Although most players try to earn their way to the Main Event, there are several cheaper WSOP tournaments that you can also play. These tournaments have more seats to be awarded, which means your chances of entering are higher. Although smaller than the Main Event, tournaments such as the Big One for One Drop feature a multi-million-dollar prize for the winner, so they’re just as lucrative.
Additionally, this particular tournament also raises a lot of money for the One Drop charity initiative, which is a nice way of giving back to the community.
With 74 events last year, the World Series of Poker is the biggest poker tournament in the world. The tournament has grown up to the point where thousands of players take part, massively increasing the prize pool and featuring a winner’s prize of several million dollars. Of course, the winner also gets the champion’s bracelet.
The tournament features numerous variants of poker. H.O.R.S.E, Five and Seven-Stud Poker, Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hold’em, and several low-ball variants are all available in the tournament. The largest portion of the prize money goes to the winner, with the rest being distributed among a number of contestants.
There have been a number of poker legends winning the biggest prizes in the history of the World Series of Poker. In 2006, Jamie Gold won the main event and got a prize of $12 million, which is still the biggest win in thee history of poker tournaments.
The Main Event is the real highlight of the WSOP. With a $10,000 buy-in, it’s not a place for just every poker player. Only the best of the best participate in the Main Event, getting a multi-million-dollar prize, a bracelet, and their picture in Binion’s Gallery of Champions. It’s the most prestigious event in the poker world.
Since 1972, the Main Event is a Texas Hold’em tournament. However, many have argued its structure, proposing it should be a no-limit hold’em event. Since the introduction of the $50,000 HORSE Poker Players Championship, many of the top poker players in the world have switched to it and consider it the ultimate tournament in the main event. This tournament is the event that provides a player with the unofficial title of World Champion in Poker.
The Main Event in the WSOP has seen some memorable moments over the years. From outsiders winning it to incredible overturns, this tournament has produced magical moments which make it the best poker tournament in the world. Favorites haven’t always won the tournament. Unknown poker players qualified through satellite events have won the tournament on several occasions.
What are Bracelets?
The bracelets are considered the highest non-monetary prize a poker player can win. The bracelets are awarded to the winner of the WSOP Main Event. In the 1970s, there were only a few bracelets awarded to winners of different WSOP events, but their number grew over the years. In 2017, a total of 74 bracelets were awarded to winners.
In the beginning, the bracelets weren’t very prestigious – some champions didn’t even collect them. However, as the tournament grew in popularity, the bracelets became its main prize. Those who own a bracelet belong to an exclusive club of poker players. The bracelets themselves have been likened to the Stanley Cup in hockey or a ring in the NFL.
The champion bracelets have now become a symbol of prestige, achievement, and respect, with many players wanting them more than the cash prize.
The WSOP has been traditionally held at Binion’s Horseshoe Casino for years before moving to the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino where the Main Event is still held today. However, the tournament has expanded past Las Vegas in the last 10 years. Since 2005, the satellite circuit tournaments are held at several Harrah-owned establishments across the USA.
In addition to the WSOP Circuit, other World Series of Poker tournaments are held in Europe since 2007, Africa since 2010, and Asia since 2013. There’s also a WSOP International Circuit with rounds held on different continents. The winners of these tournaments get a prize worth millions of dollars plus a spot at prestigious global poker tournaments.