WSOP history. Part 1: The beginning
WSOP ME is the most famous and large-scale offline poker Championship in the world. Every year, thousands of poker players from different countries gather at the gaming tables to earn the title of the best player. But where did the World Series begin, and how did it become so popular? Let’s figure it out.
According to the legendary poker player Doyle Brunson, the WSOP was created to attract players to participate in cash games in Las Vegas casinos. Initially, no one expected that the tournament would gain such popularity.
In the first year of its creation, only seven players took part in the tournament. 7874 participants were registered in the WSOP 2018, and the total prize fund was $74,015,600. Over the entire history of its existence, more than 600 thousand people took part in the Championship.
The first WSOP tournaments
The beginning of the World Series was in 1969 at the “Holiday” Hotel in Reno (Nevada). Tom Moore and Vic Vickrey organized the Texas Gamblers Reunion event, inviting several players to participate in the tournament. Due to insufficient revenue, the tournament was the only one in its history.
The idea of an event of this kind interested the owner of the “Horseshoe” Casino, Benny Binion, who suggested that Moore lead something similar in Las Vegas. Tom agreed, thereby laying the foundation for the WSOP.
The first winner of the World Series was Johnny Moss. The player did not have to win the Main Event because he was named the best poker player according to the voting results among the players. For his victory, Moss received a reward of $30,000. A year later, the WSOP was held in the “freeze-out” format, in which it is still held.
Many poker players liked the idea of the WSOP. The number of players and tournaments increased annually. The World Series gained the greatest popularity after Preston’s victory in 1972.
Pearson and Brunson, who also participated in the 1972 tournament, decided to give the title to Preston. As a result, the victory brought the poker player $15,000, and Pearson and Brunson received $32,500 each for the second and third places. The winnings were distributed according to the size of the stacks at the time of the deal.
The attempt to put Preston in the first place was quite risky, but with his victory, the player contributed to the popularization of the WSOP among poker players. The Texan became one of the most famous representatives of offline poker, began acting in films, wrote a book, presented poker in the media. A year after Preston’s victory, the WSOP was first televised by CBS Sports.
Until 1977, the winner of the WSOP ME got all the money. After the victory of Bobby Baldwin in 1978, the prize fund was divided between five players out of 42, most of which was received by the champion.
In 1978, for the first time in the history of the WSOP, a woman participated in the tournament – Barbara Freer. During her career, Barbara has won prizes in the World Series tournaments five times. In the following years, many famous players appeared in the Offline Poker Championship.
A few years later, Eric Drache suggested holding qualifying tournaments at the WSOP. Thus, not only the number of participants in the Main Event, but also the total number of players increased every year. By 2000, the number of poker players had increased from 6 to 393.
The popularization of the WSOP led to the fact that the “Horseshoe” Casino was crowded with those who wanted to take part in the tournament. To accommodate all the players, they had to accept the help of the neighboring casinos “Golden Nugget” and “Four Queens”.
In 1989, one of the founders of the WSOP, Binion, passed away, after which the World Series of Poker became owned by his son – Jack Binion.
This was just the beginning of the history of the development of the largest offline poker tournament, WSOP. In the second part, we will tell you how the World Series of Poker developed in the 2000s.
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