One of the most popular poker tournaments in the world is The World Series of Poker. It was founded by Tom Morehead in Reno and the tournament was an invitational event. In the late 60’s, poker was not played in many of the because of excessive cheating and casino operators were having a hard time warding off cheaters from their establishments, until the Binion family became involved. With the application of better security systems and of Binion’s diligent sponsorships like the World Series of Poker, poker evolved into a very popular gambling game over the years.
The first WSOP was held at Binion’s Horseshoe in 1970. There were seven players and the winner, named Johnny Moss, was the first World Champion of poker and was awarded with a silver cup. WSOP tournaments from 1971 onwards concentrated on poker and cash prizes were given to the champions. Come 1973, the five card stud poker was incorporated, aside from the main event of Texas Holdem. New events have been added and taken out since then.
The WSOP in 2003 and 2004 held 36 events including Omaha poker and Razz, and events exclusively for women and senior players. In addition to cash prizes, each winner also got a gold bracelet. Among the winners of the draw poker who received cash and gold bracelets were Mickey Appleman, Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Johnny Moss, Bobby Baldwin and Stu Ungar.
Over the years, the number of participants increased. The past years proved to have a tremendous increase in participants. For the year 2000 alone, 4780 contestants entered different events in the WSOP. In 2004, the participants were more than 13000. The number of main event participants from 2003 to 2004 tripled. The sudden increase in the number of players who joined may be attributed to the showing of the World Series of Poker on the Travel Channel and ESPN.
With a huge increase in the number of players, the amount of prizes also increased. More than 25 million dollars were given away as prizes in the main event of the 2004 WSOP, where 5 million dollars was given to the first prize winner. Harrah’s Entertainment bought Binion’s Horseshoe in 2004 and the WSOP of 2005 was held at the Rio Casino. The main event was held at the Horseshoe, which took two days. The tradition and passion for poker continues and as the years past, many sponsors and cash prizes flow for the World Series of Poker.