WSOP Competition

Tue, 03 Jun 2008 01:23

WSOP Competition

A look at the beginning of the wsop competition.

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) was the idea of Benny Binion and his sons. At the time of the WSOP's inception, they were managing Binions Horseshoe at the Las Vegas Strip. They were considered as the pioneers in poker and virtually had no competition before WOSP reached the status it currently holds right now.

Now going on its 37th year, the World Series of Poker began in 1970 as a tournament that involved Low Ball, Texas Holdem, Razz and Stud. Johnny Moss emerged as the first WSOP champion. For his feat, he won a silver cup. It was the only time that a silver cup was awarded to the winner. The games that followed eventually came to use the knockout format being utilized in modern day WSOP. In 1971, the buy-in fee was $5,000, which increased to $10,000 in 1972.  Eventually, poker competitions came to provide participants with some of the biggest prizes in any sports event.

The World Series of Poker started out very slowly. During its inaugural year, only 7 men were involved.  The following year, the number of participants almost doubled the original number. It was only very recently that the WSOP became as popular as it is now. Television was a factor in the game's increasing popularity.  After 12 years of competitions, there were only 52 entries but after the events were televised, the number of participants increased dramatically.  By 1987, the number of competitors reached 2,141. The use of televised competitions was also brought the game of poker to the mainstream.

Moreover, the World Series of Poker continued to gain worldwide acclaim when online poker was introduced in 2002. Since the competitions were opened 24 hours, it paved the way for the event to reach broader spectrum of people. In addition, the inception of these satellite, online tournaments paved the way for an increase in the popularity of the WSOP.  In 2005, for example, a total of 5,619 participants joined the tournaments, each of them paying the $10,000 entrance fee.  Majority of these participants came from satellite tournaments shelling out at least $5 for the chance to compete.

Furthermore, the increase in prize money led to more extensive TV coverage which, in turn, attracted the curiosity of an increasing number of viewers. The camera also increased audience involvement in the game of poker. Over the years, the cash prize of the winner gradually increased. In 2003, the WSOP offered a top prize of $2.5 million cash. The winner's purse increased to $5 million and $7.5 million respectively.

The following year, Harrah's Entertainment, a gaming venture managing many casinos in Las Vegas as well as online casinos, bought Binion's Horseshoe and changed the venue's name to Binion's. Likewise, the company transferred the competitions to posh Rio Hotel. The reason for the change of venue is to allow more people to join the tournament. The championship game, however, is still being played at Binion's, to pay homage to the person who started it all.

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) has become a launchpad for budding poker players to showcase their skills in the game of poker and become famous in the poker world. It has also become so popular that it has attracted a wide range of sponsors among them ESPN, Pepsi, Sony, as well as some online poker sites.