The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is considered the highest echelon in the world of Poker. With its roots dating back to the 1970’s at the Horseshoe Casino, Las Vegas the WSOP is an annual event that attracts thousands of players for the top prize. The Prize is a much coveted WSOP bracelet and a multi-million dollar cash pot.
It started off as a small tournament consisting of just a handful of the top Poker players in the country, all organised by Benny Binion of the Horseshoe Casino and hardly acknowledged outside of Las Vegas. It soon however mesmerized the crowds, media and players with people turning up in the thousands to watch and compete for the title of WSOP Champion. It now is organised year after year in Las Vegas and is sponsored by Caesars Entertainment (formerly known as Harrahs Entertainment which acquired Binions entity).
In the WSOP, the most common games scheduled were usually Texas Hold’em and Seven Card Stud. However, with the vast increase in number of players through the years, the tournament has grown to host 61 events currently that consist of a vast variety of Poker games such as Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better, Triple Draw 2-7 Lowball, H.O.R.S.E, Seven Card Razz, Pot Limit Omaha, Eight Game Mix and 10-Game Mix Six Handed. With Poker games making a big advent online, entry to the WSOP main event happens through online satellite tournaments as well and even European and Asia-Pacific editions of the tournament are conducted.
The WSOP title has given rise to many champions. Names like “Amarillo Slim” Preston, Stu ‘The Kid’ Ungar, Johnny Chan and Chris Moneymaker are well known within Poker circles for their individual achievements in Poker and have helped raise the popularity of the game. Their tales of rags to riches have only vastly generated interest towards Poker.
The WSOP has never remained a set standard. It has changed and evolved according to time and that has helped it draw in the crowds. Each time critics suggested the WSOP was past its time, something new and revolutionary happened to revive interest. Chris Moneymaker for example, showed the world that an amateur from the world of online poker can go all the way and win the high stakes game in 2003. Despite stiff competition from rival tournaments around the world, the WSOP holds its own in the world of Poker.
Expansion of the WSOP gave birth to World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) in 2007. The tourney started in London and the buy-ins were in GBP and no bracelets were awarded in the beginning. But in 2011, the venue changed to Cannes, France and bracelets were introduced with Euros as the buy-in currency. Similarly, a World Series of Poker Africa originated in 2010 and an Asia Pacific edition of the tournament – World Series Of Poker Asia Pacific (WSOP APAC) was launched in 2013 at the Crown Casino, Melbourne.
The 2015 WSOP is underway at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino with 68 bracelets up for grab which includes the first ever online WSOP event.