The World Series of Poker, an Overview

The World Series of Poker is the unequivocal granddaddy of international poker tournaments and it pretty much paved the way for the renaissance of poker as one of the most reputable and admired card games of the modern epoch.

Prior to the advent of the WSOP in the 1970’s, poker had the unenviable tag of being the favoured pastime of swindlers and low lives, but once adequate security was in place at participating casinos, poker and its variants became one of the hot draw cards for the thousands of casino faithful who made their annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Reno.

The Boom

The WSOP has been identified as one of the catalysts of the unprecedented boom in the online and land-based poker industry as it effectively allows participants of varying poker prowess to compete in the 50 or more events held each year in Las Vegas. Players who cannot afford the rich buy-ins to the signature events of the WSOP can qualify online for a very small outlay of cash via satellite tournaments.

We have already seen three amateurs claim millions of dollars and the coveted bracelet since the advent of the WSOP forty years ago:-

  • In 2003 WSOP champion, Chris Moneymaker qualified for the main event via online poker room, PokerStars. He overcame the odds by outplaying some of the more accomplished poker play makers and pocketed a very tidy $2.5 million
  • In 2004 Greg Raymer walked away with a box load of cash for his final table main event display, and he too made it to Las Vegas via Poker
  • 2007 champion, Jerry Yang only had to fork out just over $200 to enter a WSOP satellite offered by Pechanga Resort and Casino – his winnings were an incredible $8.25 million!

Title Contention

The winner of the main event of the WSOP has traditionally claimed the unofficial title of ‘World Champion’ but with so many rookies walking away with the moola, the bracelet and the desired title, poker professionals are of the view that the main event does not sufficiently test the all round ability of a player.

In an effort to placate the big guns, the WSOP has recently included the $50 000 H.O.R.S.E event, which they claim should be the decider on who the world’s top poker player should be!

The expensive buy-in would hopefully deter the huge numbers of amateurs who have ‘mobbed’ proceedings so far, and the nature of H.O.R.S.E, which is a combination of holdem, Omaha, razz, seven-card stud and eights or better is more likely to produce a genuine, accomplished world champion of poker!