WSOP history goes back to 1970 when Benny Binion brought together the best poker players in the world.
He named the event the World Series of Poker and the tournament took place at Binion’s Horseshoe in Las Vegas. The entry fee for the first WSOP tournament was 10,000 dollars.
WSOP history tells us that in 1970 the players actually held a vote and decided that Johnny Moss was the best player and he won the first title. In 1971 the WSOP moved to a tournament format and Johnny Moss won again.
In 1972 Thomas “Amarillo Slim” Preston won the title. Eventually, satellite tournaments became a regular way to enter the tournament during the 1980’s as the popularity of the event grew. By 1987 the WSOP had over two thousand entries in the many events leading up to the World Series of Poker championship event and by 2002 the event grew to over 7,000 entrants into many different tournaments spread out over a month. The amount of events offered has also been increased from 12 (mostly consisting of Texas Holdem and seven card stud) to 55 events today. In just 10 years prize money went from $7.7 million to $49 million in the WSOP. In 2003 the evolution of the WSOP continued into a new era with the victory of unknown Chris Moneymaker. He entered a $40 online satellite tournament to qualify for the WSOP and ended up at the final table, which he won, claiming a $2,500,000 cash prize. Moneymaker’s win caused what is known now as the “Moneymaker effect” in which hundreds of thousands of online players are now inspired to try and do what Moneymaker did and win online satellites to get into the World Series of Poker main event. Greg Raymer, Joe Hachem, Jamie Gold and Jerry Yang are the latest winners in the crazy event that is the World Series of Poker.
Binion’s Horseshoe was sold in 2004, and Harrah’s Entertainment acquired the rights to the WSOP. In 2005, the WSOP moved to the RIO Hotel. In 2006, the WSOP had its largest ever field of 8,772 players. Jamie Gold won the $12 million first prize in 2006. The number of entrants dropped in 2007 to 6,358 players. The reduced field resulted in the first place prize dropping from $12 million to just over $8 million.