The History of The World Series of Poker

The World Series of Poker started out with fairly humble beginnings as an invitational only tournament back in the year 1970. Benny Binion who was the owner of one of the most popular Las Vegas casinos, The Horseshoe, organized it. He invited the six best poker players in the US to his casino for a single tournament to determine who the best American poker player was at the time. As it turned out, Johnny Moss won the 1970 WSOP champion by actually being voted the best player by his peers.

Johnny Moss started playing poker at the age of ten and is one of the greatest poker players of all time. He won 10 million dollars from the poker tables in the early 1950s, and gave it all back again to the craps tables.

The following year, the 1971 WSOP was played in a freezout tournament format, and 13 players had to battle it out on the WSOP felt until one player had all the chips, with Johnny Moss claiming the title for a second year in a row.

Amarillo Slim Preston won the World Series of poker championship event in 1972 and a total prize of 80.000 dollars. He was not only an expert poker player, but also a great pool player. He also won the $5000 No Limit Hold’em event in 1974.

Walter Clyde Puggy Pearson won the 1973 WSOP main event, and could deposit 130.000 in to his account. Puggy Pearson was known as one of the most aggressive poker players ever. His favorite game was seven-card stud, but he would play any game, anywhere, against anyone for any amount of money. It was the same year that CBS Sports televised the World Series of Poker main event for the first time.

Johnny Moss won 160.000 dollars and his third and last championship event in 1974.

Following year, Sailor Roberts won the 1975 main WSOP event and 210.000 dollars. He is considered an expert in virtually any card game and had in his younger days the reputation as the best poker player in the southwestern states of America.

In 1976, Doyle Brunson won 220.000 and his first of 10 World Series of poker titles. He won again in 1997 and could stuff 340.000 dollars in his sock drawer. His winning hand was a full house, tens full of douses.
Unbelievably, but this was the exact same hand he won with the previous year.

Bobby Baldwin won his third WSOP title and 210,000 dollars in 1978 beating 37 other players. This was his first and only world series of poker main championship event win. He played consistently great poker in the mid to late seventies and won both the deuce to seven-card draw and the seven-card stud title in 1977.

The 1979 main world series of poker event championship winner Hal Fowler was a true amateur and won 270,000 dollars and his only WSOP title against 53 other players. He beat Bobby Hoff in a five-hour long heads up battle, catching an inside straight on the river.

Stu Ungar who is arguably the greatest poker player of all time won the WSOP title in 1980, and ended up winning three times, again the next year, then again over a decade later, in 1997, just a year before his death. Also one of the best gin rummy players in the world, his poker abilities were nothing short of remarkable, and his outsized personality really added a lot to the World Series of Poker.

The introduction of cable television in the early 2000’s meant that a lot of the cable channels were broadcasting poker on TV and it inevitably went much more mainstream. The game of texas holdem gained in popularity, especially the World Series of Poker main event, particularly when Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 WSOP ME after qualifying through an online satellite. He was an amateur player and it proved every player had the chance to win the main event.

Want to have a chance to play in the World Series of Poker 2013 Main Event?

Anyone, regardless of gender or nationality can play in the WSOP as long as they can pay the $10,000 entrance fee. If that seems a bit expensive you can try out your luck in one of the smaller side events.

If that’s too much for your wallet than you can qualify through cheap WSOP satellites at any of the top online poker rooms we recommend on this site. Check out the poker sites below.

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Founder/CEO of MDG, professional writer, and sports handicapper as well as small stakes poker player.

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