The World Series of Poker

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Each sport has its very own piece de resistance, the event that separates the men from the boys and where crowns are thrust onto the scalps of kings. In the world of soccer the World Cup is the crowning glory, in athletics it is the Olympic Games and in poker it is the World Series of Poker (WSOP).

Every great achievement in the world starts as an idea and the WSOP was no different. This particular seed was first germinated in the mind of a Reno gambler, and casino owner, called Tom Moore. It was 1969 when Moore held a poker event called the Texas Gambling Reunion at the Holiday Hotel and Casino in Reno. That event was won by poker hall of famer, Crandell Addington.

The idea was then passed to casino owner, and poker player, Benny Binnion. In 1970, Binnion held the inaugural WSOP at his Horseshoe Casino in downtown Las Vegas. The schedule included games such as California Draw Poker, California Lowball, Seven Card High, Seven Card Low and a little known variation of poker called Hold’em. Back in 1970, the winner of each event was bestowed a world champion.

The 1970 WSOP was a media disaster for Binnion, and so he made some changes when the WSOP was held the following year. The Hold’em event was increased to a $5,000 buy-in and the tournament structure change to a freeze out to make it more media friendly. It was an immediate success with poker hall of famer Johnny Moss becoming the first champion.

The following year the buy-in for the main event was increased to $10,000 and it has remained that way ever since. In 1971, Johnny Moss defeated six-people to win $30,000 and in 2012 Greg Merson defeated 6,598 to win $8,527,982.

Now that is what you call a successful franchise.

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