The World Series of Poker is an illustrious and prestigious event that attracts viewers from all over the world. The last one, which just concluded three days ago at the time of writing, (obviously it had to be conducted online this time around) offered over $4 million in prize money. It is considered by most to be the Mecca of all poker events worldwide, and with very good reason. But if you missed it, don’t despair! The organisation puts on a yearly circuit of events all throughout the course of the calendar year.
Origins of the World Series of Poker
The World Series of Poker (commonly referred to as the WSOP) was born in the year 1970. It presently exists as a division of Caesars Entertainment in Nevada, but its origins take it back to the Horseshoe Casino, when Benny Binion, the owner of the casino and an avid poker player himself, first had the idea of organising the best poker players of the city into a formal tournament. Binion wound up selling the casino, along with the rights to the tournament, to Harrah’s in 2004. Harrah’s re-branded itself as Caesars Entertainment in 2010.
The WSOP Goes International.
Harrah’s/Caesars wanted to roll the WSOP out internationally, and that’s exactly what they wound up doing. The very next year, a US circuit was starting operations, and by 2007, the WSOP Europe opened up. Since then, the WSOP circuit has expanded to places such as Australia (which later blossomed into the WSOP Asia-Pacific in 2013), South Africa (added in 2010), and the newest circuit added by the WSOP has been the WSOP International, which started in 2015 and has taken place across five continents. 2020, as mentioned above, required further innovation, creating the first online WSOP main event.
Circuit Events, Bracelet Events and the Main Event
The main event of the WSOP is the one based on the original yearly event, and is considered the biggest and most prestigious prize in all of poker. It’s a $10,000 no-limit Texas Hold’Em tournament, which these days attracts thousands of players and millions of spectators from all over. Aside from the prize money, the winner gets a special bracelet, and is considered to be the world champion of poker. There are other events besides the main event where the winner receives a bracelet as well, and yet others that are just part of the circuits where no bracelets are awarded.
Types of Poker Played at the WSOP
At the WSOP, as you can imagine from the previous paragraph, Texas Hold-‘Em is the undisputed king, but this doesn’t mean that other variations are neglected. Since 1973, 5-Card Stud was added to the tournaments. At the time of writing, styles of poker officially included in the WSOP were Texas and Omaha Hold-‘Em, 7-Card Stud, and the lowball versions of all three of the above mentioned games.Other variations included in the past are H.O.R.S.E., S.H.O.E, and Chinese poker, among others.We imagine the WSOP will continue to experiment with other variations and/or possibly bring back previous variations in years to come.
WSOP Growth Past Present and Future
Since its inception 50 years ago, the WSOP has grown tremendously, although, to be more specific, most of its growth has been in the past couple of decades. This is almost certainly due to technological advancements, particularly the ability to play poker online. Just to give you a rough idea, in 1970, there was one winner. Bracelets were brought in in 1976 (and given retroactively to previous champions at that time), and there were eight new bracelets handed out that year. Last year, 90 bracelets were handed out. This doesn’t take into account all the tournaments that aren’t bracelet events.
The Potential Future of the WSOP
We don’t think we’re going out on a limb at all when we say that the future of the WSOP will be more and more slanted towards online tournaments and online play. We feel that this technology is very robust and well-developed, and it a good thing all around for the game. It is also understood that in certain circles there is a bias against this, but it should also be understood that as of 2020 especially, the world is a very different place. At any rate, we shouldn’t fear technology, but rather embrace it.
Corollary to technology playing a bigger and bigger role in professional poker, we are going to predict that variations of the game will become more and more popular. Texas Hold-‘Em is clearly an incredible game, and deserves its pride of place in poker. Having said that, there is no reason not to explore different variants and styles of this great game. No industry has ever done well without a certain amount of constant innovation. This is a lesson we imagine the WSOP in its wisdom will take to heart, and implement widely in the future.