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World Series of Poker - WSOP
World Series of Poker
The card game ‘Poker’ has gained a significant popularity to such an extent that it has resulted in a series of world poker event to be conducted every year and big business houses sponsoring them. Especially, with the sports channel ESPN broadcasting the tournament, gamblers and poker lovers all over the world follow it closely. So, one can imagine the popularity and publicity the game is enjoying at an international level.
The World Series of Poker championship, known as WSOP, was the idea of Benny Binion who intended to bring all the game lovers on one platform.
Today, winning the WSOP championship is every poker player’s dream.
A Brief History of WSOP
Tom Morehead of the Riverside casino in Reno started the original series as an invitational event. The evolution of the series to the present day tournament can be attributed to Las Vegas casino owner, Benny Binion and his sons, Jack and Ted.
Due to rampant cheating the game was not played in many casinos prior to 1970s, with the Binions’ efforts and introduction of better security techniques, poker gained immense popularity. The first WSOP at Binion’s Horseshoe was played in 1970 with seven players and the winner, Johnny Moss was the first World Champion of Poker to receive a silver cup in prize.
WSOP – Since 1970
Since 1971, new events have been added and removed in the WSOP tournaments and all of them have been conducted with cash prizes. Winners get a coveted gold bracelet along with the prize money.
Five-card Stud was added to the main event No Limit Texas Hold’em in 1973. The 2006 tournament would have 42 events covering all the poker games. A combination of games, S.H.O.E. (Stud, Hold’em, Omaha and Eight or Better) used to be played earlier with Chinese Poker. H.O.R.S.E. played in the past would also be covered in 2006 tournament.
The number of tournament participants is on the increase every year. Year 2000 saw 4780 participants, rising to 23,000 in 2005. A cap of 8,000 participants has been fixed for the 2006 tournament.
Television coverage of WSOP
Since 1980s, ESPN has been covering the WSOP event, with only one hour taped delay broadcast initially. A little was covered those days without the existence of ‘pocket cam’. As of date, ESPN classic channel broadcasts the older events, from 1990s and after. The 2002 event was the first to use ’pocket cam’ and ESPN covered more than a day of the event. Discovery Channel also covered the event in 2000 and 2001. These programs had a play-by-play analysis and color commentary and not just the overview or recap.