What is the World Series of Poker
The World Series of Poker is the ultimate proving ground for the best poker players in the world. The annual event is held in Las Vegas, Nevada every summer and is where every poker player worth is weight in chips hopes to be. It is the grandest stage in a game that has exploded across the internet and poker tables around the world. There are WSOP events in Asia and Europe as well, but the main event is in Las Vegas.
The exact number varies by year, but there are typically 60+ events that take place over a period of a month and a half. The No-Limit Hold’em Main Event caps everything off, with the winner taking home $10 million, a coveted bracelet, and the title of the World Champion of Poker. In 2014, there were 65 events which covered most major poker variants, however, over half of them were variants of Texas Hold’em.
Although the winner of the main event gets the title of World Champion, winning the main event is not the only event that will earn you a bracelet nor is it the event that will earn you the most money. In the 2014 World Series of Poker for example, Daniel Colman won $15,306,668 in a different event, “The Big One for One Drop.”
The WSOP started in 1970 when Benny Binion, an American gambling icon and mob boss, invited seven of the best-known poker players to the Horseshoe Casino for a single tournament where a winner was determined by secret ballot. The tournament grew slowly for over a decade, reaching 52 participants in 1982. In the early 1980s, satellite tournaments were introduced, allowing people to win their way into the various events. By 1987, there were over 2,100 entrants in the entire series. Participation in the Main Event peaked in 2006 with 8,773 players.
The World Series of Poker bracelet is considered the most coveted non-monetary prize a poker player can win. As the World Series of Poker Commissioner, Jeffrey Pollack, said during the 2006 bracelet unveiling, “It is the equivalent of winning the Stanley Cup in hockey or the Lombardi Trophy in football.” The player with the most bracelets in the history of the WSOP is Phil Hellmuth with 13.
The United States is by far the most represented country amongst World Series of Poker players, but Canada, Germany, the U.K., and France also have strong representation. According to the official WSOP website, wsop.com, the all time earnings leader in WSOP events is Daniel Negreanu with over $29 million. Amongst women, Annette Obrestad from Norway maintains the most WSOP earnings with $2,166,575.
Photo Credit: USA Today