Americas Cardroom

The Annual World Series of Poker has begun and if you couldn't make it this year, then maybe next year will be your chance to shine among the poker Gods. The series as ever will get underway with the Casino Employees Tournament and that attracted a great number of players. We're looking forward to this year more than ever, with new tournaments and bracelet events, it promises to be a fantastic festival of poker in Las Vegas. Let the games begin!

World Series of Poker

The World Series of Poker, or better known as simply the WSOP (as well as the 'Main Event'), has a long lineage and history of being one of the biggest live poker tournaments of the world - or better yet, the biggest. The WSOP is not just one tournament or event, but instead is made up of various different poker tournaments. Each one of these tournaments, or events for short, are of different poker styles and each has their own rules. There is prestige to be found at the WSOP, where there is more to first place than just the cash prize. Getting to know its history, and the popularity that it has gained, along with the prominent poker players that have participated will give a better insight into what the WSOP is.

WSOP History

The WSOP is a series of poker tournaments that take place in Las Vegas every year since it was properly organized. The event started out in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1970 when Benny Binion, an avid poker player and casino owner, decided to invite seven of the most renowned poker players of that time. He invited them to the Horseshoe Casino, owned by Binion, where they would play for a determined amount of time in a single tournament, with a total prize pool of $30,000. Ever since then, Binion would sponsor the poker tournament, each time it got bigger and bigger and ever so popular. The WSOP was sponsored by Binion and the Binion Horseshoe casino from 1970 until 2004 when the rights were sold to Harrah's Entertainment. In 2010, Harrah's Entertainment became known as Caesars Entertainment, thus the WSOP is still being sponsored each year by the Caesars Entertainment Corporation.

WSOP Events

As the WSOP has evolved from the single poker tournament that it once was into a series of poker tournaments, there is a large schedule of events that take place during the WSOP. Each event, depending on the type of poker game being played and the amount of players participating will determine the length they will last. Some events are short and fast, taking 2 days, such as the Casino Employees No-Limit Hold'em. There will only be one type of poker game being played per event, which is why there are so many events.

Some of the poker games played during the World Series of Poker are no-limit and pot-limit Texas Hold'em, Seven Card Stud, Omaha Hi/Low, and H.O.R.S.E., which has gained popularity. No-limit Texas Hold'em is still one of the fan favourites and has the most events, including the Main Event. The main event of the WSOP is played at the end of the series, which is the event that is usually televised and gets more attention than the rest. It has the biggest cash prize, as well as higher chances of making a name for the winning player.

Pros vs. Cons of the WSOP

The WSOP has many great things that surround it, like the high status, prizes, and the general competitiveness. However, with everything as big as the World Series, there are also some downsides to it like the time, location, and entry fee.

When a player wins a big event at this prestige poker tournament, they not only get a big cash prize but they also get the acknowledgement from peers and sponsors that they are an excellent poker player. This brings on much great fortune for that player, whether it be getting sponsored or simply getting the reputation of being the best. Playing in such a big event really separates the men from the boys, and the players can gain very useful skills and knowledge from playing in such a highly competitive tournament.

The WSOP only occurs once a year, which means there is a time limit for the players to sign up and this could cause that many players, not be able to attend. The location has also proven to be a limiting factor for a lot of apt players, seeing as they cannot travel as far as Las Vegas. The big thing is the need for the hefty initial investment, with paying for flights, hotels, expenses (after all, Vegas is an expensive party town) and on top of that, the entry fee. Out of the hundred that participate, only a few that make it to the final tables will ever really see any winnings.

Winners Circle for the WSOP

Poker players that are experienced with the WSOP and the rules know that winning any event will get them a great cash prize. Depending on the event, players that make it to the final table usually get a pretty good pay check. Those players that win at the Main Event usually walk away with $1 million dollars in cash minimum. However, any serious poker player does not play in these events solely for the cash at the end of the tournament. Players that win in any of the events get a bracelet recognizing them as an official winner of that year's poker tournament. It is a symbol of a hard earned title, as well as bringing them fame and fortune with possible sponsorship deals from reputable poker rooms online.

As of yet, the player with the most WSOP bracelets is Phil Hellmuth with 12 bracelets, and the player with the most earned money is Jamie Gold, earning $12,073,694 thus far. There are many other professional poker players that have a high number of bracelets as well, which is why they are dubbed with the title "Professional". Many of the pro poker players have gone on to get sponsored by casinos and online poker rooms, enabling them to continue to play and win.