World Series of Poker (WSOP) is a series of poker tournaments held annually in Las Vegas. The most famous and prestigious part of WSOP is the $10 000 Main Event, where the World Champion of Poker is crowned.
Since the start in 1970, WSOP has grown to a huge phenomenon that spans over 60 different tournaments. WSOP 2012 consisted of 61 tournaments of which roughly half were variants of Texas Hold’em. Other examples of featured poker games were Omaha, Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better, Seven Card Stud, Seven Card Stud Hi-Low 8 or Better, 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball, Seven Card Razz, H.O.R.S.E och Eight Game Mix.
The WSOP 2012 Main Event attracted 6,598 entrants of which 666 placed in the money. The prize pool consisted of $62,021,200 and the winner, Greg Merson, received $8,531,853 and the coveted WSOP Main Event bracelet.
The start of WSOP
The first World Series of Poker (WSOP) was played in 1970 and was not an open tournament. Jack Binion invited seven great poker players to Binion’s Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas and they played a cash game with a set stop time. Several different poker variants were included: Texas Hold’em, Five Card Stud, Seven Card Stud, Deuce to Seven, Lowball, and Razz. After the game, a winner was determined by secret ballot.
The participants were Amarillo Slim, Doyle Brunson, Johnny Moss, Carl Cannon, Sailor Roberts, Puggy Pearson and Crandell Addington, and the winner was Johhny Moss. Moss was awarded with a silver cup. (The famous WSOP bracelet was not introduced until 1976.)
In 2004, Binion’s Horseshoe was purchased by Harrah’s Entertainment (now Caesars Entertainment). The rights to the World Series of Poker brand was included in the purchase, and the World Series of Poker 2005 was held at Rio Hotel and Casino, an establishment owned by Harrah’s.
WSOP is traditionally played in the summer. Up until a few years ago, the prestigious WSOP $10 000 Main Event was played without interruption, but in 2008 the Main Event final table was moved to late fall in an effort to build excitement and increase interest in the televised shows. (The shows are taped during the summer but not broadcast by ESPN until later.)
Since 2008, the final table of WSOP Main Event has been played in November, giving the nine finalists the collective nickname “November Nine”. An exception is the year of 2012 when the WSOP Main Event final table was played in late October instead to avoid a clash with the U.S. Presidential Election.
A wide range of poker rooms arrange satellites to World Series of Poker. It is possible to win everything from buy-in to one of the cheaper side events to extensive packages that include the $10 000 Main Event buy-in + airfare, hotel accommodation, pocket money, and more.
On most sites, several tiers of satellites are available where the lowest satellites are freerolls or have a very low buy-in. Sometimes points from the poker room’s loyalty program can be used instead of cash. This multi-tier system makes it possible to win WSOP packages without risking any large amount of money. Players chose freely on which tier to start their journey, based on how much they are willing to risk.
In 2003, Chris Moneymaker – a 27-year-old accountant from Tennessee – won a $39 satellite tournament on the PokerStars site. This gave him entry to a more expensive satellite where the first prize was a seat in the WSOP $10 000 Main Event. Moneymaker won the prize and went to Las Vegas, where he eventually won the entire WSOP $10 000 Main Event, thus becoming the first person ever to be crowned World Champion of Poker after qualifying at an online poker site. This caused a lot of attention world wide and is believed to have been a major factor in the poker boom of the mid 2000’s. In the press, the phenomenon was dubbed the “Moneymaker Effect”. In 2003, 839 players participated in the WSOP $10 000 Main Event. By 2004, the number of Main Event participants had grown to 2 576.
WSOP $10 000 Main Event Champions 1970-2012
Number of entrants
First place prize (in USD)
|1971||6||Johnny Moss||30,000||Walter “Puggy” Pearson|
|1972||8||Thomas “Amarillo Slim” Preston||80,000||Walter “Puggy” Pearson|
|1973||13||Walter “Puggy” Pearson||130,000||Johnny Moss|
|1974||16||Johnny Moss||160,000||Crandell Addington|
|1975||21||Brian “Sailor” Roberts||210,000||Bob Hooks|
|1976||22||Doyle Brunson||220,000||Jesse Alto|
|1977||34||Doyle Brunson||340,000||Gary Berland|
|1978||42||Bobby Baldwin||210,000||Crandell Addington|
|1979||54||Hal Fowler||270,000||Bobby Hoff|
|1980||73||Stu Ungar||385,000||Doyle Brunson|
|1981||75||Stu Ungar||375,000||Perry Green|
|1982||104||Jack Straus||520,000||Dewey Tomko|
|1983||108||Tom McEvoy||540,000||Rod Peate|
|1984||132||Jack Keller||660,000||Byron Wolford|
|1985||140||Bill Smith||700,000||T. J. Cloutier|
|1986||141||Berry Johnston||570,000||Mike Harthcock|
|1987||152||Johnny Chan||625,000||Frank Henderson|
|1988||167||Johnny Chan||700,000||Erik Seidel|
|1989||178||Phil Hellmuth, Jr.||755,000||Johnny Chan|
|1990||194||Mansour Matloubi||895,000||Hans Lund|
|1991||215||Brad Daugherty||1,000,000||Don Holt|
|1992||201||Hamid Dastmalchi||1,000,000||Tom Jacobs|
|1993||220||Jim Bechtel||1,000,000||Glenn Cozen|
|1994||268||Russ Hamilton||1,000,000||Hugh Vincent|
|1995||273||Dan Harrington||1,000,000||Howard Goldfarb|
|1996||295||Huck Seed||1,000,000||Bruce Van Horn|
|1997||312||Stu Ungar||1,000,000||John Strzemp|
|1998||350||Scotty Nguyen||1,000,000||Kevin McBride|
|1999||393||Noel Furlong||1,000,000||Alan Goehring|
|2000||512||Chris Ferguson||1,500,000||T. J. Cloutier|
|2001||613||Juan Carlos Mortensen||1,500,000||Dewey Tomko|
|2002||631||Robert Varkonyi||2,000,000||Julian Gardner|
|2003||839||Chris Moneymaker||2,500,000||Sam Farha|
|2004||2,576||Greg Raymer||5,000,000||David Williams|
|2005||5,619||Joe Hachem||7,500,000||Steve Dannenmann|
|2006||8,773||Jamie Gold||12,000,000||Paul Wasicka|
|2007||6,358||Jerry Yang||8,250,000||Tuan Lam|
|2008||6,844||Peter Eastgate||9,152,416||Ivan Demidov|
|2009||6,494||Joe Cada||8,547,042||Darvin Moon|
|2010||7,319||Jonathan Duhamel||8,944,310||John Racener|
|2011||6,865||Pius Heinz||8,715,638||Martin Staszko|
|2012||6,598||Greg Merson||8,531,853||Jesse Sylvia|