The World Series of Poker is the most anticipated and crowning event in the world of poker. It’s been around for so long and its history has been clouded by its popularity that people tend to forget just how great the WSOP was when it first started. Over the past couple of years, thousands of people have been trying to cash a quick buck off its popularity, and hundreds of web sites have suddenly popped up, but despite all of this the WSOP has been around when poker was considered serious card playing. It wasn’t a fad that was made to be televised into some sort of fashion. It was quality poker.
Back in the day, men smoked cigars and sipped whiskey while eyeing up their opponents. It was a game made for men like Nicolas Dandolos, commonly referred to as Nick the Greek, and Benny Binion. These two were champion gamblers and poker players back during the 1940s. It was no wonder then when Nick the Greek approached Binion to set up a world class match. Nick challenged the supposed champion of all poker players, Johnny Moss.
Binion agreed to the plan and he set up the match between Dandolos and Moss. There was one exception though, Binion made sure to attract as much attention to the event as possible by holding it in public. It was to be on public display and seen as a marathon. After five long months of discussion and compromises, all parties agreed to continue with the match. Thus, the World Series of Poker was born in 1949. It was a grueling event where the players only took breaks to catch up on sleep. Moss came out on top and reportedly took home around $2 million in cash, nearly an entire casino’s worth in 1949.
Nearly 21 years later, Binion decided to try his hand with the WSOP again. It was 1970, and this time he officially deemed it the WSOP. And once again, Johnny Moss did what he does best and walked away with the pot.
By now Binion knew he had something particularly special in the poker world. He continued the World Series of Poker yearly from then on. By 1982, there were 104 top poker players signed up for the WSOP. Now in 2006, at the height of the poker craze, everyone believes he or she is the next gift to poker. Last year, there were 5,619 people entered into the main event. This year, the numbers are predicted to be over 8,000 entrants. The size of the WSOP has changed, but the quality has not. It is the biggest, most anticipated poker tournament for any poker player.