|The annual World Series of Poker is the most prestigious poker event in the world – a month long festival of poker culminating in the WSOP Championship – a $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Texas Hold’em freezeout tournament which features the biggest prize pool in world poker.
Along with the Championship event there are now over 40 preliminary events across a wide variety of poker games. Although most are variants of Hold’em, there are Omaha, Stud, and Razz tournaments as well, offering something for everyone.
The WSOP as we know it today began in 1971 with the crowning of the first WSOP Champion – Johnny Moss – who defeated five players to win $30,000 and the title of WSOP Champion.
Since then the WSOP has grown year on year, and practically exploded in 2004 with the advent of internet poker and televised poker fuelling a boom in popularity that has been beyond anyone’s wildest expectations.
Thousands of people now flock to Las Vegas in June to take part in the WSOP, all hoping to win a coveted gold bracelet – given to the winner of a WSOP event along with the prize money. Currently Johnny Chan and Doyle Brunson have won the most WSOP bracelets with ten each, while Phil Hellmuth is hot on their heels with nine.
The ultimate dream of all poker players is to win the WSOP Championship event and be crowned the WSOP Champion. Last years winner, Joe Hachem, won $7.5 million – the biggest payout in sports history, while even the ninth placed finisher, Mike “The mouth” Matusow, won $1 million.
Only a handful of players have ever managed to win the event more than once, they are: Johnny Moss (3 times), Stu Ungar (3), Doyle Brunson (2) and Johnny Chan (2). Along with Phill Hellmuth, T.J. Cloutier, Men Nguyen, Berry Johnston, Chris Ferguson and Eric Seidel they are considered the most successful players in the history of the WSOP, and their achievements in this poker event have made them legends of the game.
Now with online poker rooms offering qualifiers to the WSOP, players can win entry by playing in online satellites for as little as $10; last year over 1000 players qualified for the WSOP on PokerStars.com alone. And in 2002 the Championship event was won by one Chris Moneymaker, who qualified online at the same site.