World Series of Poker
Started in 1970 by Benny Binion at the Horseshoe Casino, the World Series of Poker is going into its 41st year this year. The tournament is highly televised on ESPN and has sponsors like Miller Brewing and Jack Links Beef Jerky, and it's known for its large prize pulls. What is the World Series of Poker, how does one qualify for it, and who runs the show?
What is it?
The World Series of Poker is a tournament played around buy-in, no-limit matches of Texas Hold 'Em as of 1972. This tournament serves as the main event for the World Series of Poker Tournament, but as of 2011, there are 58 events. Over half of the 58 events are variants of Texas Hold 'Em. In 2006, a $50,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. event was added to determine the world's true "best player", as the high buy-in seems to deter amateurs from participating and raises the level of skill needed to play at such high odds. The events are usually played for one day or over several day consecutively, but in 2008 the Main Event final table was moved to November. At the end of every event, winners are awarded a bracelet to symbolize their victory.
How to Qualify
Qualifying for the WSOP is fairly simple. Instead of having to play through other minor tournaments and qualify through a points and rankings system, a potential player only has to ante up $10,000 to buy his or her seat in the tournament. If a person cannot afford the $10,000 buy-in, he or she can compete in a qualifying tournament at Binions, the site where the first WSOP was held. Whomever wins the first place spot wins a set to compete in the World Series of Poker.
Who Runs it?
In 2004, Binion's Horseshoe was purchased by Harrah's Entertainment, giving them the rights to the World Series of Poker and Horseshoe brands. Harrah's chose to sell the Horseshoe Hotel and the World Series of Poker brands to MTR Gaming Group. As a result of the Harrah's ownership, the WSOP now has a tournament circuit at properties owned by the casino chain, allowing players to participate in the $10,000 buy-in tournament and to become eligible for the Tournament of Champions.