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World Series of Poker

The World Series of Poker is the world’s leading poker event, captivating a worldwide audience from Las Vegas every year. The first event was held in 1970, when one-time mob boss Benny Binion brought together seven of the world’s leading players to compete at the then Horseshoe Casino. Fast-forward to today, and the event comprises over 75 different events, with an international roster of players coming together to compete for cash and professional pride.

Like many other major sporting events, the advent of mainstream TV coverage has been a real boon for the fortunes of the game. Modern coverage of the event is in-depth, with audiences across the globe glued to the action as they watch the big names tough it out for the elusive winner’s bracelet.

WSOP Format

WSOP has a multi-tournament format, played across a wide range of different games. Aside from the Main Event, which is the focus of much of the hype and attention surrounding the World Series, there are several other big-money events that attract players from across the world in pursuit of the huge prizes on offer.

The $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship gives players meeting the buy-in the opportunity to compete over three days to be crowned champion. The 2017 event was won by pro player Mike Wattel, who scooped up just shy of $250,000 for his win, with a highly regarded final table made up largely of previous gold bracelet winners.

While some of the events are reserved for professional poker players, including the $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship, others are open to a wider field including amateurs — as long as a player is able to meet the buy-in, they can take their seat at a tournament table.

The HORSE tournament sees buy-ins of $10,000, and is seen by many to be the truest test of all-round poker skill at the World Series. Players compete through rounds of different poker variants, from Texas Hold’em to Seven Card Stud/split Eights, to close on a winning player. While the HORSE tournament is no doubt the most grueling contest in terms of putting a player through their paces, it is still the Main Event that draws the biggest crowd.

Across each event, players compete against the table, narrowing down the field until a final table emerges. These players usually all qualify for a minimum prize amount, but with the option to walk away with the winner’s share of the prize money if it goes in their favour.

The Main Event

The flagship World Series of Poker event is the No-Limit Texas Hold’em tournament. Players buy in for $10,000, and play through each table to earn their seat at the final table, for the chance to win the gold bracelet, and the multimillion-dollar prize fund — not to mention bragging rights, as the “world champion” of poker. This year’s Main Event begins with starting flights on July 2-4, reaches the final table on July 11 and crowns a champion on July 14.

The Main Event remains the most coveted crown in poker, with the winner tasked with overcoming thousands of other players along the way to secure the title. The Main Event has become the marketing face of the World Series of Poker, with global audiences tuning in on TV and online to follow the action in its closing stages. As the audience grows, and more people worldwide are switched on to competitive poker, the World Series looks set to expand still further, with more new events, more tables and even bigger prize funds.

World Series of Poker Past Winners and Prizes