History of the World Series of Poker From 1970 to 2022


Posted: July 6, 2022

Updated: July 6, 2022

  • The WSOP is the largest and most prestigious poker tournament
  • The history of the World Series of Poker started in 1970
  • How has the tournament changed over the years?

The World Series of Poker stands above other poker tournaments. It is the largest and most prestigious event of its kind. When did the WSOP become so popular among players? A brief history of the World Series of Poker will open the door to the most interesting facts about the tournament.  

What is the most popular and prestigious poker tournament in the world? Every gambler would name the World Series of Poker the number-one poker event of all time, but do you know how it emerged? Read a brief history of the WSOP, join the tournament online, or play poker variations from the event at Bet365!

Origins of the World Series of Poker 

The history of the World Series of Poker started in the 1970s. The idea to organize a set of poker tournaments for top players came to Benny Binion, who was the owner of Horseshoe Casino. As a result, the very first WSOP tournament took place in 1970 at Binion’s casino. 

The first WSOP tournament included five poker variations: Texas Hold ’em, Five-card Stud, Low-ball Draw (Deuce to Seven), Seven-card Stud, and Razz. The winner of the night was Johnny Moss, a Texas professional poker player who received a silver cup and the “World Champion of Poker” title. 

However, popularity came to WSOP one year later. In 1971, Benny Binion decided to promote his tournament and implemented the current format of the event: freezeout. In addition, he let the press cover the World Series of Poker. It was even televised by CBS Sports, one of the most popular television networks. This is how the tournament became widely known and recognizable in the US.

Chronology of the WSOP Expansions

The popularity of the World Series of Poker was growing fast. The tournament quickly became the number-one event in the world of poker. Best players arrived in the US to compete for the main WSOP prize and write down their names in the history of the World Series of Poker. Let’s take a quick look at the most important changes that influenced the tournament between 1978 and 2020.

  • The first woman joined the WSOP in 1978. Her name was Barbara Freer and she was a pioneer in a typically male world of poker. She won the tournament one year later.
  • The same year, the prize money in the WSOP Main Event was divided between the five best players. 
  • In 1982, the World Series of Poker expanded to 11 preliminary events.
  • Also in 1982, the tournament added the Ladies World Championship to the list of events.
  • In 1987, the main poker tourney was held in several casinos due to Horseshoe’s impossibility to accommodate all players. 

  • Benny Binion died in 1990, making his son Jack the main leader of the WSOP.
  • The same year, the first non-American poker player won the tournament. Mansour Matloubi from Iran won the main WSOP prize.
  • In 1991, the World Series of Poker paid out one million to the winner of the event for the first time.
  • Between 1999 and 2002, there was a dark period in the history of the WSOP. There were controversies between dealers and players, Jack Binion lost his influence, and many top players boycotted it. 
  • Chris Moneymaker’s victory in 2003 put the WSOP back on track, despite the rising popularity of the World Poker Tour. 
  • In 2004, Harrah’s (now Caesar’s Entertainment) bought the rights for the WSOP.
  • Between 2005 and 2013, the WSOP has been expanding in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania.
  • The WSOP was added to online gambling sites in 2020 due to the pandemic and a temporary ban on live events.

The Modern History of the World Series of Poker 

Nowadays, players can join the World Series of Poker online. Participating in the tournament is possible on the official WSOP website. If you are over 21 and are located in New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware, you can enjoy playing poker from home. In particular, you will receive access to legal poker events with real-money prizes.

As we have already mentioned, the World Series of Poker has influenced the rise of popularity of many poker tournaments. The World Poker Tour, Super Bowl of Poker, Poker Masters, and others emerged thanks to the popularity of the WSOP. Most of them are available at online poker sites in Ireland in 2022.

Click here to stay tuned with bet365 Casino 

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments