The World Series of Poker is now a world-famous poker tournament that takes place annually in Las Vegas. However, the first in 1970 involved only seven entrants and it was not until the early 1980s, when the World Series Of Poker began satellite tournaments, that the event drew more than fifty people. In the 80s the entrants had surpassed 2,000.
TV coverage of the game began as early as 1973 in the form of a documentary-style special narrated by Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder, the legendary Las Vegas bookie and American sports commentator. CBS sometimes showed the main event in the ’70s and ’80s only showing action from the final table of the World Series of Poker.
In the late 1980s, ESPN took over duties from CBS and began providing fans with extensive coverage of the event, albeit primitive compared to modern accessibility. From the year 2000 to 2001 The Discovery Channel and Travel Channel showcased the main event of the WSOP. This was short-lived as the sports broadcaster giant ESPN then took over the spotlight.
The power of computers and the World Wide Web was redefining the poker world. This made poker available to an unlimited number of people all around the world. Thanks to numerous online bookmakers, people from all over the world could play poker for money at any time. This created a sensation that has peaked but remains very much alive today.
As this phenomenon began its ascent, interest in The World Series of Poker, highest profile Texas Hold Em Poker game, ascended with it. Being aware of the true, increasing popularity of poker, ESPN stepped in to become the leading television broadcaster of the World Series of Poker. Not only did they televise the various days of the main event but also many of the other poker events that are run throughout the WSOP. Unfortunately, due to the need to keep players’ hole cards a secret throughout the tournament, the winner of the tournament is often known before the event is aired on tv. It was in the year of 2006 that the number of entrants reached an outstanding 8,773.
Many people only took notice of this major poker tournament from the early 2000s, but the WSOP actually has an elaborate history. Tons of attention is place on those amateur players, many who have won cheap World Series of Poker Satellites, that make it to the final table and win the coveted braclet. However, the first non-pro to win was Hal Fowler and he did it back in 1979. It is believed, though not confirmed, that the godfather of the World Series of Poker, Benny Binnion paid for his buy-in to the main event.
During the 2000 WSOP, female poker player Annie Duke made it to the final ten, just four short of the final table that year. Coming close in 2006, reaching the final 88, ESPN took the opportunity to congratulate and publicize Annie’s feat. One of the announcers even commented that Duke might be the first woman to reach the final table. However, the truth is that Barbara Enright had already become a legend, earning that distinction in 1995.
People also think that the infamous Johnny Chan was the only poker player in the history of the main event to have been 1 of the final 2 poker players at the final table 3 consecutive years. But the first player to ever win consecutive WSOP main events was Puggy Pearson, winning in ’71, ’72 and ’73. When he finally won the event in 1973, he also became the first non-Texan to accomplish the feat.