WSOP Has Changed Greatly From the Days it Started
The WSOP (World Series of Poker) started as a concept of Benny Binion. Although he had a checkered past linked to mobsters, murder and extortion, Binion excelled at gambling and at running a casino. Binion's Horseshoe Casino had the highest stakes in town, and it treated gamblers to a host of extras including, but not limited to, free drinks, free food and limousine service.
People knew Binion for his gambling skill. It's alleged that within one tournament, Binion won over two million dollars from Nick Dandolos. Binion's idea of holding an invitational tournament makes perfect sense with his background of high stakes gambling. He invited six other gamblers to join him for the first WSOP tournament in 1970. WSOP consisted a timed tournament with the gamblers spending their own money and upon its end, each gambler cast a ballot for the player whom they thought had played the best. The tournament proved such a success that they scheduled it annually and, as of 2009, the number of entrants for the Main Event has grown to 6,494.
WSOP Made Key Changes That Increased its Popularity Drastically
The WSOP made the first and arguably most important change the second year of its existence. It replaced to voting format with a “freeze out” style. In this style of poker, one receives a set amount of chips relative to one's entry fee or “buy-in” and when you lose your chips, you’re eliminated from the competition. In addition, Harrah's Entertainment purchased the rights to the WSOP in 2004, and they expanded the tournament to include several smaller tournaments whose winners gained access to the Main Event. These changes have moved the WSOP from a backroom game among a few high rollers into the worldwide phenomena it is today.