Annually in the city of Las Vegas, Nevada the World Series Of Poker is held and is currently the world’s most popular poker event. However, the initial tournament in 1970 involved only seven participants 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 players had surpassed 2,000.
In the 1970s the first broadcasts of the WSOP were aired. These were produced and broadcasted as documentaries as opposed to a sporting event being narrated by Jimmy Snyder. CBS periodically showed the main event in the ’70s and ’80s only showing action from the final table of the WSOP.
By the end of the ’80s ESPN had positioned themselves as the goto broadcaster of this poker event, airing continuous footage of each stage of the tournament. The Discovery Channel briefly covered the event from 2000-2001 but ESPN resumed the reigns just as the poker phenomenon was erupting.
The power of computers and the World Wide Web was redefining the poker world. The game was more accessible to the masses than it had ever been. Thanks to numerous online bookmakers, people from all over the world could play poker for money at any time. This has led to a desire for the game that many believe has now plateued but nonetheless continues to live on.
The World Series of Poker then grew much attention and interest from the public and media, with Texas Hold Em Poker becoming the most popular form of poker being played worldwide. 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.
Although fans are likely to remember the events from 2002-2008 as the WSOP’s signature moments, the event has a long and illustrious 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. Some WSOP historians assert that Benny Binnion, the father of the WSOP, had to lend him the money for the entry fee.
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. At the time a poker commentator stated that Annie Duke could even become the very first female to ever make it to the final table of the main event. But in 1995 a female poker player by the name of Barbara Enright actually made the final table, finishing 5th in the World Series of Poker main event that year.
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. However, Tennessee native Puggy Pearson was the first to do that back in 1971, 1972 and 1973. When he finally won the event in 1973, he also became the first non-Texan to accomplish the feat.