Although I did not win a seat in the main tournament through a satellite, (or have the $10, 000 to buy one) I was invited to play in the Media/Charity Tournament that was held on Sunday night. The top three finishers would have money donated to the charity of their choice and would also receive one of the coveted WSOP jackets that are given to players making a final table appearance in a WOP event. Although there was no real money on the line, it was an actual WSOP event and I experienced a thrill as I was handed my tournament seating card telling me I would be playing at table 88, Seat 7.
I wish that I could tell you that I went on to win the event but unfortunately I went all in with 9-Ten when the flop showed Ten- Ten- 6 and lost to another player holding Ten Jack. Thus my dream of winning the jacket was ended
This took place in the tournament area where the last of the satellites were being held and there were many players in line for the last chance to win a seat in the big one. The atmosphere at Binions was electric. This years tournament would break another record for the number of players entered in the Big Tournament.
The steady growth of the tournament is a tribute to the Legacy of Benny Binion, founder of the Horseshoe Casino. The first WSOP took place in 1970 but the prelude leading up to the creation of the event took place back in 1949 when Benny Binion was approached by gambler "Nick The Greek" Dandolas with an unusual request. Dandolas asked Binion if he could set up a marathon poker match with the best poker player for a high stakes contest. Binion set up the match with legendary poker player Johnny Moss with the agreement that the match would be played where the public could view it.
They played for five straight months taking breaks only to sleep. During the marathon the public would gather to watch them play every form of poker. The public loved it. Moss finally won the battle and around 2 million dollars for his effort. In 1970, Binion decided to re-create the event in the form of the World Series of Poker. Johnny Moss won all five events that were played and was voted in by his fellow players as World Champion. The following year the tournament was held with a freeze out format that they use today. Johnny Moss again won that year. The tournament has grown substantially since its humble beginnings. The first year there were seven players and in 1971 there were thirteen.
In the early years only the professionals, or those that were financially well off could participate because of hefty $10,000 entry fee. This changed in the 1980s with the advent of satellite and super satellite tournaments that allowed players to win their entry into the big game. A player can enter a satellite tournament for a couple hundred dollars and go on to win it all at the final table. Last year's winner Noel Furlong proved that it could be done. He entered a $300 super satellite tournament and went on to win it all to join the elite ranks of the past champions. Anyone with a dream, determination and a desire to learn the game and can someday be sitting at the final table.
In 2000 the wsop had 450 players.This years tournament brought a field of 839 players, almost doubling the size of the event in a mere three years.
Its not just the ranks of players that have been growing. Over the last few years the WSOP and other major Poker tournaments have beencapturing the interest of the general public. This is in evidenced by the amount of coverage these events are receiving from the media. The new World Poker Tour show that is broadcast weekly on the Travel Channel has been a big success.