In the year 1969, a mini poker tournament “Texas Gambling Reunion” was organized at a casino in Reno, United States by a poker enthusiast Tom Moore. One of the best poker players were invited to participate in the tournament which was won by Crandell Addington. Although this event laid the foundation of WSOP, it was only in 1970 that the first ever World Series of Poker was held at Horseshoe casino, Las Vegas. It was organized by Benny Binion, the owner of the casino and poker enthusiast. The first WSOP saw a series of cash games being played that included Texas Holdem, 7 Card Stud, 5 Card Stud, Razz etc. Johnny Moss emerged as the first World Champion of Poker and received a silver cup.
All WSOP events have been cash tournaments. Currently Texas Holdem, Omaha Holdem, 7 Card Stud and other lowball variants like Razz etc. are played. Like most other poker cash tournaments, here too the sponsoring casino takes an entry fee depending upon the buy-in and gives out the rest to the winners. The winner of the 2010 WSOP main event received a bracelet along with prize money of nearly 9 million US dollars.
Over the years, the WSOP has grown immensely both in the number of events being conducted by it as well as in the number of participants taking part in these events. Every year the WSOP culminates into a $10,000 No-Limit Holdem main event which has attracted thousands of entrants. The winner of this main event receives multi-million dollar prize money and a gold bracelet, which remains the dream of every poker player.
In 1970, the winner of the WSOP main event was selected by secret ballot. In 1971, the main event was $5000 Buy-in No Limit Texas Holdem. From 1972 onwards, the main event has been $10,000 Buy-in No Limit Texas Holdem Poker Tournament. The winner of the main event gets the largest prize of the tournament along with a gold bracelet. Add to that, their picture is placed in the Gallery of Champions at the legendry Binion’s Horseshoe.
The Player of the Year (POY) title is awarded to the player with most number of points accumulated throughout the WSOP; this includes only the open events, where all players can participate. However, until 2010, the POY was based upon the performance of the player solely at the WSOP in Las Vegas; but from 2011 onwards the POY is declared on the basis of performance of a player in WSOP Las Vegas as well as WSOP Europe.
The Player of the Year title for the year 2011 was awarded to Ben Lamb.