Interesting Facts About the World Series of Poker

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BetMGM Aug 15, 2022, 8:49 PM

Even if you prefer playing online poker over playing in person, there’s no doubt that you’ve heard of the World Series of Poker (WSOP.) This series of poker tournaments is undoubtedly one of the pinnacles of competitive poker, with players from all over the world taking part so they can test their skills against the best of the best. 

Join us as we share a brief summary and history of this prestigious event series, after which we’ll share six interesting facts about this thrilling poker championship.

A quick look at the WSOP

One of the aspects of the WSOP that makes it so great is that it’s open to both amateurs looking to try out some newly learned poker tournament tips and experienced players who can take advantage of weaker players through donk betting. This makes it an absolutely thrilling experience for spectators and participants, as it’s entirely possible for unknown players to walk away with a life-changing win. 

But does that mean anyone can play? Not exactly. There are two barriers to entry into the WSOP. First, you must be 21 or over. Second, you must be able to afford the buy-in or have secured a seat through a satellite tournament. If you are able to meet these two requirements, you’re free to take part in one of the most competitive poker tournament series on the planet.

A brief history of the WSOP

According to the article, “World Series of Poker: A Brief History,” a precursor event called the Texas Gamblers Reunion was the “seed” that would eventually grow into the first WSOP event. The first (and only) Texas Gamblers Reunion took place in 1969 and would bring together a number of poker’s finest players, including Benny Binion. When it was announced that there wouldn’t be another Texas Gamblers Reunion, Binion decided to pick up the mantle and host his own event. This led to Binion creating the World Series of Poker, and while it wouldn’t be quite the roaring success he hoped it would be from the start, it was the start of something truly special in the world of poker.

Fast-forward many decades later, and in 2022 the WSOP hosted its 53rd annual event. Norwegian Espen Jorstad managed to come out ahead of more than 8,600 opponents to claim the $10 million grand prize for the Main Event. That’s not so bad for a tournament that once only had seven attendees and didn’t even offer a first-place reward.

Interesting WSOP facts

Let’s explore six more of the incredible facts about the WSOP.

1. The first WSOP wasn’t even a tournament

While the event may be synonymous with tournament play today, the first WSOP wasn’t even a tournament. It started off as a series of poker games that ultimately ended with the players voting to decide who the best player was.

2. The very first, first-place prize was $30,000

A $30,000 reward was given to the player who managed to beat the competition in the 1971 WSOP. Johnny Moss, who had also won the first official WSOP in 1970, took home the novel first-place prize at this event. While $30,000 may not sound like much money today, even for jackpots in some casino table games and live dealer casino games, it was quite a lot of money at the time.

3. The bracelets were only introduced in 1976

Another iconic part of the WSOP experience is the winners receiving their honorary bracelets. However, these bracelets were only introduced in 1976, with prior events offering other items in recognition of a player’s victory.

4. The bracelets were (temporarily) replaced in 1982

Some players were unhappy to receive a bracelet in honor of their WSOP victory. Some believed these items of jewelry were too feminine and so the decision was made to replace the bracelet with a gold wristwatch. Unfortunately for the organizers, the watches were even less favored, resulting in a return of the bracelet in the 1983 event.

5. Phil Hellmuth has won the most WSOP bracelets (and has claim to other WSOP records)

With more than 50 years of history behind it, there’s absolutely no doubt that the WSOP has seen some incredible players take home the much-desired bracelets. However, there is one player who has taken home more than anyone else: Phil Hellmuth. He has walked away from the tournament with 16 bracelets and almost $17 million. This is currently six bracelets more than anyone else. Over the course of his WSOP career, Ivey has won about $9.2 million, almost half of Hellmuth’s total WSOP earnings. 

6. Apart from Hellmuth, only three other players have won 10 or more WSOP bracelets

Being able to win more than you lose in poker shows that you truly understand the game. Even when luck is not on your side, you know how the game works and are able to produce good results. It’s this ability that separates the good poker players from the great ones. It’s also this ability that separates the good WSOP players from the best, as only four players have been able to claim 10 or more WSOP bracelets over the course of their careers to date. They are Phil Hellmuth (of course,) Johnny Chan, Doyle Brunson and Phil Ivey (the last three all have 10 apiece.)

Play poker online for money at BetMGM

Whether you like to play online poker with friends or you prefer to take part in more serious online poker tournaments, BetMGM has a wide range of poker games for you to enjoy. From Texas Hold’em and Omaha to seven-card stud, there are also many thrilling poker variants for you to try out (although there are many other card games that poker players love.)

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.