First Big Poker Game – It All Started With “The Texas Gamblers Reunion”
Today poker is one of the most popular gambling entertainment in the world. A game in which one luck is not enough, with a wide spread of Casino Advantage from 0.5% to 5.22%. But this popularity is still acquired. Let’s plunge into history a little and find out how players came to organize large tournaments, which can be very prestigious and financially profitable to participate in.
Modern festivals are held at the highest level, and this applies to both terrestrial and online formats. Participants with world names and multi-million dollar achievements, media coverage and titles – thousands, and maybe tens of thousands of people who want to try to take part and win in poker tournaments.
But the first bright and quite large-scale event associated with the mass, so to speak, poker game took place in 1968. It happened in the American state of Texas at the initiative of hotelier Tom Moore. A native of Texas San Antonio, owner of the Holiday Hotel and Casino in Reno, he decided to run a massive advertising campaign for his hotel and casino, inviting people, regardless of city or country of residence, to a big poker competition.
This peculiar tournament was called “The Texas Gamblers Reunion” – the beginning of the world series was laid. The victory was won by American Crandell Addington, who, by the way, was marked by a poker record, as he was eight times in the top ten players in the WSOP – World Series of Poker.
Two years later, the first official tournament took place; it was held in Las Vegas at the Benny Binion Horseshoe casino at the initiative of its owner, Mr. Benny Binion. The festival lasted seven days, there were only six participants, and the entrance fee was then five thousand American dollars. It was 1970. The winner, world champion in poker and the owner of the silver cup, was Johnny Moss, who later received the nickname: “The Great Old Man of Poker”.
The name of this tournament was very fitting “World Series of Poker” – World Series of Poker with the familiar to many an acronym WSOP. The eventful history of the tournament had its own record holders and legendary participants such as the aforementioned Mr. Moss – he came out on top three times and died in Las Vegas at the age of 88, leading a measured life without gambling. Another WSOP hero is a three-time winner – Steward Unger. His biography formed the basis of the popular film “The Gambler”, Stu also lived in the entertainment capital until the last day, but stopped his life at only 40 years old, ruining himself with illegal drugs.
The popularity of the tournament quickly gained momentum, and the number of incoming applications for participation grew exponentially every year – for reference, in 1970 and 1971 – six people each and a prize pool of thirty thousand dollars. And 30 years later, in 2003, the peak of the popularity of this event comes due to the victory of the newcomer, the humble accountant Chris Moneymaker. He went on to win the series by winning $ 2.5 million and a WSOP gold bracelet, paying an introductory $ 39 to an online poker satellite. The participant’s name went down in the history of gambling, and became a household name. Now every gambler knows about the Moneymaker Effect.
So, already in the next year, after this incident, the number of participants reached more than two and a half thousand people. And in 2006, almost nine thousand players took part in the festival – more precisely, 8770 people, and the prize fund was 12 million US dollars.