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Be Amazed by the World Series of Poker | Print |  E-mail
The World Series of Poker is like the Peyton Manning of poker. It's been around for so long that people tend to forget how great the WSOP was when it first began, or how remarkable it still is. Unlike the hundreds of poker websites that have burst onto the scene in the last couple years, and the handfuls of television shows, the WSOP was around when poker was distinguished card playing. It wasn't a trend or a fashion. Men smoked cigars over it and sipped whisky while carefully sizing up their opponents.

It was a pastime for men like Nicolas Dandolos, also known as Nick the Greek, and Benny Binion. These two were champion gamblers famous in the 1940s. It was small wonder, then, that Nick the Greek approached Binion to set up a match with the so-called champion of all poker players, Johnny Moss.

Binion agreed to the idea. Binion set up the match between Dandolos and Moss, and made sure to attract as much attention to the event by staging it in public. It was meant to be a marathon. All parties agreed to it after five months of discussions and negotiations. The World Series of Poker was founded in 1949. The players took breaks only to sleep. Moss came out on top and allegedly took home a $2 million purse. That amount was a casino's worth of money in 1949.

It wouldn't be for another 21 years before Binion decided to try the WSOP again. In 1970, he tried again and this time, officially called it the WSOP. Once more, Johnny Moss took care of business and walked away with the pot.

But now Binion knew he was onto something. He continued the World Series of Poker annually from then on. By 1982, there were 52 top poker players enlisted in the WSOP. In 2003, at the peak of the poker craze, when everyone believes he or she is a poker whiz, there were 839 people entered into the competition. The following year, there was an impressive 2,576 entered. When the WSOP moved to the much larger Rio Hotel Casino in 2005, the number of entries were overwhelming.
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