If you are playing online poker with friends, you likely spotted information or an ad for the World Series of Poker.
Those who love poker naturally wonder what is the WSOP.
If you are one of those not familiar with the WSOP, then you'll find the following article very insightful.
The World Series of Poker is the largest poker event of the year, featuring dozens of different tournaments. The Series's pinnacle is the Main Event, a large $10,000 No Limit Hold’em tournament that attracts thousands of players each year.
About World Series of Poker
The World Series of Poker history started back in 1970 when Ben Binion came up with the idea to invite some of the best poker players to square off against each other on the green felt.
Ever since, the event has been taking place once a year in Las Vegas during summer, with the number of tournaments and players constantly growing.
The year 2020 was the first time in over five decades that the WSOP didn’t take place in Las Vegas but was instead moved online because of the Coronavirus situation.
Over the years, the Series has grown into the biggest and most important event in poker, attracting amateurs and professionals alike to compete for their share of massive prize pools and coveted WSOP bracelets.
The WSOP saw a real explosion in numbers after 2003 when an unknown (at the time) accountant from Tennessee took down the Main Event after earning his seat in an $80 online qualifier and turning it into $2.5 million.
Who is eligible to play in the World Series of Poker?
One of the reasons why the competition is so popular and exciting is that basically anyone can enter.
All that is required to participate in the World Series of Poker is for you to be physically in Nevada and to be at least 21 years old.
These days you can even compete in a number of online events, playing from the comfort of your own home.
To enter a particular tournament, you’ll need to pay a buy-in, which can be anywhere from a few hundred to a few hundred thousand bucks, depending on the event.
Alternatively, you can win your seat through qualifying tournaments (satellites), which you can find at live venues as well as top 10 casinos and online poker rooms in Australia.
How to Play in the WSOP Main Event
When players dream of playing in the WSOP, they usually dream about the Main Event, which is the unofficial world championship of poker.
There are two ways to earn your seat in the Main Event. One of them is, as mentioned, by winning one of the satellite tournaments. This is actually a bankroll-friendly option that allows many amateur players to rub their elbows with the best for at least a day or two.
The second option is to buy-in directly, but this pleasure will cost you $10,000.
It's interesting to note that the buy-in for the Main Event hasn't changed in over 50 years. Although the value of the dollar has gone down significantly since 1970, the buy-in remains $10,000, and the organizers are looking to keep it that way as it is tradition.
Are players using real money During the WSOP?
Even though you are paying real money to enter the tournament, the chips you get don't have a monetary value. They are given to players to measure their overall performance and progress in the tournament.
That being said, there are payouts for a portion of the players who outperform the majority of competitors.
If you finish among the top 10% – 15% of the players, you become eligible for payouts. The amount you get scales with your performance, so those at the very top win significantly more money.
Of course, the bulk of the money is paid to those who made it to the coveted final table, i.e., the final nine players out of thousands that enter every year.
Is it possible to play the World Series with friends?
At the professional tournament, you cannot choose where you are going to be seated. The reasons are obvious, as two friends at the same table could play together and gain an advantage over the rest of the table.
If you end up at the same WSOP table with your friends by some chance, it's purely random.
However, if anyone uses this situation to try and cheat, they are at risk of being disqualified. You can play with friends online if you invite them to the WSOP app, which can be really fun.
How much is a World Series of Poker bracelet worth?
Players who win a bracelet don’t typically put a monetary value on it as it is a prized trophy rather than a piece of jewelry.
The bracelet that a winner gets is very expensive to make, and the actual crafting cost is not revealed.
One of the Main Event winners, Peter Eastgate, did sell his bracelet in 2010 on eBay for $147,000.
How do WSOP winners get paid?
Winners receive a cash prize that varies based on the available prize pool. The prize money pool is determined once the final number of players in the tournament is known.
In other words, the prize pool varies depending on how many players enter and pay for their seats.
The prize pool money is distributed among the best players, and for large tournaments such as the Main Event, those finishing in the top ten spots often receive seven-figure payouts for their efforts.
Is there a World Series of Poker App?
If you want to play poker on your phone and online, you can download the World Series of Poker app for Android and iOS.
This is a good way to pass the time and polish your poker skills for free. There are also real money WSOP apps that organize online tournaments. In fact, during the WSOP, you can compete on these apps for your shot at a real bracelet.
Famous WSOP winners and their stories
The World Series of Poker has seen its fair share of successful players who left their mark on the game's history. These are just a few names out of many.
One of the most famous Main Event winners with an interesting story is Chris Moneymaker. Chris won the 2003 event that awarded $2,550,000 to the winner.
This victory was so notable because Moneymaker was the first online qualifier to win the Main Event. His story got many other people interested in the game and led to what came to be known as the “Moneymaker effect.”
Although not the world champion, Darvin Moon came close in 2009. What makes his story so interesting is that this was his first time competing in a major event, and he was a poker amateur by all standards.
It's a story of how fortune favors the bold and that no matter who you are, you always stand a chance in this competition.
Eastgate is one of the youngest players ever to win the WSOP Main Event, but in his interviews, he’s always said that he is an introvert who doesn’t like the spotlight.
He loves playing poker, but the trophy did not have a high sentimental value to him. Instead of sticking to his bracelet, Eastgate decided to sell it on eBay, donating all proceeds to charity.
Will there be World Series of Poker in 2021?
Yes, there will be the 2021 WSOP. The only question is, whether tournaments will come back to the home soil in Las Vegas or if the organizers will decide to stick to the online format.
This is highly dependent on the pandemic situation in the following months. If all conditions are met, players will probably be thrilled to meet once again at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, the home of the World Series of Poker.
Now that you know what the World Series of Poker is all about, you might be tempted to try and join yourself in the near future.
Even if you don’t have a big bankroll, you still have a shot, as it’s possible to earn your seat via qualifiers, which start as low as $1. With some skills and a lot of luck, you might become the next Chris Moneymaker.
After all, once cards are in the air, you never know how poker hands will break down and where the chips might land in the end!