The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is now a high level poker tournament that takes place annually in Las Vegas. However, the first event in 1970 involved only seven players and it was not until the early 1980s, when the WSOP launched satellite tournaments, that the event attracted more than fifty people. By the mid-1980s, that number had risen to over 2,000.
The television coverage of the series began in 1973 in the form of a special documentary narrated by Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder, the legendary Las Vegas bookmaker and sports commentator. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, CBS continued to provide light coverage of the event, which included late final table tape transmission in a few years.
In the late 1980s, ESPN took over from CBS and began providing fans with broad coverage of the event, albeit primitive compared to modern accessibility dominobet. The Discovery Channel briefly covered the event between 2000 and 2001, but ESPN resumed its reign at a time when the poker phenomenon was erupting.
The Internet was changing the poker landscape. The game was more accessible to the masses than ever before. Thanks to numerous online poker rooms, people around the world can play poker for money at any time. This created a sensation that peaked but remains very much alive today.
As this phenomenon began its rise, interest in the World Series of Poker, poker’s most prominent game, increased with it. ESPN was ready every step of the way to increase coverage to meet demand and even orchestrated a late 2008 final table to maximize ratings. Most years, viewers will be aware of the winner in advance, undermining part of the drama of the broadcast. In 2006, the WSOP peaked with 8,773 participating players.
While fans probably remember the 2002-2008 events as the signing moments of the WSOP, the event has a long and illustrious history. For example, we pay close attention to non-professionals who have won or are close to winning the final table. However, the first unprofessional to win was Hal Fowler and he did so in 1979. Some WSOP historians claim that Benny Binnion, the WSOP’s father, had to lend him the money for the entry fee.
During the 2000 WSOP, poker player Annie Duke made it to the final ten, just four less than that year’s final table. So in 2006, when Annie Duke reached the 88 finals, ESPN celebrated her success. One of its advertisers even commented that Duke could be the first woman to make the final table. However, the truth is that Barbara Enright had already become a legend winning this distinction in 1995.