Poker History - A History of Poker Tournaments

World class poker tournaments are high stake tournaments played by professional players. The first poker tournament played was the World Series of Poker.

The Rise of Popular Poker

Although poker's exact origin is somewhat unclear, what is clear is that it was popular from the beginning and through its changes from a card game played with 25 cards to a game played with a full modern day card deck. Poker was played in America before the Civil War, and spread rapidly during the war.

When professional gamblers caught wind of the fact that poker had increased drastically in its popularity, they worked hard to ensure that the game would continue to be popular in order to profit from it. The World Series of Poker was the forerunner of all other poker tournaments.

The First Big Poker Tournament - World Series of Poker

In 1970, the history of poker tournaments began in earnest. In America, poker tournament play became popular with the first World Series of Poker (WSOP). Later in the 1970s, a number of poker strategy books were written.

Since its inception, the WSOP has been the most important poker event in the history of poker. Professional poker players all share the same dream, to play in and be a part of the WSOP event. The World Series of Poker began in Reno. It was started by Tom Morehead of the Riverside Casino, and was an invitation only event. The first tournament took place in the Binion's Horseshoe Casino, with seven players in attendance.

The winner of the very first WSOP tournament was Johnny Moss, who received a silver cup for his victory. Johnny Moss received the title as the first World Champion of Poker. The first event was played in front of an audience, with the players voting for which player was the best, and not until all the chips were won. Johnny Moss won with a unanimous vote.

The next year, WSOP was run as a freeze-out, winner-take-all, and was again won by Johnny Moss. The game evolved over time into a shared purse tournament, with the winner and other top players placing in the money.

Over time, the number of players participating in the event has risen by leaps and bounds to the thousands. The WSOP tournament's main event now is run as a $10,000 buy-in no-limit Texas Hold 'Em tournament. Players who do not have the $10,000 buy-in money can play in satellite tournaments which give the top players entry in the WSOP. Players winning the WSOP can win millions.

The World Poker Tour - Poker on Television

The World Poker Tour (WPT) held their first poker tournament on the Travel Channel, beginning February 1, 2004. The idea behind this tournament was that a televised tournament would attract thousands of spectators and also players. The WPT helped to take the existing poker-mania to a new level.

The WPT is played as a 15 high-stakes Texas Hold'em tournament series. 12 of the tournaments were transmitted on the Travel Channel to thousands of viewers while the players played in the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas in the United States. Buy-ins for the tournament were around $25,000, with winners winning $1,000,000 for the WPT Champtionship, and smaller prizes for the smaller tournaments connected to the WPT.