Since it began in 1970, the World Series of Poker has become the most important poker festival on the planet.
The first Series attracted just seven players and consisted of cash games played across different poker variants. The winner was decided by vote, with the legendary Johnny Moss emerging as the first ever Champion. The format changed in 1971 to the now familiar freezeout tournament structure, a decision that helped make the series more exciting.
As the years went by, the field sizes began to grow, as did the prizes up for grabs. There were also more events added, in a wider range of poker games. The focus of attention however has always been the Main Event. With a $10,000 buy-in that’s remained since day one, the winner is awarded a huge cash prize and crowned World Champion. It’s here that legends of the game have been made, names like Doyle Brunson, Stu Ungar and Johnny Chan.
By 2003, online poker was gaining popularity and PokerStars was about to change the face of the WSOP* forever. After winning his seat via a $39 satellite, amateur player Chris Moneymaker won the Main Event, taking away prize money of $2,500,000. And so began the ‘Moneymaker Effect’, his victory inspiring thousands of other everyday players to try their luck at World Series glory. The following year, PokerStars qualifier Greg Raymer also went on to win the championship, earning prize money of $5,000,000. The result was massive growth, peaking in 2006 when 8,773 players entered the Main Event, generating first place prize money of $12,000,000. With huge fields again in 2007, the World Series shows no sign of slowing down.
PokerStars sends more players to the Main Event than any other site. In fact, since 2002 over 3,600 qualifiers have won a seat via our satellites. For your chance to become part of World Series history in 2008, go to our qualifying page. Read about how members of Team PokerStars Pro and many of our qualifiers have performed at the World Series.
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World Series of Poker