Quick History of the World Series of Poker Venues

History of World Series of Poker Venues

The WSOP Keeps Moving: Here are the Casinos, Year-by-Year

The World Series of Poker first took place in 1970. Up to 2021 it had only ever been played at two venues. In 2022 it is all change with the prestigious event moving to a brand-new home. The WSOP events will be played at Paris Las Vegas and Bally’s (which is soon to be Horseshoe Las Vegas). This joint casino venture offers the largest floorspace in the tournament’s history.

Here is a look at the history of the two venues where the World Series of Poker has been played:

The Original World Series: How It Started

The first ever World Series of Poker event took place at Binion’s Horseshoe. The idea for the event is said to have come about in 1969 at the ‘Texas Gambler’s Reunion’. The world’s best poker players got together to play a series of high stakes cash games.

At the tables were infamous figures – including Jimmy ‘The Greek’ Snyder, Minnesota Fats and Benny Binion.

Inspired by the event, Binion would launch the first ever World Series of Poker several months later.

Early WSOP Days at Binion’s Horseshoe Las Vegas

In 1970, poker had barely taken hold in Las Vegas. There were less than 50 tables in the city and less than 70 in the whole of Nevada.

The inaugural WSOP took place in what was an alcove at Binion’s Horseshoe, where around 30 players were crowded around the tables. The first ever event was vastly different to the series we have today. In 1970, the World Series of Poker comprised of a series of cash games. Johnny Moss was named the first ever world champion not by winning a poker tournament, but by being voted as the best overall player (in the cash games) by his peers.

Moss Won Twice

Moss would win again the following year, but the success of ‘Amarillo Sim’ in 1972 gave the WSOP its first glimpse of public attention, the Texan becoming an ambassador for the game. That year, Amarillo Slim would only beat 11 other players, but his success would lead to numerous appearances on the Tonight Show, appearances in movies and a best-selling book.

The event was televised for the first time in 1973 and the expansion of the event would begin. Over the next several years more and more events were added into the schedule. Many of the world’s best poker players would add their names to the list of World Champions over the next 3 decades including Doyle Brunson, Stu Ungar, Johnny Chan, and Phil Hellmuth.


Online Qualifiers Remake the World Series

2003 was a pivotal year for the World Series of Poker. Online poker was just starting out and online qualifier, Chris Moneymaker, won the Main Event. Suddenly, every online player on the planet now felt they had a chance at winning coveted bracelet. This saw the start of the online poker boom and the World Series of Poker was suddenly the dream for all.

Suddenly the number of entries sky-rocketed, as did the prize money.

Rio All-Suites Casino and Hotel

This unprecedented growth of the series led to a series of changes. First Binion’s Horseshoe was sold off in 2004 and the rights to the series became the property of Harrah’s Entertainment. The tournament, with its now over-sized fields, needed a new, larger venue. In 2005, the event moved to the Rio Casino and Hotel.

In 2005, 45 events took place as part of the World Series of Poker series. Joe Hachem won the main event, although for this first year, the final table of the main event headed back to the Binion’s Horseshoe. 2006 saw the largest ever entry into the main event, with 8,773 players taking their seats, with winner Jamie Gold pocketing an incredible $12 million for his success.

Since 2006, the number of events has continued to grow year on year. The final year at RIO All-Suites Casino and Hotel in 2021 saw an incredible 88 events take place. The final winner of the main event at the venue was German Koray Aldemir who won $8 million.

World Series Venues

2022 and Beyond: The WSOP Returns to the Horseshoe (Bally’s!)

In 2022, the World Series of Poker is moving to the Las Vegas Strip and for the first time will be jointly hosted. The joint hosts are Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas, with Bally’s soon to be renamed ‘Horseshoe Las Vegas.’

These properties are linked by a walkway, allowing for easy travel between the two sites. Between the two casino sites there is a total of 150,000 square feet set aside for poker, with 600 tables in place for the event.

On announcement, World Series of Poker Senior Vice President, Ty Stewart stated:

We are excited to usher in a new era of WSOP next summer

You can qualify for the WSOP - with online satellites starting at just $1. 

Check out my WSOP Satellite Qualifiers main page for the easiest ways to win a seat!



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