Oral history of the 2003 World Series of Poker

Eric Raskin has put together an excellent oral history of the 2003 World Series of Poker in Grantland, one of the seminal events in the poker phenomenon that has grown over the years in the US and around the world.

In 1970, Benny Binion put together a publicity stunt to promote his casino in downtown Las Vegas. He sent out invitations to Johnny Moss, Doyle Brunson, Amarillo Slim Preston, and the rest of the world’s greatest card players and called it the World Series of Poker. Seven of them played cash games at Binion’s Horseshoe for three straight days, and when it was over, Moss was named “champion” in a vote of his peers. The next year, six entrants paid $5,000 apiece for the right to play in a no-limit Texas Hold ‘em “freezeout” tournament, in which everyone started with the same number of chips and they played until one man had all the money. A year later, the buy-in doubled to $10,000. In the four decades since, the basic rules of the tournament and the amount of money required to enter have remained constant.

But the number of participants has not. The World Series of Poker main event surpassed 100 players for the first time in 1982. It cracked 200 in ’91, the first year in which the winner claimed a seven-figure cash prize. In 2002, 631 players entered, and the payout was $2 million.

Then came 2003. The 34th-annual World Series of Poker transformed the event into a pop-culture phenomenon. The numbers — by 2006, 8,773 players vied for a first-place prize of $12 million — illustrate how exponential the growth was. Poker went from a game understood by few and played in smoky backrooms to a television staple. In this 10th-anniversary oral history, more than 30 people who were part of the event explain what happened and what it meant for the poker business.

Check out the entire article for a very informative and entertaining read.

You can see the final hand above where Chris Moneymaker wins the tournament. Movies like “Rounders” from 1998 also helped fuel that game’s popularity, but that 2003 tournament helped fans the flames.

There are so many ways to enjoy gambling and poker these days at casinos around the country and online at Metro Play Casino and other great sites that it’s hard to think back to the days when most of the action was in Las Vegas and in back room poker games. Fortunately most people can now drive to a poker room or hone their skills online, and now the World Series of Poker is dominated by guys inspired by Chris Moneymaker. If you’re heading to Vegas and want to test your poker skills, you have to try your hand at this tournament.

  

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Google Glass not welcome in Las Vegas?

Get ready for the Google Glass and camera revolution. We’re entering a new phase of the mobile technology revolution where everything around us or everything we observe can be recorded. We’ve seen how powerful video can be with people pulling out their smart phones when something happens, but with Google Glass and other devices that can constantly record what’s around you we’ve reached a new level.

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How to KO the Bookmakers

Out of all of the sports that you can bet on, it would be fair to say that boxing grabs much less attention than others. This could be for a number of reasons – with the biggest probably being that fights between the elite are simply few and far between. Nevertheless, everyone knows that there is a huge amount of money involved in the sport and thus, it’s possible for you to make large sums if you can get your boxing betting offers strategy correct.

We’ll now take a look at some key tips that could help improve your profits from boxing drastically.

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Vegas Vic’s Free Pick: Pitt over Notre Dame

Notre Dame had a huge road win last weekend, and the Fighting Irish have certainly gotten everyone’s attention. After years of mediocrity, Notre Dame is certainly relevant again.

Take a look at the college football lines for this week and you’ll see Notre Dame is a 17 point favorite over Pitt? Can they cover? Here’s this week’s free pick from Vegas Vic:

3:30 Eastern (Saturday, November 3rd)
Pittsburgh +17 over Notre Dame

You have to figure the Irish are going to be somewhat flat in this situation if not totally flat in this situation as a double digit home favorite coming off of last weeks huge/satisfying national tv 30-13 upset road win at Oklahoma as a double digit road underdog crushing the Sooners. Lines do matter in perception. Who is the underdog and who is the favorite does matter in scheduling/situations/results. Pittsburgh is just good enough to give Notre Dame a fight and the Panthers are playing with double revenge having lost 17-23 and 12-15 the last 2 seasons vs Notre Dame. If the Irish show up flat in this situation off last weeks big win at Oklahoma they are going to be hard pressed to cover -17 points. If the Irish show up totally flat in this situation their 8-0 start ends with an outright Pittsburgh upset…

There you have it.

  

Bet the House!

Bullz-Eye publisher Gerardo Orlando recently spoke with Richard Roeper about his new book – “Bet the House.” Roeper loves to gamble, so he came up with a great idea for a book after seeing Morgan Spurlock’s documentary “Super Size Me.” Roeper concocted his own 30-day challenge – he would bet at least $1,000 per day of his own money every day over a 30-day period. It’s a great read and we highly recommend it if you like to gamble. Roeper tries just about every form of wagering he could think of, from poker to a coin flip. He covers blackjack, slots, craps, sports betting, horse racing and much more, along with numerous trips to Las Vegas and some great stories about the Kentucky Derby.

His stories about some of the characters you run into when playing poker are hilarious.

BE: Some of the funniest parts of the book were the references to some of the other poker players you played with – the stereotypical, young poker player with the trucker hat, sunglasses, headphones. Talk a little bit about that because we’ve all run into those characters when we’ve played poker.

RR: Well yeah, it’s been about what…six, seven years now since the poker boom really hit, in the early 2000’s. So you know, you get a lot of these young players who, you know they were 14 or 15, watching the World Series of Poker and they have really been influenced by it, to me, in a comical way. Where they see these guys on TV with the sunglasses and the headphones and the Ed Hardy t-shirts and all that stuff. And they all think that they’re the next sensation and they’re so, you know, so serious and…unfortunately, it’s also given a lot of people license to really behave badly, in a boorish manner at the tables. And they don’t get it that if you’re Phil Hellmuth, you get away with it because you’ve got 11 bracelets and you’ve created a persona. If you’re some kid playing at a charity tournament in Chicago, you know, lighten up, get over yourself.

BE: Yeah, it’s hilarious when you run into those guys.

RR: I love messing with them.

  

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