Poker is a popular game and has evolved into a global competition, captivating millions of players and fans worldwide. The World Series of Poker (WSOP) first launched in 1970 and has continued to thrive as the most prestigious event in the history of the game. The inaugural tournament was held in Las Vegas, and Johnny Moss was the first poker player to go home with the prized trophy.
Since then, the tournament has evolved and grown into a much larger competition that attracts players from all walks of life, including celebrities. The past tournaments had high-profile athletes like Neymar Junior, Gerard Pique, Arturo Vidal, and Michael Phelps, among others.
Entry into the competition comes in two ways. The first is to participate in satellite tournaments held both online and offline. The winners are elevated and allowed to participate in the main event. The second option is to buy your way in, and this is the easiest route for popular celebrity players. The buy-in for the last WSOP event was $10,000.
Throughout its history, the WSOP has witnessed extraordinary moments that include displays of tremendous skills and the biggest bluffs. Let’s dive into some of these moments in the history of the tournament.
Doyle Brunson’s Historic Triumph in 1977
Arguably one of the Godfathers of Poker, Doyle Brunson played his first game in 1970 and went on to win an impressive 10 WSOP tournament bracelets, making him one of the top players in history.
However, the moment that stands out in his career was winning the WSOP Main Event two times in a row, in 1976 and 1977. His victory is even more remarkable because he won both tournaments with the same cards: 10-2. This unique coincidence, now famously known as the “Doyle Brunson Hand,” showcased his incredible skill and ability to turn unfavorable odds in his favor.
In the 1977 game against Berland, Brunson’s hole cards were a familiar pair: a 10 and a 2. Berland, on the other hand, received an 8 and a 5. As the community cards were revealed, the table displayed 10, 8, and 5. Berland decided to check, and Brunson followed suit.
The turn card revealed the much-awaited 2, prompting Brunson to make a confident bet. Berland, feeling a surge of desperation, decided to go all in. The ten and two of spades became a symbol of his unwavering spirit and success in the game of poker. Whether you’re a poker enthusiast or simply someone intrigued by extraordinary stories, the tale of Doyle Brunson’s incredible victory in 1977 captures the excitement and allure of the game.
Johnny Chan’s Back-to-Back Wins (1987-1988)
Johnny Chan stands as a remarkable figure in the realm of professional poker, boasting an impressive track record in his career. Notably, he achieved consecutive triumphs in the highly esteemed World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event in 1987 and 1988.
In 1987, Chan faced a formidable opponent, Frank H., in a heads-up battle. The final hand of the tournament saw Chan holding a pair of eights while his adversary had an Ace and a Queen. The
community cards failed to improve either player’s hand, and Chan’s pair of eights held strong, leading him to triumph.
The following year, in 1988, Johnny Chan returned to defend his title. The final heads-up confrontation featured Erik S., a talented young player. The 1988 final hand is widely remembered as one of the most thrilling moments in poker history. Chan held a Queen and a Nine of hearts, while Erik had a suited King and a Nine. The flop revealed a King, Nine, and Seven of hearts, granting Chan a flush draw and Seidel a top two pair. The turn didn’t impact the situation, but the river unveiled the Ace of Hearts and propelled him to victory.
The Brilliant Poker Move: Antonio Esfandiari’s Tactical Play (2012)
In 2012, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) witnessed an extraordinary display of skill by Antonio Esfandiari, a renowned and strategic player. During the “Big One for One Drop,” a high-stakes tournament with a $1 million buy-in, Antonio was against Phil Hellmuth, Brian Rast, Sam Trickett, and Richard Young, a real table of the giants.
In the winning game in the “One for One Drop” against tough opponent Sam Trickett, Esfandiari made a bold bluff. Instead of playing it safe, he took a risky approach to take advantage of Trickett’s weaknesses.
Esfandiari carefully built a story throughout the round, making it seem like he had a strong hand when he actually didn’t. He bet aggressively and used his wits to make Trickett doubt his own
Cards. Under the mounting pressure, Trickett eventually folded, giving Esfandiari a big pot and a huge advantage at the final table. This move showed Esfandiari’s ability to read his opponents and make smart decisions.
Unexpected Triumph of Qui Nguyen (2016)
In the 2016 WSOP Main Event, Qui Nguyen emerged as the unexpected victor, creating a memorable chapter in poker history. Originally from Vietnam, Nguyen captivated the audience with his unconventional style, resilience, and strategic acumen.
Throughout the tournament, Nguyen’s fearless and unpredictable approach kept his opponents off balance. He deftly maneuvered through a massive field of 6,737 players, outlasting top professionals along the way.
In the final hand against Gordon Vayo, which lasted 364 hands, Nguyen secured the winning hand on a board that offered possibilities for both players. With a pair of Kings and a ten kicker, he outmatched Vayo’s hand, securing his victory. By claiming the prize pool of $8 million, Qui Nguyen etched his name in poker history.
The WSOP main event is one of the most anticipated tournaments in the history of card games. The event hosts players and top celebrities from all walks of life who come to experience firsthand the making of a new history. However, it is also open to everyone. Whichever way you plan to enter the event, ensure that you have an expert strategy guide to win.