Traditionally, 10-year anniversaries are celebrated with tin but the longest-running, richest and most prestigious tournament series, the World Series of Poker (WSOP), will celebrate with 65 gold bracelets this year (Pictured: Michigan’s Ryan Riess Wins WSOP Main Event in 2013 – Photo credit: Joe Giron/WSOP).
The 45th running of WSOP begins on Tuesday, May 27 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas – marking the 10th consecutive year the event has been held in the Rio Convention Center.
From the first open bracelet awarded to Allen Cunningham in 2005 to the river card of Ryan Riess’s Main Event victory this past fall, the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino has played host to a number of memorable moments over the past decade. The Rio’s maiden voyage as the host of the World Series of Poker was filled with a number of big name bracelet wins. A total of 526 gold braceletshave been awarded along with $1,624,431,566 in prize money since 2004.
Last year, the event attracted a record of 79,471 participants – the largest attendance in WSOP history – hailing from 107 countries, which is more than the amount of countries represented in the 2014 Winter Olympics. All participants competed for the game’s most coveted prize: a WSOP bracelet and a share of more than $197 million in total prize money.
“This is the poker world’s favorite time of the year – this is our Olympics,” said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart. “Anyone can enter, anyone can win; all you need is a chip and a chair – we have a table waiting for you.”
Dating back 44 years to 1970, WSOP has paid more than $1.8 billion in total prize money and the $2 billion mark should fall this year at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. The WSOP began in 1970, making it the oldest and most prestigious poker tournament in the world. The annual poker festival was initially held at Binion’s Horseshoe in Downtown Las Vegas, which played host to the eclectic gathering of poker aficionados and gamblers during the first 35 years. It was not until 2004, when Caesars Entertainment acquired WSOP that participation in the event grew exponentially.
Winning a WSOP tournament is a life-changing event, making instant stars and often instant millionaires out of those with a dream and the determination to outmaneuver and outlast the competition. Throughout the tournament tenure, WSOP has created 303 millionaires and this year, it will be possible to turn $1,500 into $1,000,000 at the Millionaire Maker event on Saturday, May 31. To kick-off opening weekend in grand style, WSOP will feature a one-day start, two-flight, single re-entry No-Limit Hold’em event, where the winner will receive at least $1 million.
On the same millionaire note, this year marks the return of the Big One for One Drop charity poker tournament that may award the largest first place prize ever – reaching approximately $20 million – and feature the most unique collection of millionaires ever assembled together. The largest buy-in poker tournament ever conceived with a $1 million entry fee is slated to take place from June 29 through July 1 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino and will be televised on ESPN over three consecutive Tuesdays on July 29, August 5 and August 12. From each entry fee, $111,111 will be donated to ONE DROP, with a goal of raising enough money for a legacy project that will help a country with access to clean water.
The Little One for One Drop, will also return starting Wednesday, July 2 and Thursday, July 3. WSOP has a long and successful track record of helping galvanize the generosity of the poker community to support worthwhile causes and the charity tournament is one of the best ways. The four-day $1,111 entry No-Limit Hold’em event taking place just before the Main Event will donate $111 from each entry to ONE DROP.
The Main Event begins on July 5 and the tournament will continue through July 14with a guaranteed $10,000,000 prize to the winner this year, to commemorate the tenth year at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.
Unlike other sporting events, anyone 21 years of age or older can enter, and anyone can win. Spectators over the age of 21 can watch the tournaments for free and cheer for their favorite players. Complimentary WIFI is also provided at the Rio Convention Center to all guests.
The World Series of Poker is the largest, richest and most prestigious gaming event in the world, having awarded more than $1.8 billion in prize money and the prestigious gold bracelet, globally recognized as the sport’s top prize. Featuring a comprehensive slate of tournaments in every major poker variation, the WSOP is poker’s longest-running tournament in the world, dating back to 1970. In 2013, the event attracted 79,471 entrants from 107 different countries to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, and awarded more than $197 million in prize money. In addition, the WSOP has formed groundbreaking alliances in broadcasting, digital media and corporate sponsorships, while successfully expanding the brand internationally with the advent of the World Series of Poker Europe in 2007 and the World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific in 2013. For more information on the World Series of Poker, please visit www.wsop.com.