88 Fun Facts about the World Series Of Poker

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wsop 888poker 2017 WSOP is right around the corner

For the third year in a row we, at 888poker, will return as the official sponsor of the World Series of Poker.

As part of the sponsorship deal, we will be prominently featured on the WSOP live updates and website, as well as on each WSOP live stream and on ESPN's coverage of the WSOP Main Event. The sponsorship deal also gives us exclusive rights to run official WSOP satellites online.

With the 2017 WSOP right around the corner, we thought it'd be fun to offer you some fun facts from the 48-year history of poker's most prestigious tournament series. Because 888 facts would be far too many, we opted to boil it down to 88 facts.

  • The 2006 WSOP Main Event was the largest in history with 8,773 players. The next closest was the 2010 Main Event, which drew 7,319 players.
  • The WSOP introduced the November Nine concept in 2008 and retired it after the 2016 WSOP.
  • The average age of participants in the 2016 WSOP Main Event was 40.09 years old.
  • The first time the WSOP was shown on television was 1973. It was for a CBS documentary narrated by Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder.
  • Since the introduction of the November Nine in 2008, only one player made it twice (let along back-to-back like he did in 2013 and 2014). That man was Mark Newhouse, who finished ninth both times.
  • Years ago, players received chips equivalent to the tournament buy-in (i.e. $10,000 Main Event buy-in got you 10,000 in tournament chips). Nowadays, player get 5X as many chips, so 50,000 in chips for a $10,000 buy-in.
  • In years past, the lowest buy-in for a bracelet event was $500. In 2017, there will be a $333 online event and $365 The Giant, both bracelet events.
  • The first time the WSOP was held at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino was 2005. That year, the Main Event final table took place at Binion's downtown for the last time.
The Rio Hotel
  • Joe McKeehen, who won the Main Event in 2015, was the first player to claim the title while sporting an 888poker patch.
  • Carlos Mortensen, who won the Main Event in 2001, just missed out on the 2013 November Nine when he busted in 10th
  • Bob Hooks, who served as poker room manager at Binion's in the early 1970s, finished runner-up to Brian "Sailor" Roberts in the 1975 WSOP Main Event. Only 21 players entered, and it was winner-take-all for the $210,000 first-place prize. However, Roberts and Hooks were actually roommates and secretly struck a deal to split the money.
  • Since 2004, four players have won the WSOP Main Event holding a pocket pair in their final hand (Greg Raymer, Jerry Yang, Joe Cada, and Martin Jacobson)
  • In the history of the WSOP, just two players have won the Main Event holding Big Slick in the final hand (Pius Heinz and Ryan Riess)
  • Five-Card Stud, a once popular game featured in the film The Cincinnati Kid, hasn't been played at the WSOP since 1974. Interestingly, it was only offered four times, and Bill Boyd won the bracelet each time!
  • Speaking of bracelets, they weren't actually given out at the WSOP until 1975. The aforementioned Brian "Sailor" Roberts was the first-ever player to receive a physical gold bracelet.
2016 WSOP bracelet
  • A team event, or "mixed doubles" event, hasn't appeared on the WSOP schedule since 1983. They were reintroduced in 2016.
  • At the 1982 WSOP, the WSOP awarded gold wristwatches instead of bracelets.
  • Pot-Limit Omaha events didn't debut at the WSOP until 1984.
  • Phil Hellmuth is the only player to win both the WSOP Main Event (1989) and WSOP Europe Main Event (2012).
  • Johnny Chan won the Main Event in 1987 and 1988. He nearly got the hat trick in 1989, but came up one spot shy finishing runner-up to Phil Hellmuth.
  • Doyle Brunson won the WSOP in back-to-back years (1976 and 1977), both while holding 10-2, which has since become known as the "Brunson."
  • In 2016, two 888poker qualifiers made the final table of the Main Event. Spain’s Fernando Pons finished in ninth place for $1 million while Canada’s Griffin Benger finished seventh for $1,250,190.
Fernando pons
  • 2011 WSOP champ Pius Heinz largely retired from poker after his win, but in March 2016, he returned to the felt to win the Eureka Poker Tour €5,300 Super High Roller at King's Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic.
  • Only four players have double-digit gold bracelets – Phil Hellmuth (14), Phil Ivey (10), Johnny Chan (10), and Doyle Brunson (10).
  • Only six players have won three gold bracelets in the same year – Puggy Pearson (1973), Phil Hellmuth (1993), Ted Forrest (1993), Phil Ivey (2002), Jeff Lisandro (2009), and George Danzer (2014)
  • The first player to win two bracelets in the same WSOP was Johnny Moss, who did it at the 1971 WSOP.
  • Tom Schneider was the first player to win multiple mixed game bracelets in the same year after capturing both the $1,500 and $5,000 H.O.R.S.E. events at the 2013 WSOP.
  • The late Hal Fowler topped a field of 54 players to win the 1979 WSOP Main Event and become the first amateur to win the title.
  • The author of this article won a gold bracelet after topping a field of 898 players to win the 2013 WSOP Event #1: Casino Employees for $84,915.
Chad Holloway
  • The first woman to ever cash the Main Event was Wendeen Eolis, who finished 25th out of 141 in the 1986 WSOP.
  • Between 1978 and 1988, Jesse Alto made the WSOP Main Event final table five times. His best finish was third in 1984 for $132,000.
  • Johnny Chan, who was born in China, was the first Main Event winner to be born outside the United States.
  • 1990 WSOP champ Mansour Matloubi, who hailed from Iran, was the first non-American to win the Main Event title.
  • Chinese Poker bracelet events were offered in both 1995 and 1996.
  • In 1997, the Main Event final table was held outside on Fremont Street. It was 98 degrees as Stu Ungar went on to capture his third WSOP Main Event title.
  • At the 2015, Kevin Boudreau returned to the WSOP after suffering a traumatic brain injury two years before. His journey was documented in 888poker’s PHWAP’S BACK – A Poker Comeback Story.
Kevin Boudreau
  • Rebuy tournaments, which debuted at the WSOP in 1986, haven't been held since 2008.
  • In 2012, Greg Ostrander won Event #41: $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em for $742,072. He was also awarded the 1,000th bracelet in WSOP history.
  • In 1981, NBC Sports covered the WSOP for the first time and introduced it to millions of homes.
  • Satellites for the WSOP were introduced in 1983 as the brainchild of tournament director Eric Drache.
  • Tom McEvoy, who won the WSOP in 1983, was the first Main Event champ to have qualified via a satellite.
  • In the 1980s, Binion's didn't have enough room to accommodate some of the WSOP's largest tournaments, so they had to seat some players at tables in both the Golden Nugget and Four Queens.
  • 490 tables will be used for the 2017 WSOP
490 tables will be used for the 2017 WSOP
  • In 1991, the WSOP awarded its first million dollar cash prize to Brad Daugherty, the winner of that year's Main Event.
  • Because of a Binion family dispute, many top pros, such as Doyle Brunson, boycotted the WSOP from 1999 through 2002.
  • Remember the famous Oakley sunglasses Chris Moneymaker sported on his way to winning the 2003 WSOP? He lost them later that night while out celebrating with friends and family.
  • Nolan Dalla served as Media Director for the WSOP from 2002-2016.
  • Johnny Moss is the oldest bracelet winner in WSOP history. He won the 1988 WSOP $1,500 Limit Ace-to-Five Draw event on his 81st
  • Ronnie Bardah holds the record for most consecutive Main Event cashes with five (2010-2014).
  • Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi is the only player to have won the $50,000 Poker Players' Championship twice (2010 & 2012).
Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi
  • No one has played more WSOP Main Events than Howard "Tahoe" Andrew, who played 41 straight from 1974-2014.
  • Berry Johnston went 29 years cashing in at least one event (1982-2010), a WSOP record.
  • Daniel Negreanu is the only player to win the WSOP Player of the Year title twice (2004 and 2013).
  • The WSOP Europe, the first WSOP championship events held outside of Las Vegas, launched in London in September 2007.
  • From 1999 to 2001, the WSOP was broadcast by The Discovery Channel.
  • Since 1981, the only year the WSOP was not either filmed or televised was in 1996 when Huck Seed won.
  • Antonio Esfandiari holds the record for WSOP earnings with $21,965,385, more than $18 million of which came from his 2012 Big One for One Drop win.
Antonio Esfandiari
  • Lon McEachern and Norman Chad became a famed commentary duo in 2003, but McEachern's first WSOP was actually the year before alongside Gabe Kaplan.
  • In December 2010, the Arizona Lottery issued WSOP-themed $5 scratch cards that featured a $50,000 top prize.
  • Pocket Kings, the second-best starting hand in Texas Hold’em, has never won in the final hand of the WSOP Main Event.
  • Two former runner-ups lost the Main Event after having their pocket aces cracked in the final hand. In 1979, Hal Fowler got lucky with 7s-6d to beat Bobby Hoff's Ac-Ah, and in 2001 Dewey Tomko's As-Ah fell to Carlos Mortensen's Kc-Qc.
  • An amateur, defined as a poker player who at the time of his win had supported himself in a vocation other than poker, has won the WSOP Main Event 15 times.
  • Barbara Enright is the only woman ever to make the WSOP Main Event final table. She finished fifth out of 273 runners in 1995.
  • Marsha Waggoner, Annie Duke and Maria Ho are the only three to have lasted been the WSOP Main Event “Last Woman Standing” twice.
Maria Ho
  • The average first-place prize awarded at the 2016 WSOP was $555,475. At the 2015 WSOP it was $558,571.
  • Berry Johnston has cashed the WSOP Main Event more times than any other player at 10 (he won it in 1986). Humberto Brenes comes in second with nine Main Event cashes.
  • 107 countries participated in the 2016 WSOP
  • In 2006, six No Limit Hold'em gold bracelet events were held after the Main Event had started.
  • Ireland's Noel Furlong won the 1999 WSOP at the age of 61. He's the last person over the age of 50 to win the Main Event.
  • While commentating 2002 Main Event, Phil Hellmuth said, “If Robert Varkonyi wins, I’ll shave my head.” Varkonyi went on to win, and Hellmuth did in fact shave his head (on camera of course).
  • In 2015, the late Tommy Yates qualified for the 2015 WSOP Main Event for a single cent on 888poker. He went on to finish in 486th place for $19,500, busting at the hands of eventual champ Joe McKeehen.
  • 1998 WSOP champ Scotty Nguyen was just 14 when he came to America from Vietnam. He settled in L.A. and in his early 20's began dealing and playing poker. The rest, as they say, baby, is history!
  • Seven-time bracelet winner Billy Baxter fought the IRS in the landmark case, Baxter v. United States, in which the court determined gambling earnings could be considered earned income.
  • 1996 WSOP champ Huck Seed is 6'7" tall. Not surprisingly, he played basketball while attending Caltech to pursue a degree in electrical engineering.
  • Antonio Esfandiari, who won the inaugural $1 million Big One for One Drop in 2012, was actually born Amir Esfandiari in Iran
  • In the 2007 WSOP Event #29 $1,500 Razz, the late Eskimo Clark had a seizure midway through the tournament that required immediate medical attention. He later returned and ended up finishing fourth for $31,186.
  • Ellix Powers, the man who they dared to call with "jack high" at the 2004 WSOP, was actually called by Jim McManus' queen high. Powers passed away on September 11, 2015 at the age of 62.
  • In his first five years at the WSOP, John Juanda made 16 final tables and won three bracelets.
  • Maurice Hawkins holds the record for most WSOP Circuit rings with ten.
  • Phil Hellmuth holds the record for most WSOP cashes with 119 all time. Erik Seidel sits second with 101.
  • In 2011, WSOP champ Jonathan Duhamel was physically assaulted and robbed. He not only lost cash, but his championship bracelet, which was later recovered albeit destroyed. WSOP officials were kind enough to replace it with a new one.
  • Tony Cousineau holds the record for most WSOP cashes (74) without winning a gold bracelet.
  • In 2009, Joe Cada won the Main Event at 21 years, 11 months old, which makes him the youngest player in history to win the WSOP.
  • Thanks to winning Event #32: $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em Six-Handed, Joe Cada became the first former Main Event champ, in recent history, to win a second bracelet since Carlos Mortensen.
  • Starting in 2017, Poker Central will take over as the WSOP’s official live-stream provider.
  • The 2017 WSOP Player of the Year will be presented by King’s Casino Rozvadov, which will not only award the winner a seat into the 2018 WSOP Main Event, but also into the 2017 WSOP Europe Main Event.
  • In 2017, the ESPN television set moves from the Amazon Room to the Brasilia Room.
  • For the 2017 WSOP, 888poker exclusive rights to run official WSOP satellites online. Qualify today!
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