By Dianne R. Davis
Photo credit: Dianne or Burt Davis
The World Series of Poker, the longest-running, richest and most prestigious tournament series, is celebrating its tenth anniversary at the Rio with 65 gold bracelets this year. The 45th WSOP began 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.
Spectators are welcome to stop by the Rio any time during play to view the series in person or pick up some log items and maybe, just maybe, bump into a future or past tournament winner in the halls.
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 bracelets have 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.
BIG ONE FOR BIG DROP
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 14 with 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.
About the World Series of Poker
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.