The First World Series of Poker ChampionsTweet Share
When online poker was not even a dream, there were rounders. These poker players traveled around the country looking for big money poker games. Names like Johnny Moss, Tom “Amarillo Slim” Preston, and Walter “Puggy” Pearson call to us from the poker playing past. Born in towns like Marshall, Texas and Johnson, Arkansas, these men could be found where the action was and that included the first World Series of Poker Championships.
In 1970, poker player and casino owner, Benny Binion, invited six poker players to a $5,000 buy-in tournament at Binion’s Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas. The tournament included games of five-card stud, deuce to seven low-ball draw, razz, seven-card stud, and Texas hold ‘em. The champion that year was Johnny Moss. He was elected by the other players and was given a silver cup along with $30,000. It was the following year that a Main Event was added, freeze-out Texas Hold’em, and Moss won again, with Pearson in second place.
In 1972, the main event buy-in went up to $10,000 and “Amarillo Slim” took the prize. Walter Pearson placed first in 1973, Moss again in 1974, Brian “Sailor” Roberts in 1975, and a newcomer, Doyle Brunson, took first place in both 1976 and 1977, holding the famous 10 and 2 combination in his winning hands both years.
In the beginning, you had to be known to be invited. Online poker has changed that, as the winners in 2003 and 2004 demonstrated. Chris Moneymaker and Greg Raymer both qualified for the main event through PokerStars satellite tournaments. On the other hand, maybe the business of winning your way up through the ranks in online poker for a shot at the big time is not so different from the experience of the rounders who rose to the top of their game and played at Binion’s in 1970.