Your Guide to the 2016 World Series of Poker
The 2016 WSOP - Schedule of Tournaments, Buy-in & Satellite Information
How does a trip to Las Vegas in the middle of July sound? If you're sane it probably doesn't sound that great at all. After all, with 110 degree Fahrenheit heat hitting your face on a good day, the desert is probably the last place you'd want to be. In fact, Alaska probably sounds a lot better.
Unless, of course, you're a poker player, in which case the middle of the Nevada desert is an absolute oasis.
Shuffle Up and Deal!
Welcome to the 2016 World Series of Poker - the biggest, richest poker event that attracts poker pros, celebrities, and amateur poker players from every corner of the globe is back for 2016. For 10 days this July, the best of the best (and the worst, too) descend on Sin City for the ultimate roller coaster ride of their poker lives. Only one player getís to leave with the title of WSOP 2016 Main Event Champion but the big question is, who will it be this year?
If you're a hardcore poker player, you'll be there from Day 1, playing the smaller events and some of the high-roller events, too. If you're a focused player who happens to have another day job, you might prefer to play exclusively in the Main Event. Whatever style of poker player you are, the World Series of Poker is built for you.
But before you dive into the World Series of Poker 2016 head first, you should probably know what you're up against, how other players have made out, the schedule of events and even how to win your way into the event for just a few bucks. Our 2016 WSOP guide has everything you need to know, so read on.
History of the World Series of Poker
If you know a thing or two about the World Series of Poker Main Event, you know that it attracts upwards of 6,500 players per year to the tournament - last year's event saw 6,683 players compete for the first place prize of $10 million.
But did you know that the first WSOP back in 1970 featured just seven players? In fact, the Main Event field didn't even reach double digits until 1973. And it took until 1982 to reach triple digits.
It all started back in 1970 when Benny Binion invited six of the absolute best poker players he knew to play No Limit Texas Hold'em in front of a live audience at his Horseshoe casino. His friend included Johnny Moss, Amarillo "Slim" Preston, Brian "Sailor" Roberts, Doyle Brunson, Walter "Puggy" Pearson, Crandall Addington, and Carl Cannon.
WSOP champion will have to play the best final hand to win but at the first World Series of Poker event, the winner was decided by peer votes. That' s a far cry from the grueling week-and-a-half of practically nonstop tournament play poker players have to go through to be crowned champions these days.
While the 1970 tournament was an invitational event, 1971 saw the tournament open up to poker players with a buy-in of $5,000. In 1972, the buy-in doubled to $10,000. It has remained at $10,000 ever since. So if you want to just buy your way straight into the WSOP 2016 Main Event, it wonít be cheap. There are loads still of ways to get into WSOP tournament for just a few dollars or for free though!
In 2004, Harrah's purchased The Horseshoe Casino and with it the rights to the World Series of Poker. In 2005, the series was moved to the Rio Hotel & Casino, a Harrah's-owned property. The series has been held there ever since.
How online poker changed the tournament forever
You don't have to travel too far back in time to see how online poker dramatically changed the World Series of Poker for the better. Just look back about 10 years to 2003.
It was then that a relatively unknown poker player named Chris Moneymaker qualified for his WSOP Main Event seat through an online qualifier at Poker Stars. And he won, taking the tournament's first place prize pool of $2.5 million.
In 2003, the Main Event saw a field of 839 poker players. After Moneymaker's unexpected win, online poker sites saw an explosion in traffic, with millions of people signing up to hone their game.
In 2004, the field more than tripled, with 2,576 players sitting down to play in the Main Event. And the following year, the field more than doubled again, jumping up to 5,619 players.
In 2006, the WSOP Main Event field set a record with an all-time high of 8,773. Change in US law forced a few sites to dive out of the US market later that year, so subsequent years saw Main Event field drops. But for the most part, the field has remained in the mid-6000s and above.
Online poker has even helped other tournament series grow in conjunction with the WSOP. Large-scale tournament circuits, such as the European Poker Tour and the World Poker Tour, continue to grow both in numbers and prize pools. However, the World Series continues to be the grandaddy of them all, both in scale and reputation.
How to enter the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event
If you want to play in the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2016, there are several ways to win your seat.
How can I qualify for the World Series of Poker?
You can win your way through an online poker qualifier. While the big two sites - PokerStars and Full Tilt - no longer serve US players, they still offer WSOP qualifiers to players around the world, along with our top rated US poker site, BetOnline.
Enter WSOP Satellites
With online qualifiers, or satellites, you can win entry in to the WSOP 2016 Main Event for as little as just a few dollars. Poker sites hold satellites that feed into larger tournaments. By winning a series of tournaments, or even a single satellite tournament, you can make your way to Las Vegas for next to nothing and get to experience all the drama thatís bound to play out at this years tournament.
Serious online poker players who have patience and time usually get started with trying to qualify early. Note that with online poker sitesí satellites, you'll often receive your WSOP 2016 Main Event entry in cash. It is normally then your responsibility to buy yourself into WSOP Main Event.
Buy directly in
Got $10,000 lying around? Bring it to Vegas and buy directly in to the WSOP 2016 Main Event.
Qualify in Vegas
If you want to play in the Main Event but you're short on funds this year, you can enter a live satellite. The WSOP hosts daily tournaments at the Rio with buy-ins that come in way under the $10,000 Main Event cost. Successful players earn tournament chips that can be used in any of the WSOP 2016 gold bracelet tournaments.