What is the World Series of Poker (WSOP) - Who Can Enter and How

What is the World Series of Poker (WSOP) - Who can Enter and How

The World Series of Poker, known as WSOP for short, is the biggest series of poker tournament events in the world and happens annually during the summer in Las Vegas, Nevada. WSOP started in 1970 when Ben Binion decided he would like to invite seven of the most well-known poker players to play at the Horseshoe Casino. The format played more like a Sit-n-go event, with the winner decided by a vote and not entirely on the results. In 2018, the World Series of Poker hosted 78 different tournament events at what was known as the 49th annual World Series of Poker at the Rio All-suite hotel & casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Pretty much any type of poker game played at any level will have at least one tournament. Most of the competitions will be in a No Limit Hold'Em structure, as this is the most popular form of poker and will also be the format of the WSOP Main Event.

The WSOP Main event has been said to give the winner the unofficial title of being the world champion of poker. This is somewhat disputed and for very good reasons. The game of poker is undoubtedly a game of skill with a significant element of luck, where you can only see the ability of a player shine through over the 1000s of hands or over the course of time. One tournament can only show a fraction of a player's skill and ability. So, many inexperienced players and beginners can find themselves having a deep run in their very first tournament! This is something that is simply not possible with other games like chess.

The 2023 WSOP Tournament - Bigger & Better

Did the 2022 WSOP pass you? Don’t worry because the 2023 WSOP is just around the corner. And I can tell you for sure; this one will be the best of all. Why? 

First, the officials are committed to making it the best. There are 95 bracelet events - the highest number so far. On top of that, there are 20 online bracelets available on the WSOP’s official website. And as if that was not enough, there are 7 more for the markets of Nevada and Pennsylvania. 

Secondly, the tournament seeks to build on the 2022 event that saw a massive number of entrants. There will be numerous satellites to facilitate a high number of entrants. That’s probably why the main event winner will be up for a life-changing prize - free entry into the Main Event for the next 30 years!

The 2023 WSOP schedule was released in early February, so you can mark the dates. It will kick off on May 30 and end on July 18, 2023. The main venues will be in Nevada, specifically Paris Las Vegas Hotel and the Las Vegas Strip at Horseshoe Las Vegas.

The WSOP Main Event

The main event has always been played in No Limit Texas Hold'Em. The buy-in is $10,000, and anyone is eligible to enter. If you do not wish to buy-in for this amount of money, there are live and online satellites to give you a chance at playing the main event without investing the full amount.

The field for the main event has grown considerably over the years. The first main event consisted of a single-digit number of entries, and by 2018 the total was just under 8000. This is a big field of players which means the main event cannot start and conclude in one day. 

In 2023, the main event will start on Monday, July 3, and conclude with a winner on Monday, July 17. The final table of nine players will be revealed on July 14, just before the weekend. In the 2022 WSOP tournament, 1,302 players made it to this table and were all guaranteed a $850,675 payout. This year’s prize ought to be bigger!

The format has changed in recent years. In the past, the final nine players of the main event would have to wait until November to conclude the tournament. Now it is all concluded in about two weeks.

How to Enter

To enter the WSOP, you must first decide which event you would like to play and then determine if you want to buy in for the full amount or play what's called a satellite. A satellite is a sit-n-go or mini-tournament where the winner or winners will get a ticket into a much bigger competition, such as an event in the WSOP. 

These satellites or qualifiers can be played online for minimal amounts of money, and there are even live satellites across the world where you may play and win a ticket to the World Series of Poker. Sometimes the prizes of these satellites will come in the form of a package and will include entry to the tournament, free hotel and food at the hotel restaurant, and sometimes even a set amount of spending money!

This year, the Champagne Ballroom at the Paris Convention Center will be the main registration area for those who wish to sign-up in person. It will be open on Tuesday, May 30, at 9:00 am. The office will remain open 24/7 up to July 28. So, you’ll be able to register any day, any time.

But who can enter a WSOP tournament? An adult, 21 years or older.

For in-person registrations, you must bring your:

  • Photo ID

  • Caesars Rewards Loyalty Card

  • Payment

  • Proof of residential address, e.g Mobile phone or utility bill (for international players).

To register for the 2023 World Series Of Poker online, you need a Bravo Poker Live account. Proof of identity and your Ceasars Rewards account are required too. Once everything is done, you’ll need to appear in person at the Paris Convention Champagne Ballroom. Here, online verifications are done at least one hour before the events kick off. Once verified, you will get seat cards and receipts for all events registered. 

You can then print your seat card with the help of self-service kiosks located throughout the WSOP footprint. Remember, you must present your Caesars Rewards Loyalty card at any of these kiosks.

What About the Prize?

The amount you can win at the WSOP will depend on many factors. How big the entry of the tournament is, how big the field is, and most importantly, how long you last in the competition! If you win a tournament, you will be guaranteed a very substantial payout. Norway's Espen Jorstad, the main event winner in 2022, took home $10,000,000. The second and third-place players won $6,000,000 and $4,000,000 respectively.

You don't have to win a tournament in the WSOP to earn money. There is always a payout structure in matches, and the WSOP is no different. The 2018 payout structure of the main event paid out $1,000,000 for a ninth-place finish, which means that everyone who made it to the final table was guaranteed to be a millionaire. Not bad, huh? 

Even if you come nowhere close to the final table, you can still earn money. If you came in place 1182nd in the 2018 main event, you would still earn money. The amount was $15,000, so you would have made a $5000 profit or a 50% return on investment.

Chris Moneymaker

You might recognize that name and with good reason. Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 main event of the WSOP for $2,550,000. He was the first player to win the main event from just an online qualifier. The entry of his online qualifier was a mere $86. He has been credited for starting the poker 'boom' and, subsequently, the massive influx of players wanting to play online and live poker. Perhaps it was the fact he qualified online or the fact that his name was Moneymaker, but ever since he won the main event, poker has dramatically increased in popularity.

Darvin Moon

Darvin Moon was another player credited with starting another 'boom' in the poker world. Darvin was humble in demeanour and self-deprecating at times, almost coming first place in the 2009 WSOP Main Event. He was a complete amateur who had not played much poker and was probably the worst player at the table most of the time. He showed the world that anyone with a chip and a chair could make a deep run, even in the World Series of Poker.

Jamie Gold

The WSOP gains popularity each year, and the amount of entries and tournament events has never been higher. 2006 had the most entries in the history of the World Series of Poker, with 8773 entries. These many competitors resulted in an enormous first-place prize of $12,000,000.

This event was won by the poker player Jamie Gold. Gold made his way to the final table by telling the truth about his poker holdings the entire tournament. Every time he would tell the truth of his hands, players would not believe him and would often fold the best hand or call with a weaker one. Jamie Gold has made some notable poker appearances since winning the main event, the original High Stakes Poker television show being the most memorable.

Over to you

The World Series of Poker is the most popular and sought-after poker tournament in the world today. Winning the WSOP Main Event will forever place your name in the game's Hall of Fame. The competition is known to have a great structure where experienced players can make deeper runs.

Whether just starting out or are a seasoned professional in the world of poker, every player dreams of winning the WSOP main event. It could be the money, the fame, or knowing your name will always be associated with poker history.

The main event is what the World Cup is to football, or Wimbledon is to tennis. What makes tournaments like this one so alluring is that anyone can enter. You don't necessarily need to be a pro or even that good at the game to win money in this event. If you play your cards right and with some help from lady luck, history has shown it is possible to do well in WSOP.

While it is true that the cost of $10,000 for the main event can deter the majority of amateur players from entry, there are much smaller buy-in tournaments offered in the WSOP! Satellites provide an opportunity for players of all levels and budgets to enter the most prestigious poker tournaments on the planet. If you enjoy poker, you should give it a go. In fact, the 2023 WSOP tournament will have the highest number of satellites in history.

Manu Murimi