If a few short years ago experts had predicted that one of the hottest shows in the ratings would be televised poker, they may have been dismissed or even laughed at. That is, however, just what has taken place, and the popularity of poker, both live and on television, has continued to grow with each passing year.
Every sport, of course, has its main event. For football that event is the Superbowl, while baseball has its World Series and Hockey is Stanley Cup. For the sport of high stakes poker the pinnacle of achievement lies in the World Series of Poker, and poker players from around the world vie for the title of world’s best at the events making up the World Series of Poker tournament series.
One of the reasons that poker on TV has become so popular may be due to the evolving technology which has allowed viewers to get personally involved in the hands as they are being played. The new table camera technology allows viewers to in essence play along, and to gain some valuable tips and tricks from their favorite professional players along the way.
A few years ago, back in 2004, the rights to the World Series of Poker was acquired by Harrah’s, and the company has gained enormous and valuable exposure as a result. In addition, the sheer number of players involved in tournament play has exploded in recent years, as have the payouts to the winners.
When Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker title back in 2003, he defeated 838 other players to win a purse of $2,500,000. When Gregory Paul Raymer followed in 2004, there were 2576 players to be defeated, and a purse of $5,000,000 to be won. In 2005, there were more than 7500 players competing in the World Series of Poker, with a top prize of $6,000,000.
In addition to the significant prize money and prestige, the best players often enjoy rock star status, and lucrative product endorsement deals once reserved for Hollywood celebrities and sports stars. As poker continues its enormous growth, the earnings potential of future World Series of Poker champions is likely to grow right along with it.
One of the most appealing aspects of the World Series of Poker is that it attracts players from all walks of life, young and old, male and female. Poker tournaments large and small have seen some real upsets and some true excitement, and it is no wonder so many poker fans are coming to see poker as a real sport and not just a game.
The nature of the winning players has changed in recent years, with those aggressive players who are able to combine the skill of card playing and the psychology of the game with a true knowledge of mathematics coming out on top in greater numbers. While the instincts and skill that come with long time poker play are still very important, a mathematically oriented, logical mind is increasingly important, and new poker players would do well to place emphasis on this part of the game as they learn and advance through the ranks of professional poker players.
This focus on the mathematics of the game may be why more and more young people are winning big money poker tournaments around the country. As a matter of fact, a number of current champions list college student as their day job.
As the popularity of televised poker events like the World Series of Poker continues to grow, more and more newcomers are discovering the game, just as many former poker players are rediscovering the excitement and profit potential of this enduring game of skill.
So too have many casinos discovered the earnings potential of sponsoring satellite tournaments and seats to the World Series of Poker. Sponsoring poker tournaments is a great way for both large and small casinos to cash in on the current poker craze. While the casinos often do not make much profit from the tables themselves, there is enormous profit potential for other sales and gaming action, from merchandise and from the crowds that come to watch the action.
To those who follow the game of poker lotto and the World Series of Poker, the names of the top players are well known. Poker fans are as familiar with the likes of Phil Ivey, Doyle Brunson, Annie Duke and Chris Fergusen as NASCAR fans are with Tony Stewart and Rusty Wallace. It all makes for an exciting time at the casino, and a profitable career for the best poker players.