Benny and Jack Binion, the owners of the Horseshoe Casino in Vegas, liked the tournament so much that when the Holiday Hotel was sold the following year, they bought the rights to it, and renamed it the World Series of Poker. The first year that the World Series of Poker was held at the Horseshoe, it attracted a lot of press attention.
The following year, a journalist from the Los Angeles Times told Benny Binion that if he were to change the format to a Texas Hold’em only, winner takes all tournament, it would be given nationwide publicity. This was music to Benny Binion’s ears, and is how the current World Series of Poker was formed.
Poker, in particular Texas Hold’em, continued to grow and prosper to the point that by the middle 80′s there were poker rooms in a lot of the major casinos and at World Series of Poker time, satellites to the tournaments were running twenty four hours per day and taking up most of the floor space in the Horseshoe.
Texas Hold’em has continued to be the game played during the World Series of Poker’s main event, which reached a peak of 8,773 participants in 2006. This has since dropped off a bit, due to legislation which has stopped a lot of online poker sites accepting American players and therefore lessened the amount of online qualifiers quite considerably.
Pokers popularity has seen it being shown regularly on television in many countries, as well as dedicated poker channels being broadcast by many satellite television providers. The game played on these television shows is almost always No-Limit Texas Hold’em and the coverage given a lot of professional poker player’s celebrity status.
Texas Hold’em’s popularity is such that a very popular film based on the game was made in the late 1990′s and the film, ‘Rounders’, starred Hollywood actors Matt Damon and Edward Norton. Texas Hold’em also featured heavily in the recent James Bond film ‘Casino Royale’.
The future of Texas Hold’em will now certainly depend a lot on the American legislation which has tried to ban online gambling by forbidding financial institutions from making and monetary transactions with online gambling sites. The situation as it stands now, is that although a lot of poker sites have stopped allowing American players to have accounts on their sites, the two biggest poker sites, pokerstars.com and fulltiltpoker.com, as well as some smaller sites, have allowed Americans to keep on playing on their sites, and have been left alone to do so.
There are currently many campaigners, including members of the United States Congress, who are actively campaigning to have the ban lifted, and believe that they are close to doing so.
On the other hand, the American state of Minnesota, have just announced that they have instructed eleven national and regional telephone and internet service providers to prohibit access of all Minnesota based computers to online gambling sites.
The American government will no doubt have a large say in the future of Texas Hold’em Poker, but whatever happens, if you’d have told those original Texas road gamblers that Texas Hold’em would, within such a short space of time, become the worldwide phenomenon that it is today, with people winning $12 million in a single tournament, they’d have no doubt thought that you’d been drinking far too much.