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Poker News | World Poker News

Top 10 Events That Have Impacted the Poker World

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Poker has always been one of America's (and the worlds) favorite past times. It has not been until the last 5-10 years, however, that it has stepped out of obscurity and into the limelight. This article is going to look at some of the events that have impacted the poker world to help it do this.

#10 – Benny Binion and the founding of the World Series of Poker.

If Benny were alive today, he wouldn't believe how much poker has changed... and taken off. It's no longer the back room, hush hush, game it used to be and Benny is part of the reason for that. When he decided to bring together the best poker players in the world to start a poker tournament to decide who was the best, he started the event that every poker player still aspires to win... the WSOP main event.

#9 – Super System.

It's been nearly thirty years since its initial publication but Super System by Doyle Brunson is still considered by many to be the poker player's bible... and for good reason... it showed people how to think outside the box... how to win when they didn't know it was possible to win. There have been hundreds... thousands of books... written about poker since, but there will always only be one Super System.

#8 – The UIGEA.

While this isn't a positive impact on poker, it definitely was a significant one... especially for poker players in the United States. Before the UIGEA, with online financial services such as neteller, it was a simple click of a button to put money into any one of hundreds of online poker sites. After, choices were limited, and many online sites started to refuse doing business with U.S. customers. Things have calmed down since the bill passed and U.S. players have found alternatives and places to play, but simply put it's not as easy as it used to be, and that's bad for poker.

#7 – Joe Hachem's win in the WSOP.

This one might surprise many of you as being included on this list but I include it for the reason that it opened up the WSOP and poker to the rest of the world. Sure, Carlos Mortensen and Noel Furlong had won WSOP main event titles in the past, but that was before the poker boom. Hachem's win showed Australia, Europe, and the rest of the non United States poker playing community that they could come into foreign turf and take home the big money.

#6 – Henry Orenstein and the hole card cam.

Television has had a huge impact on poker's recent success. None of it would have been possible if it weren't for Mr. Orenstein's simple little invention. Orenstein received the patent for the hole card cam in 1995 and while it didn't come into play right away, the ability for people to see what people were playing suddenly made poker a very watchable and entertaining televised event. Anyone who has seen pre-hole card cam poker events knows that watching poker isn't just the same. The ability to get inside a player's head and to try and think what they are thinking was only made possible through the hole card cam. The opportunity to learn from the best by seeing how they played and what they played helped bring new people into the game.

#5 – The World Poker Tour.

While there are critics of the World Poker Tour in the poker community, its impact on poker can not be ignored. It brought poker into people's homes on a weekly basis and with million dollar first place prize pools often at stake, it made for exciting and entertaining viewing. More importantly, the WPT created a series of events that let poker professionals an opportunity to have numerous chances to win a tournament. Before the WPT, you were lucky if you could find 5 events with a buy in of $10,000 in a given year. After the WPT, that was no longer a problem (if anything, you could make the argument that there are too many $10,000 events now).

#4 – ESPN.

While ESPN only covers one event a year, they do so on the grandest scale. Their coverage of the World Series of Poker each year, especially the main event is unmatched. They were also the first network to ever take poker seriously. They were airing WSOP final tables before poker was cool. If it wasn't for ESPN poker might not be cool today.

#3 – Chris Moneymaker's WSOP win.

Having this at #3 might surprise many people because Moneymaker's victory is routinely noted as having the biggest impact on poker. There is no doubt that the unknown every day man's victory was huge. It showed the world that anyone could win. It was the ultimate lottery ticket. Take $40 and turn it into 2.5 million. No longer was poker a professional poker player's world. Moneymaker's win led to an influx of new players and “dead money” so to speak because of the dream they saw Moneymaker living. But it's not the biggest impact on poker because without #2 or #1, Moneymaker might not have ever even played poker.

#2 – The Internet.

The internet's impact on poker is huge. It lets people play from anywhere all over the world. It lets people in Germany and China take on players from the United States. Language barriers don't matter... the cards speak so to say when you are playing poker. The internet let people play who might not otherwise be able to play. People that didn't live anywhere near a casino or card room could now log on and learn and play. Perhaps the biggest impact the Internet has is that it provided multiple ways to win seats into major events. If it wasn't for pokerstars.com, Chris Moneymaker would probably never have played in the World Series of Poker.

#1 – Rounders.

I had a really hard time deciding between this and the Internet for #1 but when I thought about it... if it wasn't for Rounders, Internet poker might never have taken off like it did. Televised poker might never have happened. We would have been relegated to a one hour special on ESPN about the final table of the main event every year. What Rounders did for poker is immeasurable. It brought poker into the mainstream. Apologies to movies such as The Cincinatti Kid (come on, it's about five card stud), but no movie has ever done as much for a particular sport as Rounders did. Poker was now acceptable.

In fact, here's how important the movie is. This is taken directly from Chris Moneymaker's official website:

“Credit the film “Rounders” with Chris' internal revolution. Like the movie did for thousands of young wannabe players, it shot Chris and his friends into the world of Texas Holdem.”

Perhaps I'm a bit biased here because Rounders was also what brought me into poker but consider the following. Before Rounders, there was no televised poker outside of the ESPN main event coverage. Before Rounders, there was no WPT or hole card cam. Before Rounders, poker on the Internet was mainly something online casino's offered just to get people to play their other games.

After Rounders?

Well, as they say... the proof is in the pudding.

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