World Series of Poker: What's Happening to It?

Farris GunningCorrespondent IMarch 20, 2009

LAS VEGAS - SEPTEMBER 26:  Colorado Avalanche players Ian Laperriere (L) and Scott Hannan participate in the Luc Robitaille/Shelter for Serenity Celebrity Poker Tournament at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino September 26, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The idea of a World Series of Poker began in 1969 with an event called the "Texas Gambling Reunion." It was as an invitational tournament sponsored by Tom Moore of San Antonio, Texas, and held at the Holiday Hotel and Casino in Reno.

The first WSOP occurred in 1970, and was an invitation-only affair for which Benny Binion welcomed six of the best-known poker players to The Horseshoe Casino.

It was not a freeze-out tournament; it had set start and stop times, and the winner was determined by secret ballot.

The whole thing took a while to grow; 12 years passed before the number of participants broke the half-century mark.

Today, the WSOP has become a major event. There have been many memorable occurrences during the annual main events; remember Jack Straus's 1982 comeback win after discovering he had one $500 chip left when he thought he was out of the tournament?

Even Hollywood loves the WSOP: The end of the 1988 main event was featured in the movie Rounders.

But now, the game is becoming more of a discussion than a competition. With players like Mike "The Mouth" Matusow, Chris Moneymaker, Phil Hellmuth Jr., and Daniel Negreanu, you never know what your going to hear.

Everyone likes a good game of poker, but is the trash talking really neccessary? I prefer seeing "paying" players getting into the big show and putting these cry babies in their place. 

Some hot-shots believe they are so good, they think they can tell what cards you have in your hand before you even show them.

Crazy part is, sometimes they can, and it blows me away! Are they good guessers or just that good at poker? 

I look back at the exclusive, upscale game and wonder how it became a loud-mouth, tongue-lashing battle. We need more of the Brunson family members to play and smooth out the rough edges. 

The WSOP has more publicity now than ever, so maybe the public likes these antics.  Either way, poker is gaining more and more momentum day after day, and it's not going away anytime soon.

Let's all sit back and enjoy the ride!