The Rio, Las Vegas hosts the 50thWorld Series of Poker until 16thJuly. It began in 1970 at the Horseshoe Casino when Benny Binion invited seven of the best player in the world to compete in a series of cash games - with the overall winner, Johnny Moss, decided by a vote from the other players. The WSOP has since become the biggest annual poker tournament series on the planet attracting the game’s elite and starry-eyed amateurs alike – all dreaming of winning a coveted WSOP bracelet.
The 2019 series has grown even more significant, boasting a record 89 event schedule with the flagship US$10,000 buy-in Main Event starting on Wednesday 3rd July.
Last year's WSOP saw a record 123,865 entries over almost two months, creating a 49-year high of US$266,889,193 in prize money. The average WSOP gold bracelet event in 2018 boasted a US$3,421,656 prize pool with US$655,337 going to the winner.
While this is undoubtedly a substantial prize pot, it is dwarfed by gaming events in taking place across Asia where in April a group of baccarat players at Wynn Palace in Macau bagged an eyewatering haul of more than $10 million in a junket arranged by Suncity, one of the largest junket operators in Asia.
The media tends to focus on Las Vegas where casinos generated a massive revenue of $11.9Bn last year, rather than Macau, which recorded a 14% increase to generate a colossal $37.6Bn in 2018. In Las Vegas, slot machines were responsible for almost 65% of winnings; but Baccarat tends to be the primary game of choice for many VIP/ High Rollers attracted to high betting limits and favourable odds which when played optimally, only gives the casino a 1.01 to 1.24% edge.