The World Series of Poker Europe – WSOPE, is the first leg of the World Series of Poker, the largest of all live Poker Tournaments, to breach the boundaries of the United States. The first ever WSOP Europe was held in 2007. It has been held on an annual basis ever since. A Golden Bracelet is awarded to the winner, which is the first time this has been done for a tournament based outside of Las Vegas.
The World Series of Poker Europe came about after Harrah’s Casino bought the rights to the WSOP label and then purchased three London casinos – Fifty, Leicester Square and The Sportsman. They saw this as an opportunity to move the WSOP label further a field and out of American territory so created the WSOPE and hosted it in London.
The most recent tournament - the 2010 World Series of Poker Europe has just finished in September, 2010 with Brit poker player James Bord winning the final event of No Limit Texas Hold’em. It was the largest WSOPE year with five events in total where as previous years have just seen three or four events. This is proof that the WSOP brand and the World Series of Poker Europe tournament, despite being surrounded by established live poker tournaments in the European zone, is growing in strength and popularity.
The tournament has attracted players from all over the world with some household names getting involved including Gus Hansen, Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey. There is still a high concentration of British players who enter in an attempt to take the Golden Bracelet on home soil but the reputation of the tournament is starting to mature and the field is becoming more global with players from US, Denmark, Norway and even Afghanistan winning Golden Bracelets.
Winners from the main events since the tournament started in 2007 have included Annette Obrestad (2007), John Juanda (2008), Barry Shulman (2009) and James Bord (2010).
A shortfall that the WSOPE might suffer from on a long term basis is the fact that English casinos are much smaller than the American casinos so the participant list must be smaller than a lot of the events State side. This means that even if it continues to grow in popularity, unless the casinos are extended or rebuilt to a larger capacity, the WSOP Europe will never attract as many participants as some of the WSOP events held in Las Vegas.
Who knows, maybe the future of the WSOPE either lies elsewhere in Europe or in a new super casino yet to be built. If the popularity of the tournament continues to boost as it has done then there is every chance it might well revolutionize the way live poker tournaments are seen across Europe.
One thing is certain. WSOPE 2011 is set to be the biggest tournament of its kind to date and the future is certainly looking bright for World Series of Poker Europe.