A Trip Through Poker History at Binion's
by Chad, Poker Pro, Predictem.com
In September 2008, I took my first trip (of legal age) to Las Vegas. As a die-hard poker enthusiast, I knew I had to hit all of the world-renowned poker spots and experience all of the excitement and history myself. Such places included Bobby's Room at the Bellagio, visiting the luxurious poker room at the Venetian, and the Freemont Experience. It was here, in downtown Las Vegas, where over forty years of poker history unfolded at the Binion's Horseshoe Casino, now known simply as Binion's. There was no doubt in my mind that I needed to visit this historic landmark, and I made it a priority during my trip.
I didn't know what to expect as I took a ten-minute taxi ride downtown. I had read stories of the Horseshoe's decline after Benny Binion passed in 1989 and the takeover by Becky Binion-Behnen in the late 90s. Players such as Doyle Brunson and Chip Reese even boycotted the W.S.O.P. for a number of years because of Becky's management. She supposedly did such a terrible job that she was forced to sell the casino, and the W.S.O.P. rights, to Harrah's. With all of that in mind, I wasn't expecting anything too extravagant. As I made my way toward the poker room, I wasn't overly impressed. There were only two or three cash games taking place, and approximately thirty empty tables (although I later learned these were tournament tables, and Binion's still runs great tournaments daily). The casino itself seemed shoddy and rundown; however, as I continued to walk around, my breath was taken away as I beheld both the W.S.O.P. Wall of Champions and the Poker Hall of Fame. These were images burned into my poker mind through years of watching the W.S.O.P. on ESPN. Here I was, standing next to the photos of poker champions and icons in a place where they had made poker history. The same players and professionals that I had long admired and watched had stood where I stood, saw what I saw. The feeling was immeasurable. The point really hit home when I came across a poker table-top hanging on the wall that was signed by hundreds of poker pros. Everyone from the poker world had signed it . . . Brunson, Ulliott, Hellmuth, Negreanu, Ivey, Hansen, Harman, and many more.
After snapping a few photos, I made my way up the escalators to Benny's Bullpen. This was the room where the W.S.O.P. was held from its beginning to 2005 (since the rights had been sold and the fields were numbering in the thousands, Harrah's moved the W.S.O.P. to the Rio), and a rush of poker nostalgia rushed over me. The room was completely empty of people, simply housing a number of round tables. I walked in as the door shut behind me, and stood in awe. This is where Johnny Chan had won back-to-back championships in 1987 and '88, where Hellmuth shot his arms up in victory in 1989, and where Stuey "The Kid" Ungar redeemed himself in 1997 (although the final table of that event was held outside).
Even though Binion's cannot compete with the glitz and glamour of resorts on the Vegas Strip, it still encompasses Benny Binion's motto: "Good food. Good whiskey. Good gamble." Although poker has expanded to locations all over the world, and even though the W.S.O.P. has moved on to bigger and more accommodating locations, Binion's is the go-to place for poker history and is a museum unto itself. I highly recommend that any serious poker player take a few hours to experience Binion's on their next trip to Vegas, and to appreciate the fact that if it wasn't for that place and its people, poker wouldn't be as popular and widespread as it is today!
Check out all the guaranteed tournaments, SnG's, satellites and qualifiers Bovada Poker has to offer! They are truly a one stop shop for everything you could possibly need in an online poker room!
Party Poker - The PartyPoker "Monthly Milion" plays on the 1st Sunday of every month. The tourney starts at 12:45EST. (Note: Party does not accept USA players)
Bovada Poker - Sign up, deposit and get an instant 10% bonus. Get a 100% bonus up to $500 which is released as you earn points. If done right, this could equate to a 110% bonus!
The Difference Between Limit and No Limit Texas Hold'em - Cash games, tournaments, no limit, pot limit, fixed limit and more. Loki breaks it down!!
Tilt - It's a classless way to play online poker, but this article is a good read if you'd like to learn how to put other players "on tilt."
Satellite Poker Tournaments - What are they? How do they work? Jason explains.
Famous Poker Players - Short bios about some of the greatest poker players ever to take a seat at the tables!
Female Poker Players - Biographies of all the best women poker players in the world.
Legends of the Game - Bio pages of legendary poker players, many of which have died and gone on to leave their mark on the poker world.
Poker Hall of Fame - Inductees along with their feats listed in chronological order.
Poker Players Alliance - This advocacy group is fighting for YOUR right to legally play online poker. Join today!
Home Poker Games - Everything you need to know about hosting your own game.
What is Rake? - This is how card rooms earn their money off of poker games. K. Swope talks about this fee in detail.
Perspectives Weekly - Check APCW.org's Jay Todd each week as he brings us all the current news in the online gambling industry.
Poker Quotes - Famous and funny poker sayings from around the internet.
Famous Poker Hands - Sure, you know that "AA" is often times dubbed "bullets" or "american airlines" but what about other hands such as "JJ" and "88"? Chad tells all!
Poker Questions - Burn cards, clubs, spaces, diamonds, hearts, the deck, community cards etc. You've got a question? We've got an answer!