Binion's Horseshoe - Classic WSOP Ground

Binion's Horseshoe - Classic WSOP Ground

In all the lore of professional poker, few locations have earned the distinction of being hallowed ground as much as Binion’s Horseshoe casino. Located on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas, this is a shrine to which the best poker players in the world have been drawn for decades. Ever since it was bought by Harrah’s Entertainment a few years back, it now goes under the name of Binion’s Gambling Hall. But, to those who were there back in the day, it will always be remembered as the Horseshoe.

Benny Binion, the innovator
This house of cards was every bit as colorful and racy as its legendary owner, Benny Binion. It was back in 1951 that this rough and ready poker stud from Texas bought a hotel that was failing at the Fremont location. He promptly renamed it Binion’s Horseshoe. From the get-go, Benny Binion believed in providing a pleasurable experience to gamblers who frequented his establishment. The Horseshoe was the first casino to have carpeting and he was the first owner to institute the policy of offering free drinks to the players. To even further attract players he also had a million dollars on display which people could marvel at.

A tournament is born
Binion loved poker as much as he loved oxygen and you could always count on seeing the most famous faces in the world of big time poker playing at his tables. But his greatest accomplishment is considered by many to have been the launching of the World Series of Poker in 1970. Actually, it all started back in the summer of 1949 when the famous gambler, Nicholas "Nick the Greek" Dandolos came to Benny Binion with a request - to play the best in a high-stakes poker marathon. Binion called his friend, the poker legendary Johnny Moss, who accepted the challenge. The game lasted five months and it’s estimated that Dandolos lost approximately two million dollars! When it was all over the “Greek” bowed to his opponent and left with the now famous words: "Mr. Moss, I have to let you go." During the game Benny Binion had observed that the game had attracted a huge crowd that wanted to watch “the biggest game in town”. So it was with this in memory he started the World Series of Poker.

Benny Binion passes away, and WSOP moves on
The Horseshoe was, and still is too many, the location with which this tournament is historically associated. In fact, it was not until the year of 2005 that the WSOP was moved to the Rio Hotel and Casino across town. Out of respect for history, the 2005 WSOP main event was played at Binion’s.

Since then, Harrah’s has sold the property to another conglomerate. So it’s painfully obvious that after Benny Binion’s death in 1989, his beloved Horseshoe has undergone a fair amount of management changes. But none of that can take away from the illustrious history and indelible moments that took place inside his legendary gambling hall. Anyone who loves poker owes it to him or herself to set foot inside this joint at least once and just soak up the rich atmosphere. If you look closely, you can even see some the great ghosts of poker’s past haunting the hallways and watching the action at the tables.


Binion's Horseshoe





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