Horseshoe - Classic WSOP Ground
all the lore of professional poker, few locations
have earned the distinction of being hallowed
ground as much as Binions 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 Harrahs Entertainment
a few years back, it now goes under the name of
Binions Gambling Hall. But, to those who
were there back in the day, it will always be
remembered as the Horseshoe.
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 Binions
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.
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 its 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.
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 Binions.
then, Harrahs has sold the property to another
conglomerate. So its painfully obvious that
after Benny Binions 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 pokers past haunting the hallways
and watching the action at the tables.