The 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event Championship began today. For me, this is a special time.
Ten years ago when I was working at Binion’s Horseshoe, there was a critical junction on the WSOP timeline. We were given the cover story for Card Player magazine, which at the time was pretty much the voice of poker. I was told to “handle it.”
Binion’s Horseshoe’s steady decline and eventual demise has been written about in some depth here. However, that cover story provided a rare opportunity to re-brand ourselves and regain the high ground over everyone else.
Back then, an exciting new attraction called the World Poker Tour was kicking our ass. Sure, we had a far superior product, largely due to our prestige and tradition. But we weren’t marketing it right. I decided then and there that — for all the things the WPT was doing better than us — the one thing they couldn’t touch was the gold bracelet.
Who could have imagined this? Many years ago, gold bracelets weren’t thought of as they are today. Many of the players who won them, including quite a few poker legends, lost them over the years or simply gave them away. Quite a few gold bracelets ended up in pawn shops.
It seemed to me that the gold bracelet was that one item that simply couldn’t be equaled by any other poker competitor, no matter how hard they tried. As creative as our rivals were in trumpeting their own symbols of accomplishment, nothing quite matched the WSOP gold bracelet, nor would anything ever equal it so long as I was in charge of the publicity surrounding our event.Read More