Although most people only hear about the Texas Hold-em tournament at the very end of the WSOP, the entire event features a wide variety of card games, including gin, hearts, and seven card stud, among many others during six straight weeks of competition. The buy-in amounts for the different games range from a few hundred dollars to US$5000, with the final Texas Hold-em tournament costing US$10000 per person. However, it is also possible to win the buy-in stake for the no-limit hold-em championship game by competing in any of several "super satellite" qualifying tournaments, which have buy-ins as low as US$200.

Benny Binion, obsessed with the action of high-stakes gambling, got the idea for the grand tournament in 1949, when his casino staged a five-month marathon poker competition between Nick the Greek and Johnny Moss for an unprecedented US$2,000,000 pot. Twenty years later, Binion recreated the excitement by holding yearly poker events with even more players, but Johnny Moss still won the first two championships, just as he did when he beat Nick the Greek back in '49.

The no-limit Texas Hold-em championship takes place during the final five days of the World Series of Poker, with the first few days of play dedicated to whittling the contestant pool down from hundreds to just a few dozen. Players are limited to their US$10000 buy-in, so they cannot buy extra chips to stay in the tournament. By the end of the fourth day of the championship, only one table of nine or ten players remains, with each player holding hundreds of thousands of dollars won from the eliminated gamblers. Play on the fifth day continues until everyone at the final table loses their chips to the winner. The tournament's top prize has grown steadily over the years, from US$1.5M to a multi-million dollar pot, as Texas Hold 'Em and the WSOP attract new players from around the world.

kareneliot pointed out that Gabe Kaplan from the Welcome Back Kotter televison show has made it to the final table in at least two WSOP No-Limit Deuce to Seven Draw Poker championships, in addition to winning many other poker tournaments.

World Series of Poker Winners - No Limit Hold-Em

1970: John Moss (by vote)
1971: John Moss
1972: Amarillo Slim
1973: Puggy Pearson
1974: John Moss
1975: Sailor Roberts
1976: Doyle Brunson
1977: Doyle Brunson
1978: Bobby Baldwin
1979: Hal Fowler
1980: Stu Ungar
1981: Stu Ungar
1982: Jack Straus
1983: Tom McEvoy
1984: Jack Keller
1985: Bill Smith
1986: Berry Johnston
1987: Johnny Chan
1988: Johnny Chan
1989: Phil Hellmuth, Jr.
1990: Mansour Matloubi
1991: Brad Daugherty
1992: Hamid Dastmalchi
1993: Jim Bechtel
1994: Russ Hamilton
1995: Dan Harrington
1996: Huck Seed
1997: Stu Ungar
1998: Scotty Nguyen
1999: Noel Furlong
2000: Chris Ferguson
2001: Carlos Mortenson
2002: Robert Varkonyi
2003: Chris Moneymaker
2004: Greg Raymer
2005: Joe Hachem
2006: Jamie Gold
2007: Jerry Yang