Sejin Park emerged victorious at the 2019 World Series of Poker Colossus, thereby becoming the first South Korean player to claim a bracelet at an open WSOP event. Park also took home $451,272 from a total prize pool just shy of $4.4 million, keeping his cool under pressure to see off some 13,000 competitors. This no-limit hold ’em event took place at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, attracting competitors from all over the world in a clear indication of this poker variant’s global appeal.
Alongside Park, the final table featured players hailing from Greece, Brazil and the United States. When Texas hold ’em was first created in the Lone Star State, its innovators would probably have never imagined that this variation of poker would spread to every continent. The city of Robstown, Texas is credited as the birthplace of Texas hold ‘em, a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Katy. The poker variant was born early in the 20th century, and its existence purely within Texas meant that it was simply known as ‘hold ‘em’.
The actual process of its creation is unclear, but its rules are now known throughout the world. The no-limit hold ’em is the format used in WSOP events; this allows players to stake and raise more aggressively, even going “all-in” on a particular hand. Park didn’t need to resort to such a tactic on his way to victory, instead grinding down his final opponent Georgios Kapalas to become the last player standing.
This was Park’s first time competing in Las Vegas, but it almost certainly won’t be his last. Park will now be eyeing up future events, including the prestigious Main Event later this season. The Main Event will similarly take place at the Rio, a place which Park will now feel at home. It is remarkable how Texas hold ’em migrated from Robstown to Las Vegas and now attracts players from as far away as South Korea, who purely travel to the US for the game of poker.
Texas hold ‘em was known as the thinking person’s game when it arrived in the casinos of Las Vegas in 1963. By the 1980s, gaming venues across Nevada offered tables for Texas hold ‘em, while the poker variant also made its way to Europe courtesy of an Irish bookmaker who had been bewitched by the game on a visit to Vegas. Texas hold ‘em has since become accessible to a global audience as one of the most popular online table games. Technological developments have seen online versions of the game evolve, with Texas Hold ‘em Switch adding a new level of unpredictability.
While online versions of Texas hold ‘em are hugely popular for their convenience, it is still standard for physical venues to offer tables for hold ‘em. While Robstown may be a hefty trek for Katy residents, there are more accessible places to play hold ’em in the Katy and Houston area:
- FreeRolls Poker Club offers No Limit Hold ‘Em cash games every day
- The Poker Club at West Houston opens at 2 pm Monday-Saturday
- All Aces Casino Creations Inc can mix parties and poker for a unique atmosphere in Houston
The game may have had humble beginnings in the city of Robstown, just a few hours’ drive away from Katy, but Texas hold ‘em is now known and loved around the world. Sejin Park will no doubt be grateful for the Lone Star State’s gift to the world of poker, given that he will leave Las Vegas with a WSOP bracelet and over $450,000 in his pocket.