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Football's Namesake in the Card Game Industry

When talking about America's sports industry, "Super Bowl" would most likely mean the NFL's finals. Every time we mention Super Bowl in front of football fans, stories of how Pittsburgh Steelers battled for six Super Bowl victories would surface. Or perhaps, we would hear about how the reigning champs Baltimore Ravens made a triumphant run this season. For non-football fans, Superbowl XLVII may be most remembered for Beyonce's iconic performance during the halftime show. But for poker enthusiasts especially those who witnessed Stu Ungar's greatness in the 80s, "Super Bowl" meant the Superbowl of Poker (SBOP).

Before the World Series of Poker enjoyed its iconic status today, one of its competitors was the SBOP. You see, the SBOP was a brainchild of former 1972 WSOP Main Event Champion, Amarillo Slim. Before the competition made its debut in a competitive industry, poker fans only tuned to the WSOP events. For the former champ, he saw this setting as an opportunity. "The World Series of Poker was so successful that everybody wanted more than one tournament," Slim said in a report by Poker News. See, he wanted to take poker all over the world, be it in Germany, Hong Kong, or with neighboring states. And so, a different Super Bowl was born. SBOP may not be as large as today's PartyPoker-sponsored World Poker Tour, but it was one poker tournament that card gaming experts and amateurs alike turned to, especially in a booming entertainment industry.

Much like football's Super Bowl, the event housed competent players and some are even included in today's Poker Hall of Fame. The 1986 Deuce-to-Seven Lowball event in particular, was among the most talked events in SBOP history. See, the final three competitors of the event are now Hall of Famers. There was Doyle Brunson, Billy Baxter, and Johnny Chan. In a way, they paralleled the likes of football greats Jerry Rice, Jim Brown, or Joe Montana. Unfortunately, while the Super Bowl in football flourished, the event's namesake in poker was the complete opposite.

The lack of stability and a fixed venue prompted SBOP's operators to discontinue the once glorious event. Luckily, after the fall of SBOP, multiple poker tournaments arose. There's the West's staple European Poker Tour which made rounds in poker hubs like Germany and France. One can say that even with SBOP's fall, it was a blessing in itself since it paved way to a new generation of poker players.
















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