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The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is a world-renowned series of poker tournaments held annually in Las Vegas and, since 2005, sponsored by Harrah's Entertainment. The 2012 World Series of Poker was held at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. It started in May and ran through July 16, with the final table of the Main Event returning in October.
WSOP dates its origins to 1970, when Benny Binion invited seven of the best-known poker players (supposedly the seven best in the US) to the Horseshoe Casino for a single tournament, with a set start and stop time, and a winner determined by secret ballot.
The winner of each event receives a World Series of Poker bracelet and a monetary prize based on the number of entrants and buy-in amounts. Over the years the tournament has grown, both in the number of events and the number of participants. Each year the WSOP culminates with the $10,000 no-limit hold'em Main Event, which since 2004 has attracted entrants numbering in the thousands. The victor receives a multi-million dollar prize and a bracelet, which has become the most coveted award a poker player can win. The winner of the World Series of Poker Main Event is considered to be the World Champion of Poker.