If you’ve ever played high stakes poker, then you understand the fear of all the 48 players who participated in this singular event, The Big One for One Drop at the WSOP. Why? The buy-in was $1 million. No, that’s not a typo.
Yes, tensions must have been high for those around the tables – all wondering if this hand would be the hand that would lose them a cool mill.
However, it was American poker pro Antonio Esfandiari who won the $1 million buy-in Big One For One Drop at the World Series of Poker, earning himself a whopping $18 million (no, that’s not a typo either) – the biggest payout in WSOP history. Iran-born Esfandiari and former UK soccer player Sam Trickett were vying for the win, playing heads-up for the bracelet. Second place took home $10,112,001, while hedge fund manager David Einhorn, who vowed to give all of his winnings to charity, was knocked out in 3rd with a very impressive $4,352,000 win.
Meanwhile, although legendary poker brat Phil Hellmuth was deprived of his 13th WSOP bracelet, he was pleased with a 4th place finish and a cool $2,645,333.
Cirque de Soleil founder Guy Laliberte, who was the brainchild behind the event, earned over $1.8 million for his 5th place finish.
“There’s no chance this could have happened without Guy,” poker pro Daniel Negreanu told ESPN.com. “He put this all together. The idea of a $1 million buy-in was ridiculous. He’s so tapped into the business world, though, that he was able to go out and recruit, rally the players. Without him, this never happens … he’s just really passionate about the charity. It’s a great way to raise awareness and a whole lot of money. The rake is going to charity. I think his passion for charity is what motivates him.”
For Antonio Esfandiari, however, he has reached his ultimate payout. Winning an amount this staggering is unheard of in the poker world and is the holy grail for Esfandiari.
“From day one I just believed I was going to win this tournament. I played my heart out and the poker god’s were on my side” Esfandiari said. “The cards came and everything went my way. My bluffs worked, my hands got paid off and I just saw it. I saw me winning the bracelet.”
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