Antonio Esfandiari Wins Big One for One Drop Charity Event
After a year of hype, the Big One for One Drop $1 Million buy-in Event kicked off on Sunday at the 2012 World Series of Poker. The event did indeed sell out a couple of days prior and the field was packed with the best and brightest in the world of business and poker. Upon selling out the event, it was announced the winner would not only receive the first ever platinum WSOP bracelet, but also $18.34 Million in prize money.
One name that almost did not make the field of 48 was 12-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth. He failed to raise the capital to enter the event and wound up purchasing his seat from the winner of the MGM Resorts satellite for the event.
The field on Sunday was stacked and by the end of the day, 37 players remained. Out of the 11 players eliminated, all but two were poker pros. Among the players knocked out were Michael Mizrachi, former Main Event Champ Jonathan Duhamel, Bertrand Grospellier, and Erik Seidel.
Day 2 was played down to the final table of nine players and big names fell left and right. Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, and Jason Mercier all failed to make it to the final table. WPT announcer and WSOP bracelet winner Mike Sexton was the final table bubble boy and finished in 9th place. For his efforts he received just over $1 Million in prize money.
The final table of this event was amazingly balanced with four businessmen and four poker pros making the final. Former WSOP Main Event Champion Bobby Baldwin and Cirque de Soleil founder Guy Laliberte were the highest profiled businessmen at the final table. Hedge fund manager David Einhorn and Richard Yong were the other business at the final. Einhorn finished 18th in the WSOP Main Event in 2006 and donated his entire winning that year to charity.
Phil Hellmuth turned his satellite seat purchase into a final table run and was looking for his 13th career bracelet in this event. Brian Rast won two bracelets in 2011 and was looking for his 3rd career bracelet. Antonio Esfandiari and Sam Trickett entered the final table as the two chip leaders and many felt these two would be the ones to battle for poker richest prize ever.
Hellmuth would fall short of his 13th bracelet when he finished in 4th place in this event. While he took home $2.64 Million, he would actually only pocket just under $400,000 of that money since he had sold percentages of himself prior to the event. He had just 15% of himself in the event. David Einhorn impressed many by finishing 3rd in this event. Even more impressive than his finish is that he plans to donate the $4.35 Million prize entirely to charity.
Heads-up play in this matchup was among the two players that everyone expected to battle for the bracelet, Sam Trickett and Antonio Esfandiari. Esfanidari had a massive chip lead going into heads-up play. He held a better than 2:1 chip lead with 102 Million in chips to just 41.5 Million for Trickett.
Trickett did narrow the gap at one point between the two, but a huge hand that saw Esfandiari river trip nines against top pair for Trickett left Sam with around $30 Million in chips.
The final hand of the tournament unfolded just a few hands later as a raising war ensued between the two on a flop of Jd-5d-5c. Esfandiari finally moved all-in and Trickett made the call. Upon seeing the cards on their backs, Trickett found out that he had a big hole to climb out of. Esfandiari held 7d-5d for trip fives and Trickett held Qd-6d for a flush draw only. Worse still, Esfandiari had a diamond, knocking Trickett’s outs down to just 8.
The turn fell the 3h and everyone awaited what would be an $18 Million card. It was the 2h and Antonio Esfandiari ran into his crowd of friends to celebrate. Antonio Esfandiari wins the largest first place prize in the history of poker and becomes the all-time money leader in tournament poker history. In addition, he received the first ever platinum WSOP bracelet.
Congratulations to Antonio Esfandiari, Champion of the Big One for One Drop Charity Event.