$1Million WSOP One Drop Returns!

11 months ago
$1Million WSOP One Drop Returns!
08 Nov

When it comes to $1million buy-ins you’d be surprised just how many players are eager to pay up to play, and when the words WSOP, Vegas and The Big One for One Drop are included it’s even easier to attract the biggest names – with King’s Casino supremo Leon Tsoukernik the first to enter after WSOP Director Ty Stewart announced next summer’s massive event would return to Vegas.

It was Cirque Du Soleil co-founder Guy Laliberte who introduced the highest of the high-roller tournaments some 5 years ago, offering a chance for the best pros and keenest amateurs to fight it out in his ‘clean water charity’-driven $1million event, with Antonio ‘The Magician’ Esfandiari seeing off a field of 47 other hopefuls in 2012 to scoop the $18,346,673 top prize - raising a huge chunk of change for the One Drop Foundation in the process.

Two years later it was Daniel Colman who lifted top honours and $15,306,668 against 41 other millionaires, before Guy Laliberte made the very strange decision to move the event to Monte Carlo and limit it to amateurs in 2016 – a change which badly affected the turnout, with only 28 players.

The winner Elton Tsang - hardly a ‘non-pro’ or a shining light in the poker world - saw his €11,111,111 win reflect the usual One Drop high-roller buy-in of $111,111 - as with this week’s event in the Czech Republic, an event won by Germany’s Dominik Nitsche.

However, common sense has prevailed and this week saw the news that the event would head back to the bright lights of Vegas, Ty Stewart announcing:

"The WSOP's partnership with the One Drop foundation started with the Big One for One Drop back in 2012 and I'm happy to announce that the Big One for One Drop will return next summer for the 2018 WSOP from July 15-17. I'm looking forward to seeing some of you there."

The news came during the current WSOP Europe, being held at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, where the owner – multi-millionaire high-roller semi-pro Leon Tsoukernik – became the first person to pledge his $1million entry fee.

Tsoukernik stated in the WSOP press release:

“I am not only the first player to put his name on the list. I have also promised Guy that I will pick-up the phone to make sure the enthusiasm for the Big One translates once again into a great success for the charity,” explaining that: “I am a father of two and it really struck me when I heard that every 90 seconds a child dies from a water-borne disease. We all need to do something about it. Me, I have decided to do what I am best at: bringing people together to play poker.”

Leon added:

“I had the opportunity to work closely with One Drop around the World Series of Poker Europe this year and to get acquainted with Guy, and this made me understand the unparalleled importance of the cause of water. I know you all want to participate in this beautiful event, and I'm waiting for you all in Vegas. Thank you!"

Guy Laliberte himself explained what the huge event means, stating:

“The Big One is an important landmark in the history of poker. Players that I meet here and there remind me on a constant basis that this history lives on and that they want to be a part of it."

He continued:

“The thrill to compete for the chance of walking away with millions all the while contributing to an important cause - providing safe water access globally – has given strong roots to the event.”

Laliberte himself will be taking a back seat, telling reporters:

"I am currently working on a new major fundraising initiative that is tapping into another very important passion of mine and that will be announced soon. This leaves me with less time for poker, but I’m confident that after three editions, the Big One is mature enough to live without a big involvement on my part."

Ty Stewart added his thoughts on the initiative which has done so much to help those most in need, saying:

"…what is truly crazy is that to date we have raised more than $20 million because of the generosity of you all, which makes us one of the biggest charitable partnerships in the world. For anyone who says that poker players aren't charitable it's just truly amazing. That motivates us that there should be no end in sight."

The event will be capped at 48 players, and it’s a first-come, first-served basis for entries – a $50,000 deposit before July 1st needed to secure a seat alongside Leon Tsoyukernik for the July 15-17 charity extravaganza for which the WSOP also donate their usual fee – in this case $111,111 -  to the One Drop charity.

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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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