Pros Mad About Being Barred from the Big One for One Drop

3 years ago
Pros Barred from the Big One for One Drop
08:53
28 Jul

A couple of weeks ago an announcement came down the wire that the Big One for One Drop would be happening in Monte Carlo this year. This marks a change from the last two Big One’s in 2012 and 2014, which were held during the World Series Of Poker at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Vegas like every other WSOP event. The only difference was that the Big One has the eye-wateringly large buy in of US$1,000,000.

This year’s Big One will be a little different from the last two. As well as the move across the Atlantic, the buy in is now €1,000,000, and if you have the spare cash, you can re-enter as many time as you like on on day 1. The biggest change however, is that this year pros will not be allowed to enter. The reasoning behind this is that deep pocketed entrepreneurs are just looking for high stakes fun, not be hawkishly exploited by the dead eyed sharks who grind the percentages for a living. The hope is that by keeping the pros out, there will be an increase in entrants.

If you don’t think you’ll be on the list, you can apply by going the Big One for One Drop website. Best get going quick, the opening soiree is happening on the 12th October 2016.

Guy Laliberte, founder of both Cirque du Soleil and One Drop made the video announcement for the event back on the 10th July. Since then, there have been a few complaints from pros in the twittersphere. After all, not only is the game the biggest tournament buy in in the world (last time around there was over $15million for first place) but it has also been one of the most celebrated. High stakes meant it was mostly big name players (no doubt backed by sponsors and/or syndicates), which made the final tables look like a rogues gallery of poker’s most Vatican assassins.


Charity vs Equity

But there is the rub. The One Drop is not ‘just another WSOP event’ – in fact there has been some debate as to whether the bracelet and WSOP player of the year points should even count towards WSOP rankings – it is charitable event and the decision to keep the wolves on the outside must indicate that Laliberte and Co think there are a lot of philanthropists, movie stars, captains of industry and sick degenerates out there with money to burn and bleeding hearts, or at least the motivation to appear like generous individuals, or who just like poker played for ALL of the gold.

The One Drop charity will be raking €111,111 from each buy in with the rest going to the prize pool. For those who balk at an 11.1111% vig on a million dollar entry fee, do bear in mind that the money is going to One Drop’s water access projects which have helped many hundreds of thousands on three continents.

Pros will be able to get their chip-calloused hands on some of those potatoes though, as they will be able to coach those players who can actually buy in. According to the event brochure the players will be paired with a coach “during the Big One Lunch, on October 14th, right before the shuffle up and deal... Of course, the player and the coach will have the chance to speak between hands, during breaks and at specific moments in private set up.”

In return for their coaching services the pros will take home 2.5% of the players profits over the buy in. If previous years are an indication that will be around €400,000 for whoever coaches the first place winner.



Huge Side Action

Those pros who can’t swing a coaching position shouldn’t be complaining too hard though. Just because they can’t play the main event doesn’t mean it is unlikely to be a profitable week.

The main event may be invitation only but there will be a number of side events which will be open to all, and should attract plenty of pros to sunny Monaco with crunchy buy ins which start at €10,000 and only get bigger as the week goes on. Yes, this is a week of events where the insignificant side events – even the satellites – start out with €10,000 entry fees.

The events, many of which will run at the same time as the Big One – a fact that will keep a lot of the whales away from the tables at first I would imagine – will be as follows: a €10,000 No Limit Hold’em (NLH) tournament, a €10,000 Pot Limit Omaha (PLO) tournament, a €10,000 NLH/PLO mixed-game tourny, a €10,000 NLH 6-handed event, a €25,000 NLH comp, €100,000 NLH game, and a €50,000 heads up NLH championship. Many of these are likely to be pro-heavy events, but with all the monied poker enthusiasts milling around the casino for the Big One, I expect one or two will make it to the other tables to donk off a little green.

On the other hand, if tournaments are not your thing then there will be cash games ranging from the high ( €25 - €25) to the nosebleed (€1000 - €2000). This being Europe, a good proportion of those tables will probably be Omahahaha. There will even be a mixed game table played with €20,000-€80,000 spread limits which will include – to quote their brochure – “Hold’em, Omaha, Omaha 8/B, 7 Card Stud, 7 Card Stud 8/B, Razz, 2-7 Triple Draw, A-5 Single Draw, A-5 Triple Draw, and Badugi, an exciting assortment.” I particularly like the confusing mix of A-5 and 2-7 lowballs.

There will also be a mysterious €1,000,000 buy in cash game which will be raked at a mere €150 per half hour. They should definitely televise that. I want to see Tom Dwan cry in European.



Buy-In Now

So, if you’ve got a spare million and fancy a shot at turning it into fifteen, a platinum bracelet, and a sustainable clean water project, then head over to the Big One for One Drop website for online registration. Pros or no, it looks like it will be quite a tournament.


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Jon is a freelance writer and novelist who learned to play poker after watching Rounders in year 9. He has been giving away his beer money at cards ever since. Currently he is based in Bristol where he makes sporadic donations to the occasional live tournament or drunken late night Zoom session. He ...Read more

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