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Esfandiari Wins the Big One

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One Drop 2 of 9

Antonio Esfandiari made poker history on Tuesday when he won the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop event at the 2012 World Series of Poker, which awarded the winner a record-setting $18.3 million in cash.

Antonio Esfandiari made poker history on Tuesday when he won the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop event at the 2012 World Series of Poker, which awarded the winner a record-setting $18.3 million in cash.

Esfandiari was one of 48 poker pros, businessmen, and casino executives who each paid $1 million to play in the event that was added to the WSOP schedule for the first time. The brainchild of Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte (who is a big poker fan in his own right), the One Drop event would not only award the winner the most of any poker tournament in history but over $5 million was raised for the One Drop charity as well, which works to raise awareness about water-access issues around the world.

Two days of tense play would reduce the field from 48 players down to just a final table of eight, with the final table being filmed for boradcast on ESPN and the action broadcast on a live stream around the world for millions of poker fans to enjoy.

Esfandiari held a slight lead over Sam Trickett when the final table began and the two would remain in those positions for the entire final table, with the amateurs falling by the wayside and other pros bowing out to leave the two to duke it out for the top prize of over $18 million.

Esfandiari took a 3-1 advantage into heads-up play, winning big hands prior to heads-up play to give him a big cushion in his duel versus Trickett, who is no stranger to big games and has multiple $1 million scores in tournaments himself.

Heads-up play took just 15 hands to decide a winner, with Esfandiari flopping trips and getting Trickett to commit all his chips with just a flush draw that missed, crowning Esfandiari as the One Drop champion and shipping a $18.3 million payday his way.

Trickett couldn't feel too bad about finishing second, as he collected just over $10 million himself -- more than any other player has won in a tournament ever except for Esfandiari and Jame Gold, who took home $12 million for winning the 2006 Main Event.

 

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