Antonio Esfandiari wins Big One for One Drop and $18.3m

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For months, the poker community had been anticipating the historic Big One for One Drop tournament, which was guaranteed to produce poker’s biggest tourney winner of all-time. This $1 million buy-in event certainly didn’t disappoint either as the entire 48-player field was intently focused on the top prize. Of course, as you’ll see, there were plenty of other huge prizes and great stories in this tournament besides just the winner.

Esfandiari is on Top of the Poker World

Before the Big One for One Drop, Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari had definitely written a page for himself in poker history. But after capturing the title along with $18,346,673, Esfandiari deserves an entire chapter dedicated to his career. This is especially true when you consider how The Magician is now the all-time leader in live tournament winnings with $23,245,828. The next closest people on this list, Erik Seidel and Phil Ivey, are currently over $6.5 million behind Esfandiari in winnings.

As for the details of his victory, the San Francisco native built up a sizeable chip lead heading into the final table. When asked about his chances of winning before the final table started, Esfandiari told hostess Kara Scott that it was only going to be a matter of “when” he won the tournament – not “if”.

Esfandiari backed up his confident statement by ripping through the final table. About the only time that he experienced any problems was after losing the chip lead to Sam Trickett during heads-up play; but even this was only a minor obstacle on the road to further poker glory. Following his victory, Esfandiari made the intriguing statement that he wasn’t thinking about the prize money, but rather the win. Perhaps a good reason why The Magician wasn’t as concerned about the money is because his backers were due for a pretty big cut, which we’ll discuss below.

2012 Big One for One Drop Final Table:

1. Antonio Esfandiari – $18,346,673
2. Sam Trickett – $10,112,001
3. David Einhorn – $4,352,000
4. Phil Hellmuth – $2,645,333
5. Guy Laliberté – $1,834,666
6. Brian Rast – $1,621,333
7. Bobby Baldwin – $1,408,000
8. Richard Yong – $1,237,333
9. Mike Sexton – $1,109,333

Backers win Big – Especially with Phil Hellmuth

While it’s not totally clear what deals everybody worked out before the Big One for One Drop, we do know that poker pros relied heavily on backers to help with the massive $1 million buy-in. Sure there was a lot of prize money on the table, but no pros were willing to risk losing $1 million on a single tournament. Sixth place finisher Brian Rast talked about this by saying, “There are no poker players who are billionaires or hundred millionaires, like the businessmen who played”.

Even Phil Hellmuth took on investors to cover his buy-in, and they reportedly covered 85% of the amount. Following his fourth place effort, Hellmuth tweeted, “Finished in 4th place for $2.6 Million, a lot of money, but I had only 15% of myself…$18.3 Million would have come in handy!” Doing the math on the Poker Brat’s $2,645,333 prize, his 15% cut would be right around $396,800.

A few guys who didn’t need any backing were David Einhorn, Guy Laliberté and Richard Yong. These businessmen were able to cover the buy-in themselves and collect 100% of their action. That said, it’s likely that more than a few backers were glad to see actual poker pros take the top two spots since this money goes back into the poker economy.

Sam Trickett’s Celebration turns Sour

UK poker pro Sam Trickett was definitely on a high after finishing second in the Big One for One Drop and collecting $10.1 million. Obviously this called for a celebration, and he took to the streets of Las Vegas along with his girlfriend, Natasha Sandhu.

Unfortunately, this celebration turned sour when Trickett got into an altercation with six men outside of a Sin City nightclub. Apparently, the problem ended with the group beating Trickett up and spitting in his girlfriend’s face. He sent out the following tweets about the horrible ordeal along with a picture of cuts on his face:

Was having a great day until 6 guys did this to me. Seriously Wtf? Couldn’t be more angry… #cowards.

Is this what happens if ur successful? literally beat the shit out of me and spat in @NatashaSandhu face all over nothing.

The good news about Trickett’s beating is that he only spent one night in the hospital. Plus he can definitely take solace in the fact that his $10.1 million runner-up prize moves him into fourth on the all-time tournament winnings list. Going further, Trickett’s $16,471,097 in earnings give him over $10 million more than the next British player.

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