Poker’s $1M Buy-in Big One for One Drop to Make Wynn Las Vegas Comeback

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Poker’s richest tournament is returning to Las Vegas. But the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop will no longer be a World Series of Poker event. The tournament will make its return from December 18 to 20 as part of the World Poker Tour’s World Championship Festival at Wynn Las Vegas.

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The Big One for One Drop has not been held in Las Vegas since 2016, and not all since 2018.

The competition hopes to raise money for the One Drop Foundation. The organization is dedicated to ensuring sustainable access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene for communities worldwide.

The Big One for One Drop is such an iconic tournament in the world of poker. We are honored to put on this incredible event in conjunction with the One Drop Foundation and Wynn Las Vegas,” WPT CEO Adam Pliska said in a statement. “The $1 million buy-in is a testament to the heights this industry can reach and the continuous evolution of the World Poker Tour.”

Six percent of each buy-in, or $60,000, will go directly to the charity, lower than the $111,111 donated from each buy-in in years past.

Biggest Prize in History

First staged in 2012, the Big One for One Drop was the brainchild of the Cirque de Soleil founder and high-stakes poker player Guy Laliberte, who also established the One Drop Foundation. Antonio Esfandiari won the inaugural event, beating a field of 48 to win an eye-watering $18.3 million, more than tripling his lifetime tournament winnings in one sitting.

The event was next won by Daniel Colman in 2014. He took down a $15.3 million first prize in 2014, defeating Daniel Negreanu heads-up.

Next, the event moved to Monte Carlo, known as the Big One for One Drop Extravaganza, an invitation-only event closed to professional players. The then-unknown Chinese-Canadian player, Elton Tsang, topped the field of wealthy amateurs, taking home €11,111,111 (then US$12.2 million).

A less exclusive iteration of the tournament returned to the WSOP in Las Vegas in 2018, where Justin Bonomo bested a 27-player field to take home $10 million.

‘Incredible Feeling’

This year’s event is expected to attract the usual mix of unbelievably wealthy amateurs and the world’s top high-stakes tournament players, most of whom will have sold large chunks of their action to afford the buy-in and mitigate personal financial risk.

“It is an incredible feeling to be able to have the support of WPT and Wynn to run our fifth edition of the Big One. … The magnitude of the buy-in, of the prize pool, but also of the funds that are directed to the crucial cause of access to safe water makes the Big One the event of all superlatives,” said a statement from Alexandre Meunier, One Drop Foundation’s  chief marketing and events officer.

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