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Magician Makes Competition Disappear to Win Richest Prize in Poker History at WSOP

Press Release by World Series of Poker

Poker Pro and magician pulls off his greatest trick yet!

LAS VEGAS (July 4, 2012) /PRNewswire/ -- Antonio Esfandiari earned a place in the record books last night by outlasting a field of multi-millionaires and billionaires to earn the richest payday in poker tournament history. Esfandiari, a 33-year-old poker pro and magician from Las Vegas, put up a cool $1 million to enter the BIG ONE for ONE DROP and walked away with a massive return on his investment: $18,346,673 million.

A total of 48 participants from around the world competed in the three-day event at the World Series of Poker (WSOP). Esfandiari’s first-place prize in the unprecedented $1 million buy-in event eclipsed the previous record for the largest single payout in poker tournament history: Jamie Gold’s $12 million win at the 2006 WSOP Main Event.

“I’m almost never at a loss for words, but I’m at a loss for words now,” the “Magic Man” told a capacity crowd at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. “I’ve played tournaments all over the world, but there’s never been one like this. This is the ultimate. This is the best.”

Full tournament results are available at:

The BIG ONE for ONE DROP was the 55th of 61 tournaments being held at the 2012 WSOP. Part of the All In for ONEDROP campaign that launched in November 2011, the BIGONE for ONE DROP was designed to benefit efforts to raise awareness on water-related issues and encourage the poker community to take action and create a powerful ripple effect.

The tournament, a No-Limit Hold’em event, is the creation ofONE DROP Chair and Cirque du SoleilŪ founder Guy Laliberte in collaboration with fellow Montreal resident and Caesars Interactive Entertainment CEO Mitch Garber.

Of each $1 million entry fee, $111,111 was donated to ONEDROP, generating a total charitable contribution of $5,333,328 million. The funds will be directed to ONE DROP projects around the world, where teams are hard at work addressing local water crises.

“I’m known for being an imaginative person, but this event surpassed even my expectations,” said Laliberte. “While only one person can walk away with the largest prize in poker history, everyone who participated in the BIG ONE for ONEDROP made an important contribution to a critical cause that impacts millions of people around the world.”

... Payvand News - 07/05/12 ... --

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