23October2017

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Antonio Esfandiari Wins The Big One for One Drop

The biggest open tournament of all time has come to the end. The long-time chip leader and professional Antonio Esfandiari has been crowed the first ever Big One Winner, which comes with a cool one-of-a-kind platinum WSOP bracelet and the small matter of $18,346,673.

The win came in somewhat spectacular fashion as Sam Trickett a 26-year-old professional player from England went heads up against Esfandiari with what would have been the last hand of day three. At over 37 million in chips Trickett was miles behind Esfandiari, who had well over two and a half times his stack with 106.5 million. However, as any poker player will know this sort of chip difference can turn around quickly. In fact, one double up would have seen Trickett take the lead so the next big hand was pivotal.

On the 85th hand, Esfandiari started with a bet to 1.7 million from the button, the same thing he had been doing for much of the night, and he was called by Trickett. The flop came 5d Jd 5c, and this would turn out to be a huge. Trickett checked before Esfandiari raised it up to just over 2 million, Trickett re-raised to 5.4 million, before Esfandiari shot back to 10, then another re-raise from Trickett to 15, before Esfandiari finally called all in leaving Trickett so pot committed he had no choice but to make the call.

Esfandiari turned over 7d 5c to give him a set, and Trickett flipped Qd 6d to give him the flush draw. With an $8,000,000 difference in prize, this hand has pivotal and with the 3h hitting the turn and the 2h hitting the river Esfandiari picked up the biggest win in open tournament history.

At 26, Sam Trickett has already had an amazing journey, and he is clearly one of the players to watch out for in the future. Trickett is only one of four players to cash over $1,000,000 in four separate tournaments, a feat that puts him in the same category as Michael Mizrachi, Phil Ivey and Gus Hansen.

One of the funny things was that Esfandiari was actually booked by ESPN to be an analyst on the final day assuming that he busted out of the tournament. However, this never looked in any doubt as Esfandiari and Trickett were commanding chip leaders just about the whole way through the second day. The two actually went to the final table as the two top stacks with Esfandiari on roughly 40 million compared to Trickett’s 37. Together the two of them had about 50% of all the chips at the table so it may not have been a surprise to see those two heads up.

The Big One in association with One Drop was set up by Guy Laliberte, who actually ended up finishing 5th taking down $1.8 million and the WSOP owners. The tournament saw each of the 48 players donate $111,111 of the entry fee to the charity that supports equal access to clean water, which meant that the charity made over $5.3 million.

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