PLAYERS BIO<< Back to the Big One
Max Altergott - This young German pro has never cashed in a WSOP event before, or anywhere in North America. Altergott won nearly $2.3 million in a poker tournament in Monte Carlo one year ago and looks to translate his recent success into the biggest game in the world.
Bobby Baldwin - The 1978 WSOP Main Event Champion is not only a four-time bracelet winner, he is one of the top casino executives in Vegas. Baldwin served as a consultant for the Golden Nugget Casino and was named its president in 1984. Baldwin has also headed The Mirage (1987) and was named president of the Bellagio in 1998. He served under Steve Wynn as Chief Financial Officer of Mirage Resorts from 1999-2000. He now serves as president and CEO of City Center. Baldwin finished in seventh place in the 2012 Big One for One Drop event.
Jean-Robert Bellande - He once was featured on the reality TV hit show Survivor: China trying to win a million dollar first place prize. Now he will put up a million dollars to try and win potentially $20 million. We will see if one of the most colorful players in the game has what it takes to outlast, outwit and outplay these game players.
Daniel Cates - This young pro from Maryland doesn't have any WSOP cashes yet, but that doesn't mean he hasn't battled with some of the best of the players in the game online. You might know him better as "jungleman", the screenname he made famous a few years back. He isn't without live results either, recently taking second place in the EPT Monte Carlo Super High Roller event for over $1.7 million.
Stanley Choi - He may not have any WSOP cashes to his credit, but Macau cash game player Stanley Choi has one of the biggest paydays ever awarded outside of the WSOP thanks to his win in the Macau High Stakes Super High Roller event worth $6.4 million.
Daniel Colman - One of the younger players in the field, Colman is just 23-years-old. The Boston-area native doesn't have much in the way of WSOP results, but he has a long list of online poker accomplishments and recently won the EPT Monte Carlo Super High Roller event for over $2 million.
Connor Drinan - Last year, Connor Drinan won his way into the $111,111 One Drop High Roller event via satellite. He put those skills to use again just one year later, winning one of the two WSOP satellite seats to this event. Last year, he took 11th in the High Roller and final tabled another WSOP tournament, the $5,000 Six-Handed No Limit Hold'em event, so don't let the satellite status fool you, this Illinois native is a real pro.
David Einhorn - Einhorn is a hedge fund manager from Rye, New York. He is the Founder and President of Greenlight Capital. Green light capital is considered to be a "long-short value-oriented hedge fund". Started in 1996 with $900,000, Greenlight's annualized return for investors is about 22%. Having placed 18th in the 2006 WSOP main event, Einhorn donated his earnings to the Michael J. Fox Foundation. In 2012, Einhorn finished third in the Big One for One Drop event and donated the entirety of his $4.3 million payday to the nonprofit City Year, an organization that focuses on helping at-risk teens graduate from high school.
Antonio Esfandiari - The man known as The Magician made over $18 million appear in his bank account when he won the inaugural Big One for One Drop event. The event marked Esfandiari';s second career WSOP bracelet, and he picked up his third later that year at World Series of Poker Europe. Thanks mostly to his Big One payday, the Las Vegas-based poker pro now has over $26 million in career tournament earnings, making him the most financially successful tournament poker pro in history. Esfandiari is looking to be three-for-three in One Drop events, as last year he finished fourth in the $111,111 One Drop High Roller tournament.
Phil Galfond - This 2008 bracelet from Maryland nearly picked up bracelet number two last summer, finishing second to Steve Sung in the $25,000 Six-Handed No Limit Hold'em event. That runner-up finish brings the pro's WSOP earnings to just shy of $1.7 million. Galfond has plenty of other poker profits as well thanks to years of playing in the highest stakes online poker games under the screenname "OMGClayAiken".
Anthony Gregg - The Maryland poker pro won last year's One Drop High Rollers event at the WSOP, turning his $100,000 entry fee into a $4.8 million payday and captured his first WSOP gold bracelet.
Philipp Gruissem - This German pro is one of the most successful high roller tournament players in poker history with over $9 million in career tournament winnings, including a victory in the inaugural WSOP Asia-Pacific High Roller tournament worth over $860,000. There are no stakes too high for Gruissem, who also participated in the 2012 Big One for One Drop.
Tom Hall - One of the organizers of the big Macau cash games, Tom "Hong Kong" Hall originally haisl from Britain, but now resides in Hong Kong. The owner of the Asian Poker Tour, Hall not only helps to put the big cash games together, sometimes he plays in them. Last year, he final tabled the WSOP Asia-Pacific High Roller, taking sixth place.
Isaac Haxton - This five-time WSOP final tablist is a Brown University graduate with over $1.7 million in career tournament earnings. Haxton is on an elite list of players with a seven-figure score at the WSOP thanks to his runner-up finish in the 2009 $40,000 No Limit Hold'em event for which he collected $1,168,566.
Niklas Heinecker - Perhaps it is the Pius Heinz effect. As the winner of the 2011 WSOP Main Event, Heinz from Germany, has really helped push the game of poker to new heights in his home country. Heinecker becomes the sixth German poker pro to enter this event. Heinecker comes in as the winningest player in online poker in 2013, amassing $6,190,599 in earnings - more than twice as much as the next highest finisher. Heinecker has three previous WSOP cashes, including an 80 th place showing in the 2007 WSOP Main Event for $106,382.
Phil Ivey - A nine-time bracelet winner, Phil Ivey is widely considered to be one of the best players in the game. Second on the all-time money list with over $21 million in career tournament earnings, Ivey kicked off this year with an impressive win in the Aussie Millions $250,000 Challenge for over $3 million. A participant in the 2012 Big One for One Drop, Ivey is looking to join Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan on the elite list of ten-time bracelet winners.
John Juanda - This five-time bracelet winner originally hails from Indonesia, but established himself in the poker world in Las Vegas. A married family man, Juanda still finds time to put in the hours on the felt, posting some of the most consistent final table results of any player in the game. Juanda did not take part in this event in 2012, but is a frequent presence in the high buy-in WSOP events in Europe, Australia, and Las Vegas.
Gabe Kaplan- This Renaissance man is an actor, a comedian, a poker commentator, and a player. The "Welcome Back Kotter" star and former "High Stakes Poker" host proves he has the chops to both call and play in the biggest games in the world. Kaplan has participated in WSOP events dating back to 1978 and has six career WSOP final tables to his credit in a variety of games include Stud, No Limit 2-7 single draw, and Limit Hold'em.
Cary Katz - One of the 2012 participants in the Big One for One Drop event, the founder of the Colleg Loan Corporation is also an avid poker player who has taken part in high roller poker tournaments around the globe. Katz came close to a bracelet last year, finishing second to Davidi Kitai in the $5,000 Pot Limit Hold'em event. His career tournament earnings come in at over $2.1 million.
Bill Klein - This retired businessman and philanthropist from California is an avid poker enthusiast who took part in the Big One High Roller event last year. A cancer survivor, Klein often donates his winnings to charities with a medical slant like the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Shea Therapeutic Riding Center.
Igor Kurganov - This Russian poker pro sits atop the all-time Russian money list, and has final tabled high roller events in Macau, Melbourne and Monte Carlo. The first-time Big One entrant hopes to make his first WSOP final table. Kurganov cashed for the first time at last year's WSOP, finishing 11th in the $25,000 buy-in 6-handed No-Limit Hold'em event.
Guy Laliberté - Laliberté is the founder and chief executive officer of Canada's famous Cirque du Soleil circus troupe. Originally a street performer, Guy currently owns 95% of the company. According to Forbes Magazine, his net worth is $1.5 Billion US, making him the 654th richest man in the world. He is known for frequenting the highest stakes games both live and online. He became Canada's first private explorer in space and the first to engage in a Poetic Social Mission in space. He is also the founder of the One Drop Foundation, a philanthropic foundation to fight poverty in the world by giving everyone access to water. He finished fifth in the 2012 Big One for One Drop, picking up $1.8 million and a healthy donation to the foundation so close to his heart.
Erick Lindgren - This two-time bracelet winner and 2008 WSOP Player of the Year was one of the two winners in the $25,000 satellite into this tournament. Lindgren is already having a productive summer, not only winning his way into this event, but final tabling one of the toughest events of the year, the $10,000 Six-Handed No Limit Hold'em event. Lindgren and his wife, poker player Erica Schoenberg, are currently expecting their second child. Lindgren's career tournament earnings currently stand at just over $10 million.
Jason Mercier - This Florida native is a two-time bracelet winner who has amassed over $10 million in career tournament earnings after just six years of playing live. A former basketball player turned poker pro, Mercier won both of his bracelets in Pot Limit Omaha events, but is accomplished in all varieties of poker offered at the WSOP.
Greg Merson - The 2012 WSOP Main Event champion is a two-time bracelet winner, a successful cash game player, and one of the top talents in the game today. This year, Merson has been on fire, cashing four times already in 2014. Residing in Maryland, Merson travels the globe to play all the biggest cash games and tournaments. At 26 years old, his career poker earnings already stand at almost $11 million.
John Morgan - This Midwestern businessman was at the center of the most talked about hands of the 2012 Big One for One Drop where he folded quads, believing his opponent held a straight flush. Morgan is back for another shot at the bracelet. Morgan is the CEO of Winmark Corporation, which offers franchising opportunities for a variety of retail stores, including Plato's Closet.
Daniel Negreanu - The reigning WSOP Player of the Year is also the only player to win the prestigious title twice. Negreanu locked up the honors after a great 2013 where he won the WSOP Asia-Pacific Main Event, the WSOP Europe High Roller event, and battled with Eli Elezra heads-up for a bracelet in Vegas last summer. Negreanu owns six gold bracelets and his WSOP earnings currently stand at over $6.3 million.
Paul Newey - Newey is one of Britain's most successful and wealthy young entrepreneurs. He led Ocean Finance from its foundation in 1991 up to its sale in 2007 and stood down as chief executive officer in 2009. He currently serves as the co-founder of New Wave Ventures.
Doug Polk - This Big One for One Drop rookie already has one bracelet to his credit after winning the $1,000 Turbo No Limit Hold'em event. Originally from California, Polk now resides in Las Vegas. The Turbo victory was his first major live win, but thanks to a fourth place finish in the $100,000 event at this year's Aussie Millions, Polk has over $1 million in career tournament earnings. Polk has also amassed plenty of experience playing online as "WCGrider".
Fabian Quoss - The German poker pro has only two cashes to his name at the WSOP, his biggest a second place finish in 2009 good for $427,912. But Quoss is no stranger to high buy-in events, and he should feel right at home in this high stakes game despite being a first-timer.
Vivek Rajkumar - This poker pro and Washington native sticks to the cash games instead of tournaments these days, but nonetheless has 13 WSOP cashes to his credit, including one final table appearance. Rajkumar participated in the 2012 Big One for One Drop event and has almost $4.4 million in career tournament earnings.
Brian Rast - Brian Rast's sixth place finish in the Big One for One Drop event in 2012 is far from his only poker accomplishment. The Vegas-based poker pro is a two-time bracelet winner, not to mention the 2011 $50,000 Poker Players Champion, defeating Phil Hellmuth in a memorable heads-up battle for the ages. Rast was born in Denver, Colorado where he was the high school valedictorian. He began playing poker while in college after watching Rounders and eventually dropped out to begin his poker career.
Tobias Reinkemeier - Reinkemeier played in the inaugural Big One event and is the only one of the new confirmed names to have played the event previously. Sitting third on the all-time German player poker money list, Reinkemeier has three previous WSOP cashes to his credit. He also participated in the 2012 Big One for One Drop.
Rick Salomon - A participant in the original Big One for One Drop event, Salomon is a film producer from California who can frequently be found at the cash game tables in Las Vegas. In 2006, Salomon made a run in the Main Event, finishing in 196th place out of more than 8,000 players.
Doc Sands - Better known by his nickname, "Doc", Sands is a 29 year old poker pro originally from Bozeman, Montana and currently residing in Las Vegas. Sands and his now wife, Erika, were one of the big stories of the 2011 WSOP, as they both made deep runs, with Erika Moutniho taking 29th and Sands finishing in 30th place. Sands' results extend far beyond that though. Even though he isn't even 30 yet, he already has over $6.1 million in live tournament earnings.
Andrew Robl - Robl is a professional poker player who currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. Robl has accumulated over $3.5 million in earnings. Robl began playing poker with his friends in school. He would go to his local Barnes and Noble and quickly read over poker books to increase his knowledge in the game. Robl had instant success, he stated "I remember my sock drawer at home being stuffed full of crinkled and worn five and ten dollars bills, at times over a thousand dollars worth." Robl attended Michigan State University and continued to play in his spare time. Eventually, Robl decided to turn to poker professionally when he realized he was making more money in a shorter time then he would at a full-time job. Today, Andrew can be seen playing in some of the highest buy-in tournaments around the world, including the 2012 Big One for One Drop.
Ole Schemion - This 21 year old may be a rookie at the Las Vegas WSOP, but that doesn't mean this German youngster hasn't been tearing up the European circuit for a couple of years. Over the course of just three years, Schemion has already amassed over $5.2 million in career tournament earnings thanks to victories in the 2012 Partouche Main Event and six wins in European Poker Tour side events.
Noah Schwartz - A contender in the 2013 WSOP Player of the Year race, this Florida poker pro had a huge year last year, making three final tables, winning his first bracelet at WSOP Europe, and making a deep run in the Main Event, ultimately finishing in 52nd place. Schwartz has just shy of $4 million in career tournament earnings and frequently takes part in high buy-in events, including the 2012 Big One for One Drop.
Erik Seidel - This Poker Hall of Famer is an eight-time bracelet winner with too many seven-figure scores to count. A former Backgammon player and Wall Street trader, Seidel has been notching cashes at the WSOP since 1988, when he finished second to Johnny Chan in the WSOP Main Event in a heads-up battle made famous by the movie "Rounders". Seidel also participated in the Big One for One Drop in 2012.
Scott Seiver - This bracelet winner and Brown University graduate from New York is one of the top young players in the game today who has succeeded in a wide range of games besides No Limit Hold'em. In addition to the bracelet, Seiver also has wins in the WPT Championship and the PCA Super High Roller. At just 29 years of age, Seiver already has over $10.8 million in career tournament earnings.
Vanessa Selbst - Largely considered the best female player in the game today, Selbst breaks new ground again, becoming the first female to confirm her participation in the event. She's a two-time WSOP gold bracelet winner and a Yale University graduate. The Brooklyn-born Selbst ranks second all-time in WSOP earnings by a female.
Talal Shakerchi - This British hedge fund manager participated in the original Big One for One Drop event two years ago and is now back for more. Don't think that just because he is an amateur he doesn't have poker skills though. Shakerchi has found his share of success on the European high roller circuit and has over $1.7 million in career tournament earnings.
Dan Smith - An online poker whiz kid turned live tournament player, this New Jersey native is one of the new players in the Big One for One Drop line-up this year. He has already final tabled two events in 2014, bringing his career WSOP final table tally to three. Smith has earnings in events around the globe though, and his career tournament earnings currently stand at almost $8.3 million.
Brandon Steven - Steven is a business man and car dealership owner from Wichita, Kansas . His illustrious poker résumé includes over $1.3 millionin career WSOP earnings. In 2010 Brandon was the November Nine bubble boy, finishing in tenth place for $635,011. Last year, he final tabled the One Drop High Rollers event, finishing seventh for over $620,000.
Sam Trickett - The 2012 Big One for One Drop runner-up hails from from East Retford, United Kingdom. Trickett began playing poker in 2005 after a knee injury ended his career with the professional fútbol club Hartlepool United. Trickett is recognized as the most successful tournament player in the United Kingdom's history with over $20 million in career tournament earnings.
Christoph Vogelsang - Another German player, Vogelsang has only two previously recorded cashes in major poker tournaments and both have come in the last year. He has never played in a WSOP event before and will make his debut in the largest buy-in event on the schedule.