Las Vegas, Nevada (July 1, 2012) – One can be a powerful force.
History reveals that one voice can topple tyranny. It can free people from bondage and suffering. It can create justice.
The passion of one often provides us with our greatest thinkers, writers, composers, and artists.
The love of one made us who we are – each of us born into a world attached to a single human from our first breath of life.
The devotion of one often provides solace with the knowledge that most of us have someone special in our lives who serves as a safe harbor when seas are the roughest.
Oneness with nature and the universe is bliss.
Note: To follow action from The Big One for One Drop, click HERE.
Today, 48 very distinct individuals took to the stage at the Rio in Las Vegas in preparation for what many expect will be the most remarkable event ever in poker history. Yet, for all the multiplicity of those four dozen players who entered this unprecedented poker event – at least for one memorable moment in time, which took place at precisely 1:11 pm -- they were not 48, but a collective body of one.
That’s when Guy Laliberte, CEO of Cirque du Soleil, stepped up alongside Mitch Garber, Caesars Interactive Entertainment CEO and Ty Stewart, Executive Director of the WSOP, and pronounced the most famous words in poker, “Shuffle Up and Deal.”
At that instant – The Big One for One Drop was not so much about 48 individuals as it was one united body of 48 -- all committed to making this event one for the ages. All shared passion, love and devotion to the game of poker and also to the spirit of competition. More importantly, they shared being a part of a historic event which will do some very good things for people and make our world a better place.
Forty-eight extraordinary people each posted an unheard of sum of money to be part of this elite fraternity of one. As in one-million dollars – that was the entry fee for membership in this club and for a seat at the table. The irony is, from this moment forward, no one really knows how long he will remain within this exclusive club and remain sitting at the table. It could all be over in just one hand. One stunningly painful fleeting instant.
This is defined as a poker tournament, when it fact it is so, so much more. Most who initially heard the idea, thought it would never happen. And then there were those who said that if it did happen – there’s no way such a spectacle would capture the global spotlight of the poker world and in many ways even transcend the game. Certainly, no one could have conceived this million dollar game would turn into a complete sell out. Alas, to think there were people who wanted to post $1 million in cash, and were actually turned away.
That’s only part of the significance of The Big One for One Drop and this historic first.
The story lines and subtexts whirling around this competition are immeasurable. First and foremost, if there are two rival camps at odds during this three-day competition, it will most certainly be pros versus non-pros. Professional poker players are convinced they have the edge in this game. Perhaps they are right. After all, this is a sort of inherent home-field advantage for poker professionals. Non-pros are entering an environment which is new (for most) and potentially unfamiliar.
But anyone who thinks the non-pros will be pushovers is terribly mistaken.
Poker is often correctly cited as a metaphor of life, and particularly for business. This first-time competition has brought together many of the world’s brightest minds and most successful people in business and high-finance. We shall soon see if those extraordinary skills that worked so well to build business empires and vast fortunes will translate into success in what is much more than just a poker game.
The pros have something to prove, as well. This is their game. These are the world’s best poker players. Top to bottom, no one would dare argue this isn’t the best collection of players ever assembled. Now, they’re being challenged on their own turf.
Think of it this way: It's one thing for the average poker player to have to look Phil Ivey in the eyes and potentially make a call that may be worth millions of dollars and a WSOP gold bracelet. It’s quite another when the caliber of player sitting across from Ivey have, in reality, sat in that same metaphorical seat many times over in executive boardrooms. Each of these millionaires, and billionaires, and gadzillionaires, have spent a lifetime making multi-million dollar decisions. So perhaps, it’s the Ivey’s and the others like him who should really be fearful.
So, what's going happen? We shall soon see. These next three days are going to be mesmerizing to watch.
It's now underway – one astonishing group of poker players, one-million dollars as the buy-in, and one platinum WSOP bracelet at stake. Alas, on this historic day, at this memorable moment, we all began as one.
And, ultimately at the very end, there will only be one who remains -- and he will be a champion like no other.
He'll be -- the one.
Here is the official list of the 48 players who took seats in this historic event:
1. Bobby Baldwin -- Chief Design and Construction Officer, MGM Resorts Intl. (Las Vegas, NV)
2. Frederic Banjout -- CEO, Eden Shoes (Paris, France)
3. Bob Bright -- CEO, Bright Trading, LLC (Las Vegas, NV)
4. Ilya Bulchev -- Businessman (Moscow, Russia)
5. Roland De Wolfe -- Professional Poker Player (London, England)
6. Tom Dwan -- Professional Poker Player (Edison, NJ)
7. Jonathan Duhamel -- Professional Poker Player (Montreal, QC, Canada)
8. David Einhorn -- U.S. Hedge Fund Manager (Rye, New York)
9. Antonio Esfandiari -- Professional Poker Player (Las Vegas, NV)
10. Phil Galfond -- Professional Poker Player (Potomac, MD)
11. Bertrand Grospellier -- Professional Poker Player (Paris France)
12. Philipp Gruissem -- Professional Poker Player (Germany)
13. Giovanni Guarascio -- Businessman (Montreal, Canada)
14. Phil Ivey -- Professional Poker Player (Las Vegas, NV)
15. Eugene Katchalov -- Professional Poker Player (New York, NY)
16. Cary Katz -- CEO, College Loan Corporation (Las Vegas, NV)
17. Jens Kyllönen -- Professional Poker Player (Finland)
18. Guy Laliberté -- Founder, Cirque du Soleil (Montreal, QC, Canada)
19. Ben Lamb -- Professional Poker Player (Las Vegas, NV)
20. Tom Marchese -- Professional Poker Player (Parsippanny, NJ)
21. Jason Mercier -- Professional Poker Player (Davie, FL)
22. Michael Mizrachi -- Professional Poker Player (Miami, FL)
23. John Morgan -- CEO, Winmark Corporation (Minneapolis, MN)
24. Daniel Negreanu -- Professional Poker Player (Las Vegas, NV)
25. Paul Newey -- Chairman, New Wave Ventures (Dorset, United Kingdom)
26. Chamath Palihapitiya -- Venture Capitalist (Burlingame, CA)
27. Bill Perkins -- Owner, Small Ventures (Private Equity), (Houston, TX)
28. Paul Phua -- Asian Businessman (Miri, Malaysia)
29. Brian Rast -- Professional Poker Player (Las Vegas, NV)
30. Vivek Rajkumar -- Professional Poker Player (Las Vegas, NV)
31. Tobias Reinkemeier -- Professional Poker Player (Brighton, Germany)
32. Andrew Robl -- Professional Poker Player (Las Vegas, NV)
33. Phil Ruffin -- Owner, Treasure Island Resort (Las Vegas, NV)
34. Rick Salomon -- Film Producer (Los Angeles, CA)
35. Nick Schulman -- Professional Poker Player (New York, NY)
36. Noah Schwartz -- Professional Poker Player (Miami, FL)
37. Erik Seidel -- Professional Poker Player (Las Vegas, NV)
38. Mike Sexton -- Professional Poker Player/Commentator (Las Vegas, NV)
39. Dan Shak -- Founder, SHK Asset Management (Philadelphia, PA)
40. Talal Shakerchi -- European Hedge Fund Manager (Surrey, England)
41. Mikhail Smirnov -- Businessman/Poker Player (Moscow, Russia)
42. Justin Smith -- Professional Poker Player (Los Angeles, CA)
43. Brandon Steven -- Businessman/Car Dealer Owner (Wichita, KS)
44. Sam Trickett -- Professional Poker Player (East Retford, England)
45. Haralabos Voulgaris -- Professional Sports Handicapper (Winnipeg, Canada), (Lotto seat)
46. Richard Yong -- Asian Businessman (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
47. Gus Hansen -- $25,300 Mega Satellite – June 30 at Rio -- Professional Poker Player, Denmark
48. Phil Hellmuth -- MGM Resorts International VIP winner -- June 30, Palo Alto, CA
Note: To follow action from The Big One for One Drop, click HERE for the livestream of the event.
-- by Nolan Dalla