Two years ago, the first-ever $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop event seemed like a bold experiment, too crazy to possibly succeed. Yet, the event sold out, the final table was one of the most entertaining of the year, and the tournament raised more than $5 million to help bring water accessibility all over the world.
Now, here we are two years later and, once again, the poker community’s best and brightest turned out for a good cause and some tough competition, not to mention an eight-figure payday and a platinum bracelet. The field included some top pros, including the 2012 champ Antonio Esfandiari and runner-up Sam Trickett, as well as a number of amateurs from the business world like Guy Laliberte, John Morgan, David Einhorn, and Brandon Steven.
Everywhere you looked in the tournament area, there were big names from within and outside the poker world, but there was certainly one star who shined brighter than the rest on this first day of play and that was Trickett. The British poker pro was responsible for the first elimination of the day when he made a straight against Einhorn’s set to send last year’s third place finisher to the rail in Level 2. That was only the start of Trickett’s day though. He went on to bust two more players, Igor Kurganov and the lone woman in the field, Vanessa Selbst, boosting his stack well into eight-figure territory and the chip lead.
By day’s end, he would bag up 13,400,000 chips. His closest competitor in the counts, Tom Hall, would end with 9,125,000. While Trickett amassed his chips by busting players in big pots, Hall’s approach is just as impressive, as he managed to triple his starting stack without a single elimination to his credit.
Trickett was the one-man wrecking crew, but his trio of KOs weren’t the only eliminations of the day. Most of the Germans in the field, Philipp Gruissem, Max Altergott, and Niklas Heinecker, all busted before Day 1 concluded, as did the fourth place finisher in the 2012 One Drop event, Brian Rast.
While Trickett kept chipping up, Esfandiari initially struggled today, most notably in a big pot where 2012 WSOP Main Event winner Greg Merson shoved all-in on Esfandiari on the river. Esfandiari spent 15 minutes deliberating the decision before eventually folding. Merson filled us in on what was going through his mind during the crucial pot. The Magician would rebound nicely though, finishing the day fifth in the counts with 6,725,000. Merson, on the other hand, ended near the bottom of the counts with 1,625,000.The last release before the start of this event suggested there would be 41 players in the field. That is exactly the number play began with, but we quickly picked up an additional player when poker commentator and comedian Gabe Kaplan showed up at the first break. While registration was open for several hours after Kaplan registered, he ended up being the last player to get into the event, making the official field size 42 players. There were some late rumors that Phil Hellmuth, who final tabled this event in 2012, would make it 43, but it ended up being all talk and no action with Hellmuth staying on the sidelines. The group of 42 players who did play generated a prize pool of $37,333,338 not to mention $4.6 million for One Drop, the official charity of the WSOP and this event. Everyone who makes the final table will earn a payday in this tournament, with eighth place getting $1,306,667 and the winner taking home $15,306,668.Before players can get to the final table though, they’ll have to survive Day 2 of action on Monday. The opening day of play may have started off slowly, but tomorrow the field will thin out quickly, especially if Trickett keeps busting players at the rate he does. The competition is tough though, as reigning champ Antonio Esfandiari, Poker Hall of Famer Erik Seidel, recent ten-time bracelet winner Phil Ivey, reigning WSOP Player of the Year Daniel Negreanu, and One Drop High Roller Champ Tony Gregg will all be back for the second day of and all finished the day with more than the 3 million chip starting stack.
Live updates from the Day 2 action will be available on WSOP.com. Reports on some key facts and figures from Day 1 can be found here and here.Here are the top ten chip counts headed into Day 2 of the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop Event:1. Sam Trickett – 13,400,0002. Tom Hall – 9,125,0003. Phil Ivey – 7,675,0004. Daniel Colman – 6,875,0005. Antonio Esfandiari – 6,725,0006. Noah Schwartz – 6,275,0007. Rick Salomon – 5,890,0008. David Sands – 4,615,0009. Phiil Galfond – 4,390,00010. Daniel Negreanu – 4,270,000And here are the players who were eliminated over the course of Day 1 action:33. Rono Lo34. Dan Smith35. Niklas Heinecker36. Philipp Gruissem37. Brian Rast38. Max Altergott39. Vanessa Selbst40. Igor Kurganov41. Stanley Choi42. David Einhorn