For poker fans and players alike, making it to the WSOP Main Event final table is a dream come true and, for most, completely unrealistic. Now, thanks to Charity Buzz, a site that puts once-in-a-lifetime experiences up for auction in the name of charity, some lucky soul is going to get a chance to get exclusive access to the 2016 November Nine.
Dubbed “Shuffle up and Deal,” the package promises the winner front row seats to the taping of the WSOP final table plus a behind-the-scenes tour of the WSOP production facilities. Also included is a private poker lesson with pro Frank Kassela, a former WSOP Player of the Year.
But maybe best of all is that the auction’s winner will be the one giving the “Shuffle Up and Deal” command prior to the start of poker’s most prestigious final table, and the moment will be part of the ESPN broadcast.
All proceeds from the auction benefit the One Drop organization.
The winner will spend three nights in a deluxe room at The Cromwell, “Las Vegas’ newest boutique hotel,” and dine at Giada, an exclusive restaurant opened by famed chef Giada De Laurentiis. Finally, the highest bidder will get the chance to have his photo snapped holding the coveted Main Event gold bracelet.
According to Charity Buzz, the package has an estimated value of $10,000. At the moment, viewers have made seven bids, bumping the price up to $2,502. On March 18, the auction will go offline and conclude at a live event called “One Night with One Drop.”
The One Drop charity was founded by the billionaire creator of Cirque du Soleil, Guy Laliberté, and strives to provide clean drinking water to communities in need. It views water as a “transformative force to improve living conditions,” which also helps give the vulnerable the ability to better care for themselves.
Those who attend the annual One Night for One Drop event will be treated to a one-night-only exclusive Cirque du Soleil performance and hobnob with celebrity sponsors like Michael Phelps, John Legend, Shania Twain and Pamela Anderson.
“We’ve worked with One Drop since 2012 and have seen first-hand that the cause they are working hard to address has a real meaningful impact,” said Seth Palansky, Caesars VP of Corporate Communications. “So for us, when One Drop asks us to support their silent auction, it really was an easy decision.”
One Drop and the WSOP have worked together for years to raise money for the nonprofit. Leveraging his connections in the high-stakes poker world, Laliberté partnered with Caesars to create the Big One for One Drop, a $1 million buy-in WSOP tournament which set aside a portion of players’ buy-ins for charity.
The event debuted in 2012 and quickly sold out, creating a massive top prize of $18.3 million, with $5.33 million going to One Drop. Poker pro Antonio Esfandiari bested the tough field that night and walked away from the inaugural event with the eight-figure first place payday.
The WSOP VIP package is just one of many which Caesars has graciously donated.
“We’re happy to help, and as you will see on Charity Buzz, Caesars as a whole has offered several different experiential packages for this cause,” continued Palansky. “We are fortunate that we have some very unique and engaging entertainment options and we are sure bidders will enjoy the opportunity to get up close with the WSOP and our other unique options.”
Poker legend Phil Hellmuth raised money for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Foundation on a similar website in 2014. The package included five different levels of experiences with the 14-time bracelet winner. Prices ranged from $16,700 to $42,900, with the high level giving you the chance to set up a two-hour private game with the pro and your closest friends.