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Found 14 results

  1. We're three months away from the second-ever running of the World Series of Poker's Big One for One Drop, a charity tournament with a hefty $1 million buy-in that last took place in 2012. The steep price tag certainly hasn't stopped people from signing up in droves, as 23 poker players, businessmen, and qualifiers have already confirmed their attendance: 1. Antonio Esfandiari 2. Guy Laliberté 3. Bobby Baldwin 4. David Einhorn 5. Phil Galfond 6. Philipp Gruissem 7. Phil Ivey (pictured) 8. Jason treysfull21 Mercier 9. Paul Newey 10. Bill Perkins 11. Vivek Psyduck Rajkumar 12. Brian tsarrast Rast 13. Andrew good2cu Robl 14. Erik Seidel 15. Brandon Steven 16. Sam Trickett 17. Noah Schwartz 18. Anonymous Businessman 19. Anonymous Businessman 20. Anonymous Businessman 21. Aria Resort Satellite Seat 22. Bellagio Resort Satellite Seat 23. World Series of Poker Satellite Seat The first 17 players on the list above all participated in 2012, the first and only other time the Big One for One Drop has taken place. The tournament sold out at 48 entrants last time and, with the addition of another eight-max table this year, 56 players can be accommodated. If the tournament sells out once again, as expected, the first place prize could reach $20 million. Antonio Esfandiari (pictured), who won the 2012 installment and became poker's all-time money leader in the process, commented in a WSOP press release, "I can't wait to defend my title. The event was life-changing, but so was my trip to El Salvador after it with the One Drop organization to see first hand what a difference the money raised from this event can do for those in dire need of help." WSOP officials plan to reach out to additional players to recruit them to the One Drop field after already contacting everyone who played in 2012. The tournament is scheduled for three days beginning June 29 and $111,111 of each buy-in goes to charity. If the event sells out, the prize pool would be around $50 million. Anyone interested in playing is encouraged to contact WSOP officials. Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest WSOP news. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  2. Forty-two players showed up for this year's $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop at the World Series of Poker. After officials thought the tournament might sell out, there were more than a dozen openings in the 56-max tournament. Nevertheless, a cavalcade of brand name players turned out, including Sam Trickett (pictured), who has a pace-setting stack of 13.4 million entering Day 2 on Monday. --- PocketFives' WSOP coverage is brought to you by Real Gaming, a regulated online poker site in Nevada. Play Real Gaming, real money poker on any device. Play now for Final Table Freerolls. Skip straight to the final table and win cash daily. --- Trickett recorded the first elimination of the tournament to set the tone for the first day. Coverage on WSOP.com explained, "Trickett clashed with David Einhorn in a hand where the former turned the nut straight against the latter's flopped set of jacks. Einhorn was eliminated from play and Trickett suddenly held double the starting stack." Then, Trickett cracked the pocket queens of Igor Kurganov after hitting a straight on the river. From there, WSOP.com added, "Trickett and Vanessa Selbst played an 8 million chip pot where the three-time WSOP bracelet winner six-bet shoved with A-K. Trickett called with pocket kings and the two endured a roller coaster of a run-out. Trickett finished on top and the first-ever woman to participate in the Big One for One Drop was eliminated from play." Although this author swore up and down that 13-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth (pictured) would participate in this year's One Drop, "The Poker Brat" was a no show. He spent the weekend trying to raise $600,000 of his $1 million buy-in, at one point posting on Twitter, "This would make a great reality show: me raising $600,000 in the last couple hours for a poker tournament!" However, Hellmuth's meal ticket never came to fruition, as he Tweeted, "Thought I had $1 million, went over to buy into One Drop, but $130,000 that was supposed to be at cage wasn't there!" Thus, Hellmuth, who finished fourth in the 2012 One Drop, will watch this year's version from the sidelines. Trickett finished second in the One Drop in 2012 and the man he lost out to, Antonio Esfandiari (pictured), has the fifth largest stack after Day 1 this year. Esfandiari doubled up early on during Sunday's play courtesy of Dan KingDan Smith, who checked on a board of A-K-4-10-8. Esfandiari shoved and Smith, after asking for a count, called and turned over A-K for aces-up. Esfandiari had him beat with 4-4 and moved up to over 3 million in chips. Here's how the One Drop field looks as play begins on Day 2 at 1:00pm PT: 1. Sam Trickett - 13,400,000 2. Tom Hall - 9,125,000 3. Phil Ivey - 7,675,000 4. Daniel Colman - 6,875,000 5. Antonio Esfandiari - 6,725,000 6. Noah Schwartz - 6,275,000 7. Rick Salomon - 5,890,000 8. David Doc Sands Sands - 4,615,000 9. Phil Galfond - 4,390,000 10. Daniel Negreanu - 4,270,000 11. Erik Seidel - 4,250,000 12. Brandon Steven - 4,205,000 13. Tobias Reinkemeier - 4,125,000 14. Doug Polk - 3,885,000 15. Connor blanconegro Drinan - 3,685,000 16. Gabe Kaplan - 3,475,000 17. Tony Gregg - 3,415,000 18. Isaac Haxton - 3,370,000 19. John Juanda - 3,215,000 20. Cary Katz - 2,945,000 21. Paul Newey - 2,845,000 22. Bill Klein - 2,840,000 23. Erick Lindgren - 2,175,000 24. Christoph Vogelsang - 2,060,000 25. John Morgan - 1,800,000 26. Talal Shakerchi - 1,685,000 27. Daniel Cates - 1,670,000 28. Greg gregy20723 Merson - 1,625,000 29. Scott Seiver - 1,165,000 30. Guy Laliberte - 1,030,000 31. Jean-Robert Bellande - 1,005,000 Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest WSOP news, sponsored by Real Gaming, a regulated online poker site in Nevada. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  3. The poker media was left puzzled and dismayed when World Series of Poker One Drop champion Daniel Coleman (pictured) refused to give interviews after winning a massive $15.3 million first-place prize in the million-dollar buy-in tournament. --- PocketFives' WSOP coverage is brought to you by Real Gaming, a regulated online poker site in Nevada. Play Real Gaming, real money poker on any device. Play now for Final Table Freerolls. Skip straight to the final table and win cash daily. --- Coleman's solemn lack of celebration and quick exit from the building sparked a heated debate in the poker community as to whether the 23-year-old grinder was doing the game a disservice by choosing not to answer any questions after the victory. But instead of speaking to ESPN, which had been filming the event for broadcast at a later date, Coleman popped up in a TwoPlusTwo thread to explain the reasoning behind his actions. The post only inflamed opinions about his behavior even further. "First off, I don't owe poker a single thing. I've been fortunate enough to benefit financially from this game, but I have played it long enough to see the ugly side of this world," he said. "It is not a game where the pros are always happy and living a fulfilling life." Calling poker a "very dark game," he reasoned that most recreational players were losing money they couldn't afford to lose and that advertising gambling on television was playing off "people's impulses" and "targeting their weaknesses in order for them to make irrational decisions." Fellow pros like Schneids quickly responded: "It's hard for your message to have any level of sincerity when you are well known for trying to tilt your opponents in chat, for trying to slowly goad them into playing you for higher stakes HU, in your cunning sly ways you do." He also pointed out that giving an interview didn't equal promoting the game. "You could've done an interview and admitted to being a bit self-loathing because you believe poker has been a net negative for too many lives, even if it has been a tremendous positive in yours," he added. Dankhank was extremely critical of Coleman's seemingly selfish attitude and referred to a previous interview in which the One Drop winner had stated his intention to quit poker in the next few years to pursue other interests. "How nice for him that his financial stability, scorched earth policy toward the game (not just refusing interviews but also trash talking opponents to get more action from them), moral high ground, and recent huge score all line up so perfectly." On Twitter, high-stakes pro Kevin BeL0WaB0Ve Saul (pictured) was a bit more succinct in his disagreement with Coleman's actions. "When he entered the #BigOneForOneDrop, Dan knew what was expected from the winner and also knew he wanted to give poker a big fuck you." David "Viffer" Peat was on the 23-year-old's side, commending the pro on Twitter. "Hats off to Coleman for following his decision. We don't owe the Rio anything; they are predators taking enough from poker." Coleman's controversial move even brought TwoPlusTwo founder Mason Malmuth into the conversation who applauded the young pro, saying that he should be "commended for giving an honest answer" and calling it "quite refreshing." Second place finisher Daniel Negreanu, on the other hand, was more than happy to speak to the media and stuck around for over half-an-hour answering questions. He was quick to congratulate Coleman on the win and back his decision to shy away from the media. "I respect it completely," he told the Las Vegas media. "To each his own. If it's not something he wants to do, then I think we should all give him a break." Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest WSOP news, brought to you by Real Gaming, a regulated online poker site in Nevada. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  4. With the Big One for One Drop just nine days away, World Series of Poker officials have announced the addition of 11 more players to the event, bringing the total confirmed field to 41. Still absent from the list, though, is 13-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth (pictured), who recently took to Twitter in search of backers. --- PocketFives' WSOP coverage is brought to you by Real Gaming, a regulated online poker site in Nevada. Play Real Gaming, real money poker on any device. Play now for Final Table Freerolls. Skip straight to the final table and win cash daily. --- "I'm raising money for $1 Million One Drop tourney:$100,000 for 9%. Finished 4th in 2012, skipped it in 2013 because I wasn't in form," he said. A few weeks back, Hellmuth was hesitant about whether he would enter the tournament again this year, commenting that he would wait and see how he was playing before committing. But, his recent second place finish in a $1,500 Razz eventcould have been the confidence-booster he needed to make a decision. In that tournament, Hellmuth narrowly missed snagging his 14th gold bracelet, losing out to friend and high-stakes pro Ted Forrest. On Tuesday in an interview with PokerNews, Hellmuth discussed his feelings on the One Drop, saying, "I don't know, I may or may not play. I need to be able to raise enough money where I feel comfortable risking the right amount of money for me," he said. "I think I'm probably close to what I want, but we'll see." He also spoke about his decision to skip last year's $100,000 buy-in event. "Last year, someone had a piece of me and they were begging me to play," he recalled. "I just said, 'No, I don't feel like I'm in form.' This year feel like I'm in form, so I want to play." Hellmuth wasn't the only one soliciting backers on social media this year. Daniel Negreanu (pictured) also leveraged his Twitter followers by announcing that he was looking to sell 50% of his action. He has now met his goal, as he is probably the most well known name in the recent list of One Drop additions. "I was always going to play it," he told PokerNews with a smile. "I'm in… You know I'm not going to miss that tournament." The list of newcomers also includes several well known grinders including Daniel "Jungleman" Cates, Doug Polk, Issac Haxton, 2012 WSOP Main Event winner Greg Merson, and young Massachusetts pro Daniel Colman. Of course, the field isn't dominated solely by poker pros; there are several businessmen slated to play as well. Tom Hall, known as "Hong Kong Tom," is a regular in the ultra-high-stakes games in Macau and is one of the few sources of information on those exclusive games. John Morgan, CEO of Winmark, will be back again this year after being involved in whatPhil Galfond called the "craziest hand I've ever seen" back in 2012. You might recall that Morgan pressed Russian businessman Mikhail Smirnov to fold quad eights for fear he held a straight flush. Rounding out the list of new participants is British businessman and amateur poker player Talal Shakerchi and an "anonymous businessman" who "has been known to play in some of the high-stakes games in Macau." "This will be another iconic mix of participants, raising millions for charity and likely awarding the largest first place prize in poker history. We can't wait to see it unfold," WSOP Vice President of Corporate Communications Seth Palansky told PocketFives. This year's Big One for One Drop will be featured on ESPN and will kick off on June 29. Guy Laliberte's One Drop foundation will receive $111,111 of every buy-in as a charitable donation, with the rest going to the winners. If all 56 seats are bought, the winner will receive a massive first place prize in excess of $20 million. Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest WSOP news, sponsored by Real Gaming, a regulated online poker site in Nevada. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  5. On Tuesday night, the world watched as Dan Colman (pictured) won the World Series of Poker's Big One for One Drop on ESPN. Colman was largely stoic after the final cards were dealt and for the most part looked stunned. He quickly declined interviews and exited the Rio while second place finisher Daniel Negreanu cordially stuck around, spoke to the press, and took pictures. --- PocketFives' news coverage is brought to you by Betsson Poker, a leading global online gaming provider. Betsson Poker is available on Mobile and offers regular promotions to live events around the world along with great bonuses and competitions. Play nowfor a chance to win the a Dream Holiday with the Grand Poker Adventures throughout 2014! --- On TwoPlusTwo after the fact, Colman called poker a "very dark game" and added, "I don't owe poker a single thing. I've been fortunate enough to benefit financially from this game, but I have played it long enough to see the ugly side of this world. It is not a game where the pros are always happy and living a fulfilling life." On Tuesday, Colman spoke up again, this time on Twitter, saying, "While I appreciate @lonmceachern's and @RealKidPoker's attempts to hypothesize at me being a 24-year-old who doesn't know who he is yet, I am actually 100% certain who I am." Colman then spouted off, "I find it to be a much greater accomplishment (and necessary) if thru solidarity, we can get everyone at the bottom to all move up a couple rungs on the ladder. This can be done once we stop idolizing those who were able to make it to the top." The One Drop champ, who added $15 million to his coffers for the win, cleared up earlier comments by saying the following in two successive Tweets: After calling poker a "distraction," several people asked a logical follow-up question: "If it's such a distraction, why do you play then?" Another person commented, "By not speaking, you have made more noise, which was probably the opposite of your goal." Another person on Twitter gave Colman a straightforward exit plan: "Lost all respect for you man... Give all the money to charity and bounce the F out of poker if you don't like it." Shortly after Colman's original comments about poker came out in July, Negreanu offered the following words of wisdom to Colman about perhaps pursuing another career choice in a blog on Full Contact Poker: "If you are genuinely having an issue with the morality of playing poker for a living, make a choice. Don't compromise your own moral code for money. If you truly believe in your heart that what you are doing hurts people, and you don't want to hurt people, you need to make a choice." What do you think? Leave a comment here and let us know. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  6. As you might know, on Tuesday night, PocketFives was camped out at Borgata in Atlantic City watching the finale of the first ever live PocketFives Open. Accordingly, we missed the premiere of ESPN's coverage of the Big One for One Drop, which created such a buzz in the mainstream world that we felt compelled to record a rerun and write about what ESPN commentator Lon McEachern argued could qualify as the "worst beat in the history of tournament poker." --- PocketFives' news coverage is brought to you by Betsson Poker, a leading global online gaming provider. Betsson Poker is available on Mobile and offers regular promotions to live events around the world along with great bonuses and competitions. Play nowfor a chance to win the a Dream Holiday with the Grand Poker Adventures throughout 2014! --- The Big One for One Drop took place several weeks ago as part of the World Series of Poker and featured 42 players putting up a $1 million buy-in. One of them, PocketFiver Connor blanconegroDrinan (pictured above), called all-in pre-flop with pocket aces in a hand against Cary Katz, who also had aces. It seemed like a sure bet for a chop. In fact, ESPN poker commentator Norman Chad kept spouting lines about the hand and why it was taking so long, including "The edge here belongs to Katz, who holds the ace of spades, the prettiest card in the deck." Chad was right… almost. Meanwhile, Scott Seiver, who was also at the table, pointed out, "I'm not saying this is going to happen, but this is how I busted with 11 left in the $10K last week." Talk about bad karma. Drinan and Katz were both 2% to win heading to the flop, which had two hearts and bumped Katz to 5% to win. The turn was – you guessed it – another heart, improving Katz to 20% to win. Reigning One Drop champion Antonio Esfandiari then uncomfortably said, "I feel like it might." Might it did. The river was the deuce of hearts, instantly drawing profanity and leaving McEachern saying that the hand might be "the worst beat in the history of tournament poker." As Chad chimed in, "A million-dollar buy-in wiped out with aces versus aces." Drinan was sent to the rails and Katz (pictured) raked in a very lucky pot, moving up to second in chips with 114 big blinds. The hand prompted a front page article on Yahoo on Wednesday, the day after the first two hours of the One Drop aired. Outlets like the Toronto Sun, USA Today, and SI.com all wrote about it and my wife, when I told her I was writing about this hand for PocketFives, said, "I saw an article and can tell you what happens." That's how you know it's big. One YouTube version of the hand had a stunning 5.3 million views, which you can add to by clicking here. The One Drop continues next Tuesday on ESPN, which provided the images used in this article. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  7. Last week, the Big One for One Drop played out at the World Series of Poker. Its winner, Dan Colman, exited stage right shortly after his $15 million win and refused media interviews despite the fact that ESPN is devoting three weeks of coverage to the event. --- PocketFives' news coverage is brought to you by Betsafe, one of the leading suppliers of online gaming products worldwide and a major sponsor of Gumball 3000. Sign up now for great bonuses, €3,000,000 guaranteed monthly, and plenty of live events! --- On TwoPlusTwo after the fact, Colman called poker a "very dark game" and added, "I don't owe poker a single thing. I've been fortunate enough to benefit financially from this game, but I have played it long enough to see the ugly side of this world. It is not a game where the pros are always happy and living a fulfilling life." Contrastingly, his heads-up opponent, Daniel Negreanu (pictured), who became poker's all-time money leader after an $8 million haul, was affable following the tournament and then took to his own blog on FullContactPoker to talk about his sentiments. Again, this is after Negreanu lost a heads-up match for $7 million in real money. Negreanu agreed with Colman in part, writing, "Truth is, most of you reading this will be lifetime losers at poker. You are unlikely to become successful professional poker players. It is available to all of you, and some of you will find success at the tables, but the truth is clear: most of you will fail. Sucks huh? It's the truth and he is right about that." Negreanu reminded readers that the One Drop event, which donated $111,111 of each player's buy-in to charity, raised over $4 million. He added, "Colman is a successful player and makes millions because he is an exceptional talent, an accomplishment I would hope he is proud of when he looks back on his life and the opportunities poker has now given him to be financially free and make a difference in the world however he chooses to." To contrast Colman's less-than-rosy picture of poker, Negreanu emphasized the game's strong suits, including "playing games and using your mind on a regular basis is excellent exercise for the elderly" and "people with gambling addictions are drawn to more instant gratification games like slot machines rather than a game of wits like poker." "[Be]thankful that you found a game you both love to play and are also good enough so that you can make a life for yourself," Negreanu, 39 years of age, advised Colman (pictured), 15 years his younger. "You don't owe poker anything, sure, but poker has given you a lot." Negreanu closed by suggesting that Colman, if he truly believes poker is a "dark game," should perhaps consider a career change: "If you are genuinely having an issue with the morality of playing poker for a living, make a choice. Don't compromise your own moral code for money. If you truly believe in your heart that what you are doing hurts people, and you don't want to hurt people, you need to make a choice." We've heard that most of the ESPN coverage of the One Drop will be focused on Negreanu, who became poker's all-time money leader in the event and is one of the most visible and gracious ambassadors poker has to offer. The event will begin airing on July 29 on ESPN. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  8. The $1 million buy-in World Series of Poker Big One for One Drop is just a month-and-a-half away and the limited seats on offer are quickly starting to fill. Adding to the 23 participants confirmed in March, WSOP officials have revealed that 10 more players will battle it out for what could be the biggest first place prize in sports history, bringing the total to 33. WSOP officials announced on Thursday that the total attendance is now nearing 40. The recent additions to the list include Anthony Gregg, last year's winner of the One Drop High Roller Event; Igor Kurganov, the top Russian money winner; and five German poker pros. Joining that group are the notable entries of Vanessa Selbst, the first female participant in the tourney, and Jean-Robert Bellande (pictured), a one-time contestant in the reality show "Survivor." Selbst, a two-time WSOP bracelet winner, has over $9.6 million in live tournament earnings and is considered one of the best female players in the game. "I'm so excited to be taking part in the Big One for One Drop this year," she said. "I didn't get to play in 2012, but after seeing how much fun everyone had with the event as well as how profound an impact it had on One Drop, I knew I had to be a part of it this time around." Bellande, who has developed a social media following with his high-stakes poker antics, surprised and delighted his followers by posting a picture of himself on his Instagram feed holding bricks of cash while buying into the event. "There goes a milly! I just bought into the 1-Drop. If I win this, it'll be brokeliving no more," he posted. Conspicuously absent from the list is six-time WSOP bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu (pictured). The PokerStars pro isn't keen on putting up 100% of the massive buy-in himself and has been soliciting investors on Twitter. "I'll be selling 50% of my action for the One Drop $1 million buy-in this year. Get at me if you want to buy a piece. $5k minimum," he posted. "Oh, and I'm gonna win and all that," he added. Phil Hellmuth is another big name who hasn't made the decision to risk the seven-figure chunk of his bankroll, reportedly saying that he would see how he was playing before he commits. The inaugural Big One for One Drop event was held at the 2012 WSOP and won by Antonio Esfandiari. The 35-year-old bested a field of 48 players and took home a massive $18.3 million payday, bumping his total live tournament winnings to over $26 million, becoming tournament poker's all-time money leader. In 2013, he came close to another One Drop win, taking fourth place and $1.4 million in the $100,000 version. While some players are still searching for backers, organizers believe that all 56 seats that are available will eventually be claimed. If participation reaches its cap, they boast that the first prize payout will be in excess of $20 million. Of the 33 seats that have been locked up, three have been reserved for the winners of high-stakes satellites. On June 28, the Rio will hold a $25,300 satellite and give players several opportunities to "step" their way up with buy-ins as low as $200. Here were the first 23 entrants. As part of its charitable offering to the One Drop Foundation, the WSOP will not collect any fee from the tournament and, instead, $111,111 will be donated from each player's buy-in. Tournament money winners will also be given the chance to make donations at the end of the event if they choose to do so. Guy Laliberte (pictured), the billionaire creator of Cirque du Soleil and former space tourist, founded One Drop. The organization's mission is to stamp out poverty by providing access to clean drinking water around the world. Laliberte is an avid poker player who enjoys playing the highest stakes available and has reportedly lost tens of millions of dollars through his various Full Tilt Poker accounts. The Big One for One Drop will kick off on June 29 and run until July 1 as part of the 45th annual World Series of Poker. ESPN will film the entire event and broadcast the footage to the world in three-day blocks on July 29, August 5, and August 12. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  9. Jean-Robert Bellande(pictured) recently surprised the poker community when he Tweeted a picture of himself holding bricks of cash, buying into the $1 million WSOP Big One for One Drop. Many wondered how someone who has built a social media following by styling himself as being perpetually broke could come up with the astronomical sum necessary to enter such an event. Luckily for his fans, Bellande isn't a man prone to mystery and in a candid interview with Bluff Europe gave more details on how the whole thing came about. "I wanted to play last time a couple of years ago. I raised about 60% of the money and then it didn't happen," he explained. "Recently I've had a couple things go my way and had a few people say they were interested in partnering with me for the One Drop. So, I decided to give it a go." Bellande has reportedly been on a hot streak at the high-stakes games hosted at notorious Instagramer Dan Bilzerian's house. "I had a pretty good score recently at my buddy [Dan's]house," he said. "That gave me a chance to put a decent portion away. I'm not going to be broke living anymore!" In a seven-figure buy-in tournament, even the most well bankrolled pros are wary of putting up the entire amount themselves. Even PokerStarssponsored pro Daniel Negreanu (pictured) has taken to selling 50% of himself for a seat. So how much of a stake does Bellande have in himself? "I can say I have less than 30% of myself," he revealed. "I can't say much more than that." But he did dish more on his relationship with Bilzerian, saying that the high-stakes gambler had staked him, but lost around $1 million and jumped ship. Even so, he said, the two remain friends and constantly needle one another at the tables. "He loves to give me a hard time and loves busting my balls and I do the same to him," he said. "I'm a fan of his; I'm not going to say he's a fan of mine, but he's definitely in my corner." Bellande claims that much of Bilzerian's social media success stemmed from the popularity of his own Twitter following. "He saw my broke living thing and said, 'Let me give the world a taste of some rich living," he said. For someone who will soon play in a million-dollar tournament, Bellande is surprisingly relaxed about the whole experience. While many would take the opportunity to hone their skills, the 43-year-old revealed that he has only played "something like 2-3 tournaments in the past six months." Even so, Bellande thinks he is underrated by his peers and has a unique advantage due to his experience in private high-stakes games. "I know how to play against fellow pros and I know how to play against business guys," he claimed. "In the cash games, I play against both groups all the time," he said. "There's a difference: you can't play against the two the same and I'm somebody who understands that difference. I think that's going to give me an edge." There are some, though, whom he would rather avoid, calling Brian Rast, Andrew Robl, Scott Seiver, and defending champion Antonio Esfandiari (pictured) "super tough." "I'm not fearing anybody, though, but obviously I'd rather be up against less tough opponents," he admitted. Bellande, known for being charismatic and down to earth, thinks that a One Drop win for him would also be a win for the entire poker community. "Me winning this One Drop would be akin to when Chris Moneymaker won the WSOP Main Event. It's something that would be great for poker." Seats for the Big One for One Drop are filling fast, with the event set to run from June 29 to July 1. The One Drop foundation, created by Guy Laliberte, will receive $111,111 from each buy-in as a charitable donation. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  10. [caption width="640"] The Big One for One Drop is back for 2016 - but with significant changes[/caption] The biggest buy-in poker tournament - the Big One for One Drop - in history is back for 2016, but there are a few important changes that will be sure to catch a few people by surprise. “The Big One for One Drop is back. This time at the iconic casino in Monte Carlo in a new reinvented format for recreational players only,” said Guy Laliberte, theCirque du Soleil founder who helped create the One Drop charity. That’s right - recreational players only. Poker superstars like Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari and Erik Seidel won’t be able to play under the format change. Laliberte hopes this will have a net-positive impact on the charitable initiatives of One Drop. “From the beginning, we knew that The Big One for One Drop was a unique event,” said Laliberté. “This year, by shifting the focus to recreational players, we’re looking to bring fun and innovation to charitable giving. We believe the events in Monaco will attract high net-worth individuals from across the globe to enjoy the game, the networking opportunities and the incredible VIP experiences only available in one of the world’s most iconic settings.” The €1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop runs October 14 - 16 at the Casino de Monte-Carlo in Monaco. Players will be able to re-enter until the end of Day 1 and €111,111 of each buy-in goes directly to the One Drop charity. One Drop works to provide better access to clean water in third world countries. The other important change for 2016 is the buy-in. The $1 million buy-in has been replaced by a €1 million buy-in. At current exchange rates that equals $1.1 million buy-in making it the largest buy-in tournament in history. “The Monte Carlo One Drop Extravaganza featuring the Big One for One Drop Invitational surrounded by a full slate of tournaments and cash games every day,” said Laliberte. “Players from around the world will come to this exclusive destination October 13 - 17.” The festival schedule includes a day full of Step qualifiers with buy-ins of €10,000, €50,000 and €250,000. There are also seven other tournaments with buy-ins ranging from €10,000 to €100,000. A portion of each buy-in goes directly to the One Drop charity. There is also a €1,000,000 buy-in cash game running on October 17. The Big One for One Drop, which attracted a mix of top-flight professional players and wealthy businessmen looking to test their poker game in a high-stakes tournament, debuted at the 2012 World Series of Poker and was won by Esfandiari. It ran again two years later when Dan Colman beat Negreanu heads up to win the $15 million first place prize.
  11. [caption width="640"] Elton Tsang now has another =97% million to his name after winning the 2016 Big One for One Drop (WSOP photo / Neil Stoddart)[/caption] The biggest buy-in event in poker history was designed to be different than any other big buy-in event ever. The 2016 Big One for One Drop had a buy-in of €1,000,000 ($1.1 million US) and for the first time in the history of the event, no pros allowed, just rich businessmen who play the game as a hobby. Elton Tsang outlasted 26 other players - some who entered more than once - to win €11,111,111 ($12,189,918 US) and a special edition WSOP bracelet. Tsang, who has had some success in super high roller events in Asia over the years, beat out a final table that included Brandon Steven, Rick Salomon, James Bord, Haralabos Voulgaris and Andrew Pantling to win the third largest first place payout in poker history, behind only the first two version of the Big One for One Drop. “I was feeling good, feeling comfortable, getting cards, my bluffs were working, getting a good read on the table,” said Tsang. “It was just going my way. It was going good.” Tsang came into the final table with the third biggest stack, trailing only Pantling and Salomon. On the second hand of the night however, Tsang took the chip lead for himself after taking a big pot from Pantling. Voulgaris and Steven were both eliminated outside of an in-the-money finish before Tsang went back to work building his stack and eliminating his opponents. From the hijack, Tsang rasied to 1,300,000 and Pantling moved all in from the big blind. Tsang called and tabled [poker card="ad"][poker card="9c"] and found himself ahead of Pantling’s [poker card="ks"][poker card="3s"]. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="8h"][poker card="2c"] flop wasn’t a great one for Pantling but he did improve on the turn, picking up a straight draw when the [poker card="4c"] hit. The [poker card="8s"] river was no help and Pantling, one of two players to enter this event twice, was eliminated in sixth place. The €1,500,000 payout however, wasn’t enough to cover his buy-ins. Tsang picked up the next elimination just 20 hands later. Bord raised to 1,500,000 from UTG, Tsang put in a button-raise to 4,000,000 and Katz called off his final 2,125,000 from the small blind. Bord folded, leaving Tsang heads-up against Katz. Katz, who is a super high roller regular in Las Vegas, turned over [poker card="ac"][poker card="jd"] while Tsang showed [poker card="ks"][poker card="js"]. The [poker card="kh"][poker card="qd"][poker card="2h"] flop gave Tsang the lead and neither the [poker card="3c"] turn or [poker card="4c"] river were any relief and he was out in fifth place. Just 25 hands later Anatoly Gurtovoy raised to 2,000,000 from UTG, Tsang called from the button as did Bord, from the big blind. The flop came [poker card="ah"][poker card="jh"][poker card="5d"] and Gurtovoy fired 3,000,000 into the middle, Tsang folded and Bord moved all in for 12,000,000. Gurtovoy called and tabled [poker card="ac"][poker card="kd"] for top pair, top kicker while Bond flipped over [poker card="as"][poker card="ts"] for top pair, worse kicker. The turn was the [poker card="9h"] and the river was the [poker card="js"] to send Bord, 2010 WSOP Europe Main Event champion, was sent home in fourth place. Rick Salomon, who finished fourth at the 2014 Big One for One Drop in Las Vegas, was the next to go. Tsang opened to 2,600,000 from the button, Salomon moved all in fro 15,600,000 and Gurtovoy called, forcing Tsang to fold. Salomon got the bad news when he turned up [poker card="qs"][poker card="jc"] only to find out Gurtovoy had [poker card="ah"][poker card="qc"]. The [poker card="jh"][poker card="8c"][poker card="4s"] flop put Salomon ahead, but the [poker card="ad"] turn changed all of that and when the river was the [poker card="8s"] the former husband of Pamela Anderson was out in third place. When heads-up play began, Tsang had a 2-1 chip lead over Gurtovoy. It took 45 hands of one-on-one play for Tsang to finish the job. Gurtovoy opened to 3,200,000 and Tsang called. The flop was [poker card="qc"][poker card="4c"][poker card="3c"] and both players checked. The [poker card="2h"] turn got a check from Tsang before Gurtovoy bet 3,000,000. Tsang raised to 9,000,000 and Gurtovoy moved all in. Tsang called and flipped over [poker card="6c"][poker card="5h"] for a six-high straight while Gurtovoy showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="5d"] for a lower straight. The [poker card="jc"] river changed nothing, giving Tsang the final pot of the night and the third Big One for One Drop title. The Monte Carlo event drew 26 players with just two players, tournament founder Guy Laliberte and the previously mentioned Pantling, taking advantage of the unlimited re-entry. Payouts Elton Tsang - €11,111,111 Anatoly Gurtovoy - €5,427,781 Rick Salomon - €3,000,000 James Bord - €2,100,000 Cary Katz - €1,750,000 Andrew Pantling - €1,500,000
  12. [caption width="640"] Dan Colman has a shot at another million dollar score in the PokerStars Championship Bahamas Super High Roller[/caption] Just over two and a half years ago, Dan Colman stood on center stage at the World Series of Poker and posed in front of nearly $15 million in cash. Having won the second edition of the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop, Colman went from anonymous to poker famous with the literal turn of a card. And then just as quickly he became one of poker’s biggest villains after turning down most post-tournament interviews, a normal part of the post-tournament routine for any bracelet winner. In the aftermath, a Las Vegas newspaper reporter even labeled Colman as a “petulant child”. Colman, deep in Day 2 of the PokerStars Championship Bahamas $100,000 Super High Roller, regrets nothing about that day but thinks that if he won the tournament today, he might be willing to talk a little bit more, just not about what you might expect. “My reaction wouldn’t be different. I wouldn’t celebrate, I wouldn’t want to talk about how great the feeling was because for some reason, I don’t feel that way,” said Colman. “So I’d do the same thing. I’d probably give interviews and talk about these feelings I have.” Those feelings are part of the story that might have been most misunderstood at the time. Sure, $15 million is a massive amount of money, but the now 26-year-old enjoys playing poker because of the challenge it presents, not the money he can win or lose. “I didn’t want to be somebody holding fists full of money, saying ‘Oh my god, this is the best day of my life’ because I enjoyed playing the poker there, but winning has always been a very low feeling for me for some reason,” said Colman. “I had played so much poker that day. It was the most fun I ever had playing poker, I loved the action of it all an then after it ends I had such an adrenaline dump, I just didn’t want to deal with anything. I wanted to get out of there.” Colman also believes that the reaction to his decision to turn down interviews was blown out of proportion, partially because of who he beat heads up to win the bracelet and the money. “I think it was overblown. I think the poker media wanted to make a story out of something that probably wasn’t that big of a deal. I think they were probably also hoping (Daniel) Negreanu had won,” Colman said. This past summer Colman found himself in the media spotlight again thanks to a deep run in the WSOP Main Event, making it to Day 6 of the event before busting in 31st place. The chance that he could make the final table of poker’s most high profile event had ESPN producers and some media nervous, but Colman was talkative and friendly at the times, showing a side that left some observers surprised. Colman can’t help but look back at that run as something special that he might not be able to reproduce any time soon. While the spotlight was nice, for Colman it was all about the chance to play poker at a high level. “Going deep in the Main Event, each day racking up chips, every hand is just so important coming down the stretch, it was a great experience, but too bad I blew it by playing like an idiot,” said Colman. “Everybody talks about going deep in the Main Event and how great it is, it’s like no other tournament, but you don’t really understand that until you go deep in and it does feel special, 100%.”
  13. 2017 was a modestly successful year for Daniel Negreanu and he has his sights set even higher for 2018. On his Full Contact Poker blog, Negreanu posted a list of goals for the new year. In 2017, Negreanu achieved five out of the eight listed and is looking to make good on 10 this year. One notable change comes in his annual World Series of Poker bracelet pursuit. Last year, Negreanu set a high bar with three bracelets. Though he made four final tables, Negreanu came up short of entering the winner’s circle once. With the WSOP four months away, Negreanu’s goal for this year is to win one bracelet which would give him seven for his career. Negreanu’s objectives in the past 12 months primarily centered around the WSOP. This time around, he is shifting his focus toward the High Roller scene. The first item listed for Negreanu in that category is to make the final table of Super High Roller Bowl or the Big One for One Drop. In 2014, Negreanu finished second in the Big One but in the three years of Super High Roller Bowl, has to make the money. This goal ties in with Negreanu’s intention to win a Super High Roller. Negreanu came close to achieving this in December but fell short to Dan Smith in the Bellagio Five Diamond $100,000 event. Should Negreanu achieve any of these tasks, it is likely he will finish 2018 with over $40 million in lifetime tournament earnings. Negreanu notes he would need exactly $4,680,186 to hit that target, his best year since 2004. That number may sound like a lot but with the 65-75 events Negreanu estimates he will play this year, anything is possible if he goes on a run. In fact, Negreanu states that it is “Easier today to post $4 million in cashes than ever before” due to the number of High Roller events that exist across the world. “It’s not easier because the game is easier, quite the contrary, but you are just going to see more and more high roller grinders shoot up the all-time leaderboard. Even players who are breaking even over the last few years will still show anywhere from $6-$8 million in earnings,” Negreanu said. Negreanu fancies himself one of the best all-around players in the world. If indeed he still is, winning the Poker Masters or U.S. Poker Open are not out of the question. Negreanu has the two events listed as one goal as they are two series instead of single events. The first Poker Masters finished in disappointment for Negreanu and forced him to reevaluate his No Limit Hold’em game. The U.S. Poker Open offers mixed events, giving a player of Negreanu’s skill set the opportunity to capitalize. Likely the easiest goal for Negreanu to accomplish from his list is to improve to 115 WSOP cashes or pull closer to Phil Hellmuth’s all-time record. Hellmuth holds 131 cashes and Negreanu would need 12 payout slips to get to 115. Negreanu cashed 11 times in 2017 and has more events to play this year with 78 total to choose from. Hellmuth’s volume has decreased in recent years, giving Negreanu quality odds to pull closer and potentially pass Hellmuth in future years. Should everything go to plan, Negreanu’s mission of profiting at least $2 million is within range. Negreanu expects to spend at least $3 million in total buy-ins during the year. A giant score can make a huge difference in that number being surpassed. The first chance to start moving in on checking each one of these goals off is this week when the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure starts in the Bahamas.
  14. The Big One for One Drop is the single biggest buy-in poker tournament in the world and it attracts a combination of elite level players and wealthy businessmen looking to test their mettle against those players. This summer, 27 players put down the $1 million buy-in in hopes of winning the World Series of Poker bracelet and the $10 million first place prize. One of those 27 players was 888poker pro, Dominik Nitsche. The 27-year-old German poker pro allowed a film crew to follow him in the days leading up to the tournament and through his run One Drop run to give poker fans a glimpse into the world of high stakes tournaments. The four-part video series includes footage from areas of the WSOP which are generally off-limits to fans and media alike. In the opening video, Nitsche is having difficulty fitting all of his cash and casino chips into his safety deposit box at the Rio as he continues to collect payments from his investors. The second video actually shows Nitsche piling the $1 million buy-in up so some of his fellow poker-playing friends can take selfies with it before he officially hands the money over to the WSOP cashier. The third video brings poker fans right into the action as Nitsche takes his seat for Day 1 and finds his table draw tougher than anticipated. Rather than being surrounded by the wealthy businessmen that some were expecting to play, Nitsche was seated with fellow high roller killers Adrian Mateos, Jake Schindler, David Peters and Jason Koon. The fourth and final video showcases some limited Day 2 action and Nitsche’s elimination at the hands of eventual One Drop champion Justin Bonomo. Nitsche also shares some candid thoughts with producers following his elimination where he discusses what it’s like to buy-in to the year’s biggest tournament and not cash. All was not lost for Nitsche this summer though. Along with six WSOP cashes, Nitsche was also very successful playing the high roller events at the Aria Resort & Casino. He won two of them and finished runner-up to Mateos in another, earning a total of $617,720.

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