The Big One for One Drop Adds 10 New Players, Begins on June 29 at Rio Casino

The $1 million buy-in “Big One for One Drop” will begin on June 29 at the Rio ALl-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The One Drop Foundation is a Canadian non-governmental organization which fights poverty by supporting water access globally. Each year since 2011, the One Drop Foundation has sponsored a Texas hold’em tournament at the World Series of Poker.

The One Drop Foundation was founded by Guy Laliberte, who is himself a poker aficionado. Guy Laliberte is better known as the founder of Cirque du Soleil, a Las Vegas institution in its own right. Cirque du Soleil, which is French for “Sun Circus”, is the largest theatrical producer in the world.

One Drop Foundation’s Mission Statement

The One Drop Foundation has three goals. One, it wants to make water accessible to the deprived. Two, it wants to raise awareness of water-related issues and responsible water-management practices. Three, One Drop wants to make water central to public debates and international agendas. Guy Laliberte says he wants a “planetary approach” to the problem of water deprivation.

To help that cause, professional poker players enter the tournament with a $1 million entry fee. Guy Laliberte puts up the stake in the tournament. The WSOP organizers waive their 10% fee on most World Series of Poker events. Thus, awareness is raised, while millions of dollars are also raised for the philanthropic organization.

Pro poker players want to enter the tournament, because it provides winnings for the eventual champion that are comparable to the World Series of Poker Main Event. Because only a few dozen players enter, instead of the thousands who enter the WSOP Main Event, these gamblers have a chance to increase their career winnings by significant amounts.

Antonio Esfandiari – Top Money Winner

When Antonio Esfandiari won the inaugural Big One for One Drop event, he became the biggest money winner in the history of professional poker. Esfandiari, known by poker fans as “The Magician”, won $18,346,673 and boosted his poker celebrity to new heights. The event thus allows pro card players to increase their stature and bank account, while also helping a good cause.

The one million dollar entry fee is a steep price, of course, so it assures the field will be small. In some cases, a player’s entry fee is paid by their corporate sponsors, who view the tax-deductible fee as their contribution to the cause.

Three-Day ESPN Coverage

ESPN is set to provide multi-day coverage of the event, with three consecutive weekly boardcasts involving prime time coverage. The player list has 10 new players this year, including the first female contestant, Vanessa Selbst. One surprise entrant is Jean-Robert Bellande, a former Survivor contestant who plays online under the name “BrokeLivingJRB”.

Big One for One Drop – 2014 List of Entrants

Other first time contestants including Anthony Greg, the Maryland pro who won the 2013 One Drop High Rollers event; Fabian Quoss, a German player with 2 career WSOP money finishes; and Max Altergott, who has never cashed in North America, but won a $2.2+ million tournament in Monte Carlo last year.

Tobias Reinkemeir, All-Time Russian money winner Igor Kurganov, WSOP-newcomer Christopher Vogelsang from Germany, and Niklas Heinecker, the winningest player in 2013 online poker. Building anticipation, a player known only as “Anonymous Asian Businessman” has entered the event. The Asian high roller wanted his name kept confidential until the event, so the man appears to be a first-class eccentric.

Famous players such as Antoinio Esfandiari, David Einhorn, Phil Ivey, Jason Mercier, and Erick Seidel also will be competing. Guy Laliberte also has entered the Big One for One Drop tournament, as well. The full list of players can be found at the WSOP online website.

About Cirque du Soleil

The company’s Las Vegas shows are world famous, including favorites like Love, Delirium, Viva Elvis, O at the Bellagio, Zarkana, Mystere, Michael Jackson: One, and Joya. Some of these famous shows have run in Las Vegas for years. Others have been retired to make way for new shows from the imagination of Guy Laliberte, who is French-Canadian.

Cirque du Soleil has shows in the Venetian Macau (Zaia) and the Tokyo Disney Resort (Zed). Also, touring shows can be found all over the world at any given time, such as Quidam, Corteo, Dralion, Saltimbanco, Varekai, Kooza, and Ovo.

About Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for 14 years. He worked for Small World Marketing for a decade, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. Since 2014, he has blogged about US and international gambling news on,, and

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