It is one of the largest poker tournaments in the history of the game. The $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop not only revolutionized the “High Roller” poker world but also upped the game for charitable works. Now the same game is coming back, albeit in a different venue, but it still should draw the same massive attention.

From the WSOP to the WPT

Previously, the Big One was a part of the World Series of Poker. Up to 2018, at least, this was true – the tournament has not been contested since that tournament five years ago. Now, the Big One is moving on to join the World Poker Tour in one of its marquee stops on its yearly circuit.

When the WPT returns to Las Vegas at the end of the year for their WPT World Championship at the Wynn, the Big One will be a part of that tournament festival schedule. From December 18-20, the crème of the poker world – and those with some really deep pockets – will battle it out for the chance to etch their names in the record books. The reason? The buy-in – once again, the buy-in for the Big One for One Drop will be set at $1 million.

“The Big One for One Drop is such an iconic tournament in the world of poker,” World Poker Tour Chief Executive Officer Adam Pliska stated during the announcement of the partnership. “We are honored to put on this incredible event in conjunction with the One Drop Foundation and Wynn Las Vegas. The $1 million buy-in is a testament to the heights that this industry can reach and the continuous evolution of the World Poker Tour.”

Storied History, Massive Cash

There is a storied history behind the Big One for One Drop. The brainchild of Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte, the One Drop Foundation was created to focus on water initiatives around the world. Laliberte was able to put together his philanthropic efforts with his other passion – high-stakes poker – and created the Big One for One Drop in 2012. The first event, a $1 million buy-in tournament, saw 48 players step to the line, with Antonio Esfandiari winning the inaugural tournament over Sam Trickett.

Over the coming years, the event would be held with different buy-ins. The million dollar buy-in (or, in the case of when it was held during the WSOP Europe in 2016, million Euro) was in place for 2014 and 2016 (Europe), but in the other years between 2013 and 2018, the tournament was a $100,000 event. The winners of the tournament read like a Who’s Who of poker, including Esfandiari (who won the largest prize in tournament poker at that time, more than $15 million), Anthony Gregg, Dan Coleman, former World Champion Jonathan Duhamel, Fedor Holz, Elton Tsang (a businessman in the only year when professional poker players were barred from entry), Doug Polk, and defending champion Justin Bonomo.

The real winner, however, has been the One Drop Foundation. In that first tournament, $111,111 was withheld from each buy-in as a donation to the charitable cause. Since then, the amount of charitable donations from each buy-in has fluctuated from $11,111 up to $80,000. In the case of the 2023 tournament, $60,000 will be held as a charitable donation. This has allowed the Big One for One Drop to raise nearly $16 million for its cause.

The tournament in December should be one of the highlights of the tournament poker season, and it comes at the same time that the WPT will crown its World Champion. Thus, you can be assured that the eyes of the poker world will focus once again on Las Vegas come this winter.

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