Esfandiari outlasted a field of 48 players to take down a record-setting $18.3 million first-place prize in the $1 million buy-in tournament.
In the final hand Esfandiari flopped trip fives against Sam Trickett who was on a flush draw.
All the chips went in the middle and after Trickett bricked the turn and river an exuberant Esfandiari was hoisted onto the shoulders of his friends and family.
“It’s not often I’m at a loss for words but this is one of those moments,” said a speechless Esfandiari seconds after winning.
With the high-profile victory Esfandiari soars into first place on the all-time tournament winner list with $23.2 million. Erik Seidel is now a distant second with $16.9 million.
“I swear to you, believe it or not, I never once thought about the money,” said Esfandiari. “I just wanted to win.”
The richest final table in history took place at mach speed going from eight players to a winner in less than seven hours.
Malaysian businessman Richard Yong was the first player to bust as he got his short stack in with ace-deuce against Brian Rast’s king-jack.
Bobby Baldwin was right behind Yong as he lost ace-ten to Guy Laliberte’s pocket jacks.
Rast received the cooler of the day when he flopped a nut-flush and ended up losing his entire stack to Trickett’s rivered quads.
Laliberte Takes 5th, Hellmuth Finishes 4th
Laliberte, the creator of the BIG ONE for ONE DROP, put on impressive performance before finally finishing in fifth place for $1.8 million.
“This tournament wouldn’t have been possible without Guy,” gushed Esfandiari after winning.
Laliberte earned far more than just fifth place money, however, as the event raised $5.3 million for his foundation ONE DROP.
One of poker’s most recognized players, Phil Hellmuth, ended up crashing out in fourth for $2.6 million.
“I have a hard time just being happy with my results sometimes,” said Hellmuth after busting.
Businessman/philanthropist David Einhorn finished in third place for $4.3 million. Incredibly Einhorn is donating all of his winnings to education focused non-profit City Year.
“Everyone wins,” said Einhorn as he was leaving the Rio.
Trickett Overwhelmed by Esfandiari Heads-Up
This paved the way for an epic heads-up battle between Esfandiari and English powerhouse Sam Trickett.
Unfortunately for Trickett, Esfandiari had 107 million chips to his 37 million and the chip deficit proved to be insurmountable.
Trickett took home $10.1 million for second and passed Daniel Negreanu for third place on the all-time list with $16.4 million. It was the single biggest score for an English player.
Esfandiari’s new all-time winning record will have an asterisk attached to it as the majority of his cash comes from the BIG ONE. Before today he was 73rd on the all-time winners list with $4.8 million.
Here are the complete payouts for the $1 million buy-in BIG ONE for ONE DROP final table:
1. Antonio Esfandiari - $18,346,673
2. Sam Trickett - $10,112,001
3. David Einhorn - $4,352,000
4. Phil Hellmuth - $2,645,333
5. Guy Laliberté - $1,834,666
6. Brian Rast - $1,621,333
7. Bobby Balwin - $1,408,000
8. Richard Yong - $1,237,333