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In the latest Best Poker Moments Antonio Esfandiari looks back on his biggest win ever, the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop. Not only did Esfandiari win the first-ever seven-figure poker event, he also became the winningest player in live poker tournament history when he did it. Now Esfandiari reflects on the events leading up to the win, beating Sam Trickett heads-up and what it felt like to share his crowning achievement with his close friends and family. Esfandiari was already a bona fide poker legend with two WPT titles and a WSOP bracelet to his credit, but none of it prepared him for what it would be like winning $18.3 million after just two days of poker. To do it he had to beat 47 other players that included the best poker players on the planet and some of the brightest minds from the business world. Check out the video to hear what it was like from Esfandiari himself and watch more Best Poker Moments from PokerListings to study up on the most important events in poker history.
Antonio Esfandiari: When the November Nine was happening, Guy Laliberte came into the booth and said it was official. I remember thinking to myself that this was the craziest thing I've ever heard of.
I just didn't even fathom that idea, that I was going to play in a $1 million buy-in tournament. So I just started to myself that I have to make it happen. And it literally took like three hours for it to happen once it was done, so I bought my ticket and I couldn't believe it and I was so excited to play.
Announcer: The Big One for One Drop, $1 million buy-in per player. $18.3 million for first place. The richest prize in poker, ever.
Antonio Esfandiari: You always dream of winning it but you never really grasp it until it happens. And when it happens, it's just so surreal. It's like a dream that never goes away. I remember that moment and I think back to that moment all the time and I wish I could relive it because nothing will ever come close to that. I wasn't thinking about anything except winning.
Sam Trickett: All-in. Antonio Esfandiari: All-in. Announcer: You hear all-in, and a call.
Antonio Esfandiari: It's weird. You know when it's all-in and someone has a bunch of outs and you think, “Oh please don't get there”? I didn't even have that thought. It was just so clear. I just felt it that victory was mine.
Announcer: And the biggest river card in poker ... is a heart! Antonio Esfandiari, the Magician, pulls the biggest rabbit ever out of his hat.
Antonio Esfandiari: If you see the tape, I literally have an out of body experience and I just left everything. It was total euphoria. When you're playing for the biggest tournament that's ever taken place, and you have your friends and your family, I think it's just automatically going to get upgraded. So having my family there when I won, especially my dad, was very special for us.
I always kind of wanted to win him something, and that was the one to win.