WSOP Announces $1 Million Buy-in Tournament

Guy Laliberte
Guy Laliberte announcing the $1 million buy-in Big One tournament.

Stakes are getting even higher at the WSOP with a new $1 million buy-in tournament set to debut in 2012.

The tournament, which was announced late Thursday, will be called the Big One and have a charity component that benefits ONE DROP, an organization that fights poverty around the world by supporting access to water.

Guy Laliberte, the Chair of ONE DROP and founder of Cirque Du Soleil, is one of the 15 participants that have agreed to play the event.

“We are proud to align the planet’s premiere poker event with the foundation created by one of our generations most creative entrepreneurs, Guy Laliberte, to help make the world a healthier place,” said Gary Loveman, Caesars Entertainment’s CEO.

The winner of the Big One could potentially win millions and if the event attracts more than 21 players the WSOP will award a specially-designed platinum bracelet.

The event is scheduled to take place over three days and the prizepool will be flattened so that 20% of the field gets paid instead of the usual 10%.

The WSOP has agreed to run the tournament without rake but 11.1% of each buy-in will go directly to the ONE DROP foundation.

That means ONE DROP could potentially receive millions from the tournament.

Negreanu, Antonius, Hansen, Beal Commit to Play

Poker pros Patrik Antonius, Gus Hansen, Daniel Negreanu, Johnny Chan, Tony G and City Center Group CEO Bobby Baldwin and Treasure Island Owner Phil Ruffin have all committed to playing the tournament.

“A million dollar buy-in seems crazy, and well, it is, but when you factor in a great cause like ONE DROP getting a percentage of the prize pool, all of a sudden it seems like a fantastic idea, and a great way to raise money for charity,” said Negreanu.

Businessman Andy Beal, who famously played a series of high stakes games against a group of Las Vegas poker pros for millions, has also agreed to play in the event.

The tournament is expected to take place at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on July 1, 2012 and will take a maximum of 48 players.

Tom Dwan
I hate caps.

There will be multiple satellites into the tournament around the world with Quebec Casinos, Caesars Entertainment and a European group all giving their players a chance to win entry into the prestigious contest.

Durrrr In Too

High-stakes pros are understandably excited about playing a collection of the richest players in the world.

“I’m buying in,” said Tom Dwan. “$1 million has a nice ring to it. It’s so sick, and for such a good cause, now I just gotta win.”

Dwan did have one suggestion when asked how he felt about competing in one of the richest poker tournaments ever held.

“Get rid of the cap,” he said with a smile.

There are already plans in place for ESPN to broadcast the historic event as part of its coverage of the 2011 WSOP.

The 2011 WSOP continues through July 19. For comprehensive coverage live from Las Vegas check PokerListings' Live Updates and News.

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