Phil Ivey is the first player to be confirmed for the $1m buy-in Big One for One Drop. [Image: Flickr.com / World Poker Tour]
Fitting first entry
The World Poker Tour (WPT) has announced that Phil Ivey is confirmed as the first entrant in this winter’s $1m buy-in Big One for One Drop. The tournament is slated for December 18-20 during the WPT World Championship festival at Wynn Las Vegas.
“The Big One is what high stakes is all about. Everyone’s game will elevate when they play in the biggest buy-in event in WPT history,” said Ivey, a Poker Hall of Famer and WPT Ambassador.
Arguably the greatest poker player of all time and still only in his mid-40s, Ivey has nearly $40.8m in live poker tournament cashes, $4.4m of which are from WPT events. He has two World Poker Tour titles and ten World Series of Poker bracelets to his name. And, of course, he is renowned for his prowess and countless earnings in the highest stakes cash games around the world.
Ivey played in the last Big One for One Drop in 2018, getting eliminated on the second day.
Big buy-in, big donations
The Big One for One Drop was started by Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté to benefit the One Drop Foundation, also founded by Laliberté, which aims to bring access to safe water and sanitation to regions in need. Antonio Esfandiari won the first million-dollar-buy-in tournament at the 2012 WSOP and the $18.3m first prize.
The World Series of Poker hosted subsequent Big One for One Drop tournaments in 2014, 2016, and 2018. Other One Drop events were added over the years, including the $111,111 buy-in High Roller for One Drop and the $1,111 Little One for One Drop.
fourth One Drop event in partnership with the WPT this year
The Big One will be the fourth One Drop event in partnership with the WPT this year. There were three in July: the $10,500 WPT EveryOne for One Drop and the $111,000 WPT Alpha8 for One Drop, both at Wynn Las Vegas, and a ₩170m ($128,000) WPT Alpha8 for One Drop in Jeju, South Korea.
In the first Big One for One Drop in five years, 6% of each buy-in will go directly to the One Drop Foundation.
And a big guarantee
The WPT World Championship, of which the Big One for One Drop is a part, runs November 29 through December 23. Though the Big One is an attention grabber, the highlight of the festival is WPT World Championship event itself. With a $10,400 buy-in, the tournament comes with an incredible $40m guaranteed prize pool, the largest-ever guarantee for a live poker tournament.
The event is scheduled for December 12-21 and features four starting flights and a televised final table. This is the second year for the revamped WPT World Championship; it had been a mainstay on the tour until 2016, when it was replaced by the WPT Tournament of Champions.
the World Poker Tour brought back the WPT World Championship last year, and did so with gusto
As players clamored for live poker after the pandemic shutdowns, the World Poker Tour brought back the WPT World Championship last year, and did so with gusto. The $15m guarantee was at the time the largest guarantee in live tournament history. There was no problem hitting that mark, as the event drew 2,960 entries to generate a more than $29m prize pool. Eliot Hudon emerged as the victor, claiming the $4,136,000 top prize.