The World Series of Poker (WSOP) announced the 'Big One' tournament on July 2, 2011, and many speculated that the cap of 48 players would not be reached because of Black Friday and the Full Tilt scandal. Even though the players on Full Tilt have still not received their money, an astounding 44 players have already registered for the event which costs a staggering $1 million to buy-in. There is no rake in the tournament and instead 11.1% ($111,111) of the buy-in will be donated the the One Drop Foundation which Cirque du Soleil founder, Guy Laliberté, founded in 2007. One must commend Guy for coming up with such an idea as over $5.3 million will be donated to the charity if the player cap is reached.
The tournament will feature some of the best pros in the game along with some of the richest businessman in the world who are recreational poker players. If the player cap is reached, the winner will win over $18.3 million which will place them at the top of the all-time money list in tournament winnings along with a WSOP Platinum bracelet. The tournament begins on July 1 and it is a three-day event with each player starting with 500BBs in chips and the blind levels increasing every hour. We will give a brief description on the players already registered for the event over a four-part preview:
Andy Beal: He is famous for his heads-up battles against "The Corporation" between 2001 and 2004 when he played a syndicate of professionals which included Phil Ivey and Chip Reese. He thought the pros would play poorly due to the high stakes involved and won $11.7 million from them in a single but it didn't work out for him in the end as he lost over $16 million in his final two days of play in 2004, and as a result he vowed to never play poker again. He returned in 2006 when he was initially down $3.3 million before winning $13.6 million, only to lose $16.6 million to Ivey in three days, and hasn't been seen at the poker tables since then. One thing for sure is that the money at stake will certainly not affect him and a buy-in of $10+ million would probably interest him.
Arnaud Mimran: A French businessman who has one tournament cash to his name back in 2006 when he came 13th in the EPT Grand Final for $36k. One could assume that he plays in the private high stakes cash game that runs in Paris which Guy has often played in.
Ben Lamb: The US pro has been around in the poker world for a few years but he really stood out in what was an outstanding 2011 for the 27 year-old player from Oklahoma. He was the WSOP Player of the Year and he also won the CardPlayer Player of the Year award. He won his first WSOP bracelet which came in the $10k PLO Championship Event for over $810k along with four other cashes. He came 2nd in a $3k PLO event for just under $260k, 12th in the $10k NLHE 6-max Championship Event for $56k, 8th in the $50k Poker Players' Championship for over $200k, and 3rd in the Main Event in which he won more than $4 million.
Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier: He is without doubt one of the best tournament players in the game and has a phenomenal record. He has $9.9 million in live tournament winnings which puts him at the top of the French all-time money list. He has also won two WCOOPs online in 2009. He had an amazing 2008 winning the PCA Main Event for $2 million and a WPT title for over $1.4 million. He has also done well in 2012 so far, winning a $10k re-buy EPT side event for €231k, and he came 3rd in the EPT Grand Final Super High Roller Reload event for €621k. In a recent interview when discussing the Big One, Elky said "this bubble [at EPT Monte Carlo] was €300k and that’s the biggest I’ve ever played, so a $2 million bubble is going to be sick."
Bobby Baldwin: "The Owl" was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2003 and he won four bracelets between 1977 and 1979 including a Main Event championship. He is currently a casino executive serving as CEO of Mirage Resorts and although he has hardly played any tournaments during the past several years, he has continued to play the highest stakes cash games in Las Vegas, where 'Bobby's Room' is named after him. He famously won a $1.8 million pot against Brian Townsend when they were playing $1k/$2k NLHE/PLO in the Summer of 2007. He has regularly played for pots exceeding the buy-in of this event so the money will not affect his play. It will be interesting to see how one of the best players 'back in the day' can cope against the 'new guns' of the game.
Bob Bright: He may be unknown by many but he has been playing the biggest cash games in Vegas for several years. He moved to Vegas in 1974 as a professional blackjack player and was CEO of one of the biggest day-trading firms in the USA. He now teaches people from various backgrounds including poker players to become professional stock traders.
Carlos Nahas: He secured his seat in this prestigious event after winning the Loto Quebec/Casino Montreal satellite seat that was previously announced. It was actually Carlos’ friend, Keith Hamilton, who had originally won the right to participate in the final satellite step, which was a poker tournament at Casino Montreal. However, Hamilton had initially won his step seat via a slot tournament, and as he was unfamiliar with the game of poker, he had his friend Nahas play the poker tournament for him. Nahas managed to win the poker tournament that included several notable professional poker players and thus he will take his seat in the Big One. Nahas seems to be an unknown poker player as he does not have a CardPlayer or Hendon Mob record.
Cary Katz: He is the founder and CEO of College Loan Corporation (the 7th largest student loan company in the USA) who resides in Las Vegas. He has played a significant number of tournaments for a recreational player and has live tournament winnings of over $650k. One could assume that he plays in some of the big cash games in Vegas as well. He has also played in high buy-in tournaments before including the WPT $100k re-buy Super High Roller Event this year in which he re-entered, although was unable to make the money.
Daniel Negreanu: Kidpoker is one of the most notable names in the world of poker, he has been able to crush the games for many years, and his tournament record is extremely impressive. He is number two on the all-time money list with over $16.1 million in tournament winnings. He has had a great 2012 in the high roller buy-in events: he came 5th in the PCA Super High Roller Event for $250k, 6th in the €98.5k EPT Grand Final Super High Roller Reload Event for €310k, and 2nd in the €25k EPT Grand Final High Roller Event for just under €600k. He will hope to carry this good form into the highest buy-in event of all-time.
Dan Shak: A futures trader who plays says he plays poker as a hobby has a great tournament record for a 'recreational player'. He plays most of the high roller events across the world and won the A$100k Aussie Millions Challenge for A$1.2 million defeating Phil Ivey heads-up, and he came 2nd in the PCA $100 Super High Roller Event this year for over $840k. It will be interesting to see how he copes in this event as it should be one in which he ought to feel comfortable in as its a small field size and a very high buy-in event, both of which he is used to (well maybe not a buy-in this high).
Check out the other parts of the $1M Big One for One Drop preview series - Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.
Find more of the latest news and articles relating to this year's World Series of Poker in the 2012 WSOP-section.