The Magician will be looking to pull a few tricks in The Big One
Mike Sexton will be playing it for the Old Skool
Richard Yong likes to risk big bucks playing poker so The Big One will be right up his street
Roger Teska is certainly the least well known pro to enter The Big One
Here is the final part of our preview of the WSOP The Big One for One Drop event. You can find full details of the tournament and an introduction to the preview in the part one preview. There are still a few days left for more entrants to make themselves known (currently 44 out of the 48 seats available are spoken for) but for now, here's the remainder of the list!
Antonio Esfandiari: The "Magician" made his first big splash in the poker world winning both a WPT and WSOP title back in 2004 and his since won his second WPT title in December 2010. He has close to $5 million in live tournament winnings and is an accomplished live high stakes cash game player. Esfandiari's family moved to California from Iran when Antonio was aged 9 (and was also, at the time, called Amir Esfandiari). He changed his name at age 19 when he became a professional magician. It was during a magic demonstration that he was invited to join a game of Texas Hold'Em and he was forever after hooked on the game. He has made numerous appearances in televised poker cash games including High Stakes Poker, Poker After Dark, WSOP & WPT coverage as well as numerous poker documentaries. Esfandiari was unlucky not to pick up his 2nd WSOP bracelet just last week when he lost a huge chip lead at the final table in the $3k NLHE Shootout event after suffering a huge bad beat. He ended up in third place for over $150k. Esfandiari was a late entrant to One Drop after offering pieces of himself on twitter. Clearly he has the faith of some investors!
John Morgan: John Morgan is the CEO of the Winmark Corporation based in Minneapolis, US. Winmark is a successful corportaion which operates as a franchisor of four retails store concepts. At age 70 Morgan is certainly a wily veteran of the business world but he is also a keen amateur poker player with over $80,000 in live tournament cashes in the USA. Clearly this marks a significant "upping of the ante" in terms of cash at risk to Morgan in the arena of poker (but then again, who doesn't it mark an upping of the ante for with a million dollar buy in?) but this is a man who has quite obviously had to make quite a few multi-million dollar decisions in his life so he certainly won't be scared money!
Mike Sexton: 64 year old Sexton is a true ambassador of the Poker world, having been a professional player for the past 35 years. Sexton has over $4 million dollars in live tournament winnings including a WSOP bracelet and a $1 million cash for winning the 2006 WSOP Tournament of Champions title, but was primarily a cash game player in his heyday, having moved to Nevada to chase the action in 1985 (although he played poker professionally since 1977). Sexton is perhaps best known to the younger generation as the main host of the WPT and as a spokesperson for PartyPoker.com. Mike Sexton was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2009.
Phil Ruffin: 72 year old Phil Ruffin can certainly afford the seven figure buy in without breaking much of a sweat with an estimated net worth of $2.4 billion, he is the 100% shareholder and founder of the Ruffin Group of companies which includes the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino, 61 convenience stores leased to Total (Ruffin actually started out as the pioneer of self serve gasoline in 1972 and built the convenience stores he then leased to Total), Hotels (including the Trump International Tower with his good friend Donald Trump), manufacturing, real estate and a Greyhound Park! With his background in casinos and his undoubted business savvy Ruffin will be playing to win. He already has a televised poker appearance under his belt with an appearance on GSN's High Stakes Poker.
Richard Yong: 69 year old Yong is a Chinese businessman who is certainly no stranger to high stakes poker, being a regular player at the infamous Macau ultra high stakes games where Tom Dwan and Phil Ivey regularly ply their trade. He has also appeared in the televised Aussie Million's Million Dollar Cash Game in Melbourne alongside fellow One Drop entrant and Macau regular, businessman Paul Phua.
Roger Teska: Teska is a native of Indiana and a poker professional. He has over $500k in live tournament cashes, his biggest win being 4th place at the $25k WPT Annual Five Star World Poker Classic in Vegas last year. Not much more is known of Teska although we can assume that he must be involved in some pretty big cash games somewhere (or he has a lot of good friends who trust him with their money) if he is able to give up $1 million for a shot at glory.
As well as the above entrants (and those profiled in parts 1, 2 & 3 of this article) there are also a number of wealthy businessmen who, at this stage at least, are choosing to remain anonymous, including two US & one European Hedge Fund Managers and a US Venture Capitalist. In addition to this there is a seat currently assigned for Caesars Entertainment, to be decided at a $25.3k buy in satellite on June 30th - there have been feeder satellites running for as little as $65 for entry into the $25k satellite and for every 40 entries made into the "super satellite" another seat will be reserved at the Big One - there is also a seat reserved for the winner of an MGM Mirage satellite.
"The Phils" Hellmuth & Ivey?
Yet to formally register, Hellmuth has been inferring for some time that he is very likely to enter - and while Ivey has yet to show his hand it seems almost unthinkable that the games greatest competitor won't be tempted into an event with an eight figure first prize!
To read about the other players registered for this massive event, check out part 1, part 2 and part 3 of the Preview Series.