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Tsang Soars to One Drop Extravaganza Title, €11,111,111 Payday

19 October 2016, By: compncards
When the €1m buy-in, invite-only One Drop Extravaganza in Monte Carlo was announced at the end of the 2016 WSOP, many speculated whether it would be a success.
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Now that the event has concluded, we know two things.

First, we know the four newest poker multi-millionaires. Second, we found out what happens when you exclude top poker pros from high-stakes poker tournaments.

Elton Tsang Wins Big One for ONE DROP and $12.24 Million

The highlight of the One Drop Extravaganza in Monte Carlos was the Big One for ONE DROP €1 million buy-in mega-event. This year's Big One was dramatically different from the previous two with only amateur players allowed to take part in the event.

At least that was how the event was promoted. When it was time to play some poker, it was clear the interpretation of "amateur" was taken somewhat loosely as several players with legitimate pro credentials took part in the event.

While prior press releases claimed that 35 players had committed to play in the event by the time registration closed on Saturday only 26 players had entered. Eventually there were 28 total entries as Guy Laliberté, the founder of the One Drop Foundation and organizer of the event, and Andrew Pantling both re-entered.

This created a prize pool of 24.88 million with six players receiving a payday. The ultimate winner received €11,111,111 or around $12.24 million USD.

Over 3m was raised for the One Drop Foundation, which provides clean water access to communities in need.

Pantling, Bord, Salomon Make Final Table

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Some James Bond flair (Photo: Neil Stoddart)

Several well-known "amateur" players made the final table of this event. Gaming entrepreneur and former Matchbook CEO Pantling finished in 6th place. Despite receiving €1.5 million for his finish, he actually finished down €500k for the event due to his re-entry.

Poker Central's Cary Katz finished 5th in the event, earning €1.75 million. He has "amateur" career earnings of $9.35 million. James Bord, the 2010 WSOP Europe Main Event winner, finished 4th in the event for €2.1 million.

Producer and actor Rick Salomon finished 3rd in the event for €3 million. And ultimately it was Russia's Anatoly Gurtovoy versus Hong Kong's Elton Tsang for the title.

Tsang took a 2:1 chip lead into heads-up play and Gurtovoy was never able to get much going. In the final hand, he shoved with Ah-5d on a board of Qc-3c-4c-2h and Tsang made the easy call with 6c-5h for the higher straight.

His hand held to give him the win and Tsang became the third Big One for ONE Drop champion, earning $12.24 million US. He now has career earnings of $12.75 million, good for 21st on Poker's All-Time Money List.

One Drop Attendance Underwhelms Overall

While Laliberté may envisioned a prestigious event that would attract high-rolling businessmen and amateurs to raise money for charity, the reality was a stark contrast.

Outside of the Big One for One Drop, the remainder of the events drew so poorly that the much promoted €1 Million Cash Game never ran. The four side tournaments drew a combined 26 entries total. Only 8 players showed up for the €10k NL and 4 showed up for the €10k Mixed Event.

The €50k Heads-Up NL drew just two players and had Pantling not registered directly after busting the Big One final table, the event may not have run at all. The final event, the €100k NL Event, was actually delayed on the final day and the ban on pro players lifted. This still resulted in a field of just 12 entries.

The One Drop Extravaganza was a prime example of what happens when you shut out pros from a high-roller series. It's clear that this event needs some changes to be relevant again in 2018 and a return to the WSOP schedule should be among the first of those changes.

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