“The Magician” Conjures Up Poker’s Biggest Wins
Antonio Esfandiari catapulted himself to the top of the all-time money list as well as picking up his first World Series of Poker bracelet for eight years when he captured the $1 million Big One for One Drop tournament last night. His prize of more than $18 million was the biggest in the history of the game.
Esfandiari came to the final table holding a narrow chip lead over Sam Trickett, but the early action inevitably focussed on the short-stacked players. Malaysian businessman Richard Yong was the first to hit the rail, when his A2 was outdrawn by Brian Rast’s KJ. He was followed by 1978 Main Event winner Bobby Ball, who pushed his AT into the pocket jacks of event-founder Guy Laliberte.
Rast departed in sixth at the hands of Sam Trickett. The 2011 Poker Players’ Champion flopped the nut flush with AJs on a board of 843. Trickett bet into him on flop and on the ten turn. The river brought a further three, causing Trickett to ponder for some time. He eventually moved all-in, bringing an instant call from Rast, but the river had brought Trickett quad threes, and Rast had to depart.
Guy Laliberte was the next man out, losing a flip against Esfandiari, whose AK hit on the turn to outdraw the pocket queens. He was followed to the rail by Phil Hellmuth, who had survived a long time with poor cards. Hellmuth moved in with AT and was called by Trickett’s AQ. It was always going to be a dramatic hand when the flop brought Hellmuth two and Trickett the flush draw and a pair. When a king on the turn raised Trickett’s outs to seventeen, it was guaranteed to be a tense moment on the river, and a jack completed his straight to send Hellmuth away in fourth.
Businessman David Einhorn was by far the shortest stack three-handed but he made some spirited plays to keep his stack going. But a shove with K9 found Esfandiari holding KT, and a ten on the turn sealed the businessman’s fate. That gave Esfandiari better than a 2:1 chip advantage going into the heads-up, and Trickett just could not do anything about it. The decisive hand saw Trickett shove with a flush draw on a board of J55, but he was always going to be called by Esfandiari’s trip fives. When Trickett’s draw missed, his tournament was over, although he was over $10 million better off, and Esfandiari walked away with the big prize.
The payouts in the event were as follows
- Antonio Esfandiari – $18,346,673
- Sam Trickett – $10,112,001
- David Einhorn – $4,352,000
- Phil Hellmuth – $2,645,333
- Guy Laliberté – $1,834,666
- Brian Rast – $1,621,333
- Bobby Baldwin – $1,408,000
- Richard Yong – $1,237,333
- Mike Sexton – $1,109,333
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