The World Series of Poker® (WSOP) announced today that it will host a $1 million buy-in poker tournament as part of the 43rd Annual World Series of Poker on July 1, 2012 to benefit ONE DROP, a non-governmental organization aiming to fight poverty worldwide by supporting access to water and raising each and every one’s awareness of water-related issues.
The BIG ONE for ONE DROPTM tournament is expected to generate one of the largest prize-pools in tournament poker outside the WSOP Main Event and award the winner millions of dollars and a specially-designed WSOP platinum bracelet.
The tournament has already secured its first 15 participants.
They are: Guy Laliberté, Chair of ONE DROP and Founder of Cirque du Soleil; Bobby Baldwin, four-time WSOP gold bracelet winner and CEO MGM-Mirage Resorts; Phil Ruffin, Owner, Treasure Island Resort, Las Vegas; poker professionals Patrik Antonius, Gus Hansen, Daniel Negreanu, Johnny Chan, Tom Dwan and Tony Guoga.
In addition, satellites will be set-up by Quebec’s Casinos and a European group and prominent businessmen will also join, including Andy Beal.
Furthermore, Caesars Entertainment’s Chairman Gary Loveman, on behalf of the company, has committed two additional entries. One will go to the winner of a Mega Satellite, while the other will come from a yet to be determined company-wide casino promotion.
“We agree with ONE DROP that water is one of the most important issues of this century and this tournament was created to take advantage of our infrastructure and resources to help ONE DROP fulfill its important mandate,” said Mitch Garber, CEO of Caesars Interactive Entertainment.
“With The BIG ONE for ONE DROP, we hope to attract public figures and recognized business community leaders, who will join our efforts and participate in a historic event while supporting ONE DROP’s activities.”
“Since giving back to the community is a key part of Quebec’s Casinos’ philosophy of social commitment, we couldn’t miss out on the opportunity of partnering with ONE DROP for this grand charity event. We often organize benefit tournaments, but this tournament definitely stands out. Our team is ‘all in’, without hesitation,” said Claude Poisson, President of Quebec’s Casinos.
“I’m very happy to participate in this event. As a partner and friend to Guy, I have always admired his commitment to ONE DROP,” said Phil Ruffin, Owner, Treasure Island Resort, Las Vegas.
“A million dollar buy-in seems crazy, and well, it is, but when you factor in a great cause like ONE DROP getting a percentage of the prize pool, all of a sudden it seems like a fantastic idea, and a great way to raise money for charity,” said Canadian poker pro Daniel Negreanu. “Count me in.”
“I’m very excited to play this tournament because I think ONE DROP is a great charity organization and this will be the biggest tournament with part of the prize pool used for a good purpose,” added professional poker player Patrik Antonius. “It will be a lot of fun!”
“ONE DROP is an extremely intelligent, important charity organization and I’m honored to play a part in giving back,” said businessman and poker pro Tony Guoga. “This is a perfect partnership for the WSOP and for poker in general.
“I am buying in,” exclaimed young poker professional Tom Dwan. “$1 million has a nice ring to it. It’s so sick, and for such a good cause, now I just gotta win.”
“Supporting Chris Ferguson’s charity I spent 4 weeks in Africa last year, and I came to realize what a precious resource water is—therefore it is a pleasure to enter the biggest poker tournament ever and at the same time support the ONE DROP organization,” said recent WSOP gold bracelet winner Gus Hansen.
The tournament will take place at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on July 1, 2012 and will be structured as a three-day tournament. The event will take a maximum of 48 players. Final funds are due 14 days prior to the event commencing. Anyone age 21 or older is eligible as long as they have the $1 million entry fee. 11.1% of the tournament buy-in will be donated to ONE DROP, with $889,889 going towards the prize pool.
“Since its creation, ONE DROP has reached out to millions of people to support access to water and raise each and every one’s awareness of water-related issues. And today, knowing that one person dies from a water-borne disease every 20 seconds, I urge everyone to do even more,” said Guy Laliberté. “We are looking forward to The BIG ONE for ONE DROP as a creative and innovative solution to fund ONE DROP projects that help fight poverty by supporting access to water worldwide.”
U.S. television network ESPN has committed to televising this event as part of its coverage of the 43rd Annual World Series of Poker in 2012. A specially-designed WSOP platinum bracelet will be awarded to the winner, as long as at least 22 participants are entered in the event. (Doyle Brunson defeated a field of 22 players for his first of back-to-back WSOP Main Event titles in 1976).
The tournament is expected to pay out a record 20% of the field—double the typical poker tournament payout structure. For example, if 20 players enter, four will cash. If 30 players enter, six will cash, etc.
The tournament will bring together individuals and corporations in an unusual way for the cause of water for all. It is the belief of the organizers that this event will attract high-net-worth individuals from all over the globe and across a wide range of businesses and occupations.
The BIG ONE for ONE DROP is an unprecedented effort to raise awareness of water-related issues amongst the poker community and to raise funds to allow ONE DROP to continue to deliver on its important mandate. Funds will be directed to ONE DROP projects around the world, where the team is hard at work dealing with the local water crisis.
About ONE DROP
ONE DROP—an initiative of Guy Laliberté, Founder of Cirque du Soleil—is a non-governmental organization established in Montreal, Canada and active worldwide. ONE DROP’s mission is to fight poverty by supporting access to water and raising each and every one’s awareness of water-related issues through its distinctive approach based on social arts and popular education. In the U.S., ONE DROP is a public charity that undertakes innovative activities in which water plays a central role as a creative force to generate positive, sustainable change worldwide. ONE DROP continues to reach out to the world to realize its dream of safe water for all, today and tomorrow. To learn more about ONE DROP, visit ONEDROP.org.
About the World Series of Poker
The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is the largest, richest and most prestigious gaming event in the world awarding millions of dollars in prize money and the prestigious gold bracelet, globally recognized as the sport’s top prize. Featuring a comprehensive slate of tournaments in every major poker variation, the WSOP is poker’s longest running tournament in the world, dating back to 1970. In 2010, the event attracted 72,966 entrants from 117 different countries to the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and awarded over $187 million in prize money. The WSOP, in December 2008, was named the seventh most admired sports brand in North America by the Turnkey Sports Survey, trailing only the older and more established NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NASCAR and PGA Tour among sports properties. In addition, the WSOP has experienced groundbreaking alliances in broadcasting, digital media and corporate sponsorships, while successfully expanding the brand internationally with the advent in 2007 of the World Series of Poker EuropeWSOP.com.