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Guy Laliberté: The Man Behind The FIRST $1 MILLION Buy-In Tournament

by Julio Rodriguez |  Published: Jun 13, 2012

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Guy Laliberté isn’t your average poker player. The 52-year-old billionaire entrepreneur, philanthropist, CEO, performer and part-time astronaut has a lot more on his mind than the cards, specifically, how he plans to turn this year’s annual charity event at the World Series of Poker into one of the biggest tournaments in poker history.

The Canadian businessman believes in his charity, the One Drop Foundation, which is an organization focused on helping those without access to clean water. But he also believes in the poker community’s ability to rally the troops and support the cause. With his help, the Big One For One Drop, poker’s first $1 million buy-in tournament, will feature an ambitious field of poker professionals, businessmen and fellow charitable benefactors.

This is the story of the man behind the summer’s most talked about event.

A Childhood Performer

Laliberté was born in September of 1959 in Quebec, Canada. His early years were spent hustling, earning whatever he could by selling whatever he could.

“I feel like I grew up just like any other kid, but early on, you could tell that I was adventurous and overly curious about things,” he remembered. “I had that entrepreneurial spirit even as a child, wheeling and dealing during school hours, trading hockey cards and even selling lemonade and firecrackers on the street corner.”

Inspired by an early trip to the circus and some time spent in the arts at school, Laliberté quickly found himself working the streets as a performer, playing the harmonica and accordion.


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