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Elton Tsang Wins €1 Million Big One Invitational For €11,111,111

Record Setting Buy-in Poker Tournament Raised €3,111,108 for One Drop Charity


The largest buy-in tournament in poker history is in the books. The 2016 Big One for One Drop Invitational no-limit hold’em event sported a €1 Million buy-in, which at the current exchange rate meant that players posted around $1.1 million US dollars in order to play in this event. A total of 28 entries were made in this the third seven-figure buy in tournament in poker history, building a prize pool of €24,888,892. €111,111 was withheld from each buy-in for the One Drop, raising €3,111,108 for the charity in support of their efforts to provide clean water around the world.

For the first time ever the Big One was part of a stand alone poker festival, the 2016 One Drop Extravaganza held at the Casino de Monte-Carlo in Monaco. The event also went to an invitation only format that sought to create a field free of the game’s top pros.

In the end China’s Elton Tsang emerged victorious, defeating Anatoly Gurtovoy heads-up to capture the title and the top prize of €11,111,111 ($12,188,889 USD). This was his first recorded live tournament title, but with this win alone he has moved into 21st place on the all-time money list with $12,606,785 in earnings.

“I was feeling good, feeling comfortable, getting cards, my bluffs were working, getting a good read on the table,” Tsang told WSOP reporters afterwards. “It was just going my way. It was going good.”

Only the top six players made the money, with the $1,645,500 USD difference between finishing seventh and sixth setting the record for the largest money-bubble in poker history. Brandon Steven, who finished tenth in the 2010 World Series of Poker main event, was the unfortunate bubble boy. He ran the KHeart SuitQClub Suit into Cary Katz’s AClub SuitKDiamond Suit and failed to come from behind to win.

Katz went on to finish fifth for €1,750,000 ($1,919,750 USD), the largest score of his career. This was Katz second final table finish in a seven figure buy-in, having finished eighth in the $1 million Big One For One Drop in 2014.

Rick Salomon also managed to make his second final table in a million-dollar buy-in tournament. He place fourth in the 2014 Big One and improved one spot on that finish this time out, earning €3,000,000 ($3,291,000 USD) for a third-place showing.

James Bord, who won the 2010 WSOP Europe main event for more than $1.3 million, finished fourth for €2,100,000 ($2,303,700 USD) in this event.

Here is a look at the payouts awarded at this final table:

Place Player Earnings (USD)
1 Elton Tsang $12,188,889
2 Anatoly Gurtovoy $5,954,276
3 Rick Solomon $3,291,000
4 James Bord $2,303,700
5 Cary Katz $1,919,750
6 Andrew Pantling $1,645,500

Photo courtesy of Neil Stoddart.