The first two $1m buy-in Big One for One Drop events were thrilling to watch.
It’s not often you get to see big-name pros out of their comfort zones, or players of the calibre of Antonio Esfandiari celebrate the way he did when he won poker’s biggest prize of $18m in 2012.
This year’s Big One was a real let down. Banning pros was Guy Laliberte’s way of trying to encourage the biggest and richest businessmen to enter, and having unlimited re-entries for Day 1 showed that he thought things would get wild.
As it was, only 26 players bought in and only two of them – including Laliberte himself – fired more than one bullet. The invite-only field was a weird mix of semi- pros (like James Bord), ex-pros (like Andrew Pantling) and regulars from the high roller circuit (Dan Shak, Paul Newey and Talal Shakerchi). The lack of star power, combined with no live stream and patchy updates, meant the tournament was a flop. The side events – that attracted between two and 11 runners – proved it.
If it comes back again Laliberte needs to open it back out to the pros – or at least invite a number of stars from the poker world, like Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey. It’s good for the railbirds and great exposure for the charity. Stream it live, have a quick-click donate button so viewers can give to the cause too and everyone’s a winner
Dave woods, PokerPlayer Editor