World Record Poker Tournament Begins: €1m Buy-In Monte Carlo Event Kicks Off

Posted on October 15, 2016 - Last Updated on March 1, 2019

[toc]In the world of high-stakes poker tournaments, it’s now not uncommon to see entry fees of $25,000, $50,000 or even $100,000. However, the Big One for One Drop Extravaganza in Monte Carlo has smashed all records.

The €1,000,000 buy-in is the largest buy-in poker tournament in history.

A total of 26 players entered the event, and two busted and re-entered to give us a total of 28 entries.

From each seven-figure entry, €111,111 is being donated to the One Drop Foundation.

No pro poker players – sort of

Tournament organiser, founder of Cirque du Soleil and  the One Drop Foundation Guy Laliberté, announced that the event would not be open to professional poker players.

This means that the likes of Dan Colman and Antonio Esfandiari, the champions of the previous record One Drop poker tournaments at the World Series of Poker, would not be allowed to play.

However, many of the entrants are as talented at poker as they are at their own business and entrepreneurial endeavours.

Talal Shakerchi, for example, is not a professional poker player. However, the successful self-made millionaire is an accomplished tournament poker player who won the most recent Spring Championship of Online Poker.

Joining Talal are venture capitalist and high-stakes poker regular Paul Newey, legendary poker player turned casino executive Bobby Baldwin and former online poker whizz Andrew Pantling, now the CEO of Matchbook.

In addition, there are many pros in Monte Carlo regardless.

Poker champion Daniel Negreanu is acting as a coach for Laliberté, while Vanessa Selbst and Scott Seiver are coaching David Einhorn and Dan Shak, respectively.

Shak is in second place at the time of writing.

The action from Day 1 of the Big One

Players began the event with 5 million in chips and blinds of 6,000/12,000.

True to form, Laliberté was the first player to be knocked out and re-enter after losing big hands to Patrick Madden and real estate mogul Bob Safai.

Alfred de Carolis, an entrepreneur and investor from Pennsylvania, leads the field into Day 2 which is underway in Monte Carlo today.

About the One Drop Foundation

Laliberté’s One Drop Foundation is a non-profit organisation created in 2007, with the aim of using water “as a transformative force to improve living conditions” and give communities independence.

One Drop uses an A-B-C approach, consisting of:

  • Access: Provide people with clean water, sanitation and infrastructure.
  • Behaviour: Use local social art forms to raise awareness and influence positive change.
  • Capital: Offer financial training to market-based solutions and local areas.

Image credit: kerenby /

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Matt Perry

A veteran of the online gambling industry, Matt Perry has worn a number of hats since he first began working in online poker and iGaming in 2007. He currently writes for a variety of publications focused on legal online gambling, and in the past has served as an editor, copywriter, content manager and reporter.

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