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July 3, 2015

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World Series of Poker reveals plan to hold $1 million buy-in tournament next year

The previous record for priciest buy-in was $250,000



A handful of poker players who have pledged to buy into a $1 million tournament at next year’s World Series of Poker pose for a picture after a press announcement Thursday afternoon. The tournament will benefit One Drop, an organization that fights poverty by providing access to water.

The World Series of Poker will host the most expensive tournament in the history of the game next summer.

Caesars Entertainment officials and a group of players announced Thursday plans to hold a $1 million buy-in tournament at the 2012 World Series of Poker.

The event is called The Big One for One Drop and is scheduled for July 1, 2012. One Drop is a non-governmental organization headed by Cirque de Soliel founder Guy Laliberte that provides access to water in third world countries.

“A million dollar buy-in seems crazy and, well, it is,” said four-time WSOP bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu in a statement, “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.”

Negreanu is one of 15 players who have already committed to play in the tournament. The other poker pros who promised to buy in are Tom Dwan, Johnny Chan, Patrik Antonius, Gus Hansen and Tony Guoga.

Laliberte leads the contingent of businessmen who will participate. Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin, City Center Group CEO and four-time WSOP bracelet winner Bobby Baldwin and Texas billionaire Andy Beal are also included.

“I’m very happy to participate in this event,” Ruffin said. “As a partner and friend to Guy, I have always admired his commitment to One Drop.”

If seven more players register, bringing the total to 22, the WSOP will present the winner with a platinum bracelet. The WSOP usually awards a gold bracelet to the winner of each of its tournaments.

The maximum number of entries is set at 48. Caesars will not take its customary 10 percent of the prize pool to run the tournament. Instead, 11.1 percent of every buy-in will be donated to One Drop.

“I am buying in,” Dwan said. “One million dollars has a nice ring to it. It’s so sick, and for such a good cause. Now, I just gotta win.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or Follow Case on Twitter at

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  1. It's good to see more and more organizations helping the world's poor gain access to fresh water.