Sunday, July 1, 2012 | 10:58 a.m.
Porn peddler Rick Salomon, who was wed here to pinup Playmate and actress Pamela Anderson for 80 days and released a video of his sex antics with one-time girlfriend Paris Hilton, bets $1 million today in hopes of winning $18 million.
Rick is one of 48 poker players sitting down at the World Series of Poker charity event the Big One for One Drop at the Rio organized by Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte for a shot at the largest first-place prize awarded in any sporting event outside boxing’s pay-per-view gates.
Two Las Vegas hotel execs, Bobby Baldwin of MGM Resorts’ CityCenter and Phil Ruffin from Treasure Island, are joined by Las Vegas-based pro poker players and two other corporate chiefs -- Bob Bright, CEO of Bright Trading, and Cary Katz, CEO of College Loan Corp. -- at the richest entry event in poker history.
Guy promises a turnout of performers from his seven Las Vegas Cirque shows who’ll provide the big band-start to today’s play. Our hometown poker princes are Tom Dwan, Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Ivey, Ben Lamb, Daniel Negreanu, Brian Rast, Vivek Rajkumar, Andrew Robl, Erik Seidel and Mike Sexton. We posted a One Drop preview story on Thursday.
The final nine players still standing at Tuesday’s last hands will divide up an extraordinary $42,666,672 prize pool. The winner will haul home a whopping $18,346,673, and second place is $10,112,001 -- the third-largest prize behind Jamie Gold’s 2006 WSOP Main Event win of $12 million. All final nine players win back their $1 million gamble.
X-rated producer Rick could be among the final nine, as he’s well known in L.A. taking part in high-roller, at-home games and appeared on Season 2 of “Poker Stars Big Game.” On the Strip, he’s known as the man who appeared in Paris’ 2003 sex tape and for his quickie October 2007 marriage of 10 weeks to Pamela.
The former “Baywatch” beauty was co-starring as Dutch magician Hans Klok’s sexy assistant in “Beauty of Magic” and in between 7 and 10 p.m. Planet Hollywood shows on Oct. 6 married Rick in a mad-rush, cross-Strip ceremony in a VIP bungalow at the Mirage.
Pamela filed for divorce Dec. 14, citing irreconcilable differences. Their wedding bliss ended with an annulment March 24, 2008, with both claiming fraud. Rick, 44, was previously married to actresses Elizabeth Daily and Shannen Doherty; her marriage to him also was annulled after seven months.
The sex tape was the subject of major lawsuit litigation but wound up with Rick distributing it through his adult-film company Red Light District Video. He agreed to pay Paris $400,000, plus a percentage of the tape’s profits.
Guy’s One Drop water for the world charity will receive $5,533,328 from the prize pool, with $111,111 earmarked from each $1 million entry.
The action starts at 1:11 p.m. today, with cards in the air at six eight-handed tables -- a Main Stage table for ESPN cameras, plus five tables in the Amazon Room. WSOP.com will have live streaming coverage today and Monday, with commentary from David Tuchman, Olivier Busquet, Justin Bonomo, Jason Somerville, Greg Mueller and Joe Hachem. ESPN’s cable channels will provide live Tuesday coverage of the Final Table on ESPN2 from 1 to 4 p.m. and then ESPN from 5 p.m. to the crowning conclusion.
I’ll join the Las Vegas Sun Sports staff at the Rio for coverage with my tweets @robin_leach, and their coverage can be found at LasVegasSun.com.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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