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April 28, 2016

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Photos: Las Vegas’ Antonio Esfandiari wins One Drop’s $18 million, platinum bracelet at Rio


World Series of Poker

Antonio Esfandiari is $18,346,673 richer after winning the Big One for One Drop at the Rio on Tuesday, July 3, 2012.

WSOP: Antonio Esfandiari

Antonio Esfandiari wins the $18 million Big One for One Drop prize at the World Series of Poker at the Rio on Tuesday, July 3, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Big One for One Drop/Richard Corey

Big One for One Drop

Players in the Big One for One Drop poker tournament gather prior to the start of the World Series of Poker event in the Rio Convention Center on Sunday, July 1, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Las Vegas poker prince Antonio Esfandiari lived up to his “Magician” nickname tonight when he pulled off the trick of his life winning $18,346,673 in Guy Laliberte’s charity tournament the Big One for One Drop at the Rio.

In the final head-to-head matchup, Antonio out-conjured Britain’s Sam Trickett --an appropriate name -- who will fly back to England with the second-place $10,112,001. Guy, the founder of Cirque du Soleil, and his pal Bobby Baldwin, head honcho at MGM’s CityCenter, made it into the Extraordinary Eight.

Guy won $1,833,666 after being KO’d by Antonio. Guy had KO’d Bobby, who left with $1,408,000. It’s believed that they will all donate substantial sums to Guy’s water for the world charity.

On Sunday, 48 players began the three-day tournament for the richest prize in poker history. New York hedge fund manager David Einhorn received $4,352,000 for 3rd place and donated it all to the nonprofit group City Year . Las Vegas regular Phil Hellmuth of Palo Alto, Calif., finished 4th and takes home $2,645,333 for three days of play.

Cirque performers and “Jubilee!” showgirls from Bally’s spiced up the event when players were introduced at different levels of play. Now the question is whether Guy will attempt to do this again -- and on an even larger scale.

We’ll post a wrap-up interview with Antonio here at on Thursday.

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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