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August 1, 2014

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Top prize in Cirque founder’s One Drop poker benefit could surpass $20 million

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Christopher DeVargas

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.

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

Nine poker players were added this morning to Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte’s $1-million buy-in the Big One for One Drop charity poker tournament that starts June 29 at the Rio. That makes a total of 32 players, including the first female, Vanessa Selbst, in the second One Drop event.

If One Drop tops out at 56 starters, the first-place prize would be more than $20 million. One of the players is Jean-Robert Bellande, who competed on “Survivor: China.” Las Vegas players Bobby Baldwin (CEO of CityCenter) and pros Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Ivey have already staked their spots alongside Guy in his charitable endeavor, part of the 45th Annual World Series of Poker at the Rio.

The Big One for One Drop is expected to play out over three days (from June 29 through July 1) with recorded coverage on ESPN airing July 15. A total of $111,111 of each entry is donated to Guy’s charity, and the remaining $888,889 goes into the prize pool, the largest buy-in anywhere for a poker event.

The first event in 2012 was won by Antonio and raised $5 million for Guy’s One Drop charity.

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.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

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Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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