LAS VEGAS (AP) — A never-before-seen $1 million buy-in tournament at the World Series of Poker this year will generate the biggest prize in poker history at more than $12 million — and potentially more if played. other players enter.
Series officials planned to announce Thursday that 30 players have signed up to participate in the Big One for One Drop starting July 1 in Las Vegas.
That number puts the top prize at $12.3 million, more than the $12 million Jamie Gold won in 2006 for beating over 8,700 No Limit Texas Hold’em players in the main event. at $10,000.
The final table will be broadcast live on ESPN, series spokesman Seth Palansky told The Associated Press. The winner will also win a specially designed platinum bracelet.
Eight-time gold bracelet winner Erik Seidel joined the field, alongside chief executives of a private university lender and a brokerage firm.
The champ is a mix of high-stakes poker sharks known for their enormous skills and wealthy businessmen for whom $1 million isn’t much to spend. Of the 30 players in the field so far, only 10 are professional poker players.
Players like Johnny Chan, Tom Dwan and Daniel Negreanu are salivating at the thought of taking on lesser players, but billionaires like casino owner Phil Ruffin and tournament organizer and Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte say ‘they won’t be as nervous with seven figures on the line.
The 30 confirmed players have already set up their buy-ins, and series officials expect to hit a cap of 48 entries. With that many players, the top prize would be $18.3 million.
The $1 million buy-in tournament includes an approximately 11% discount for charity, but does not include the normal fees charged by the series for running the tournament.
Laliberte organized the tournament with WSOP officials to raise money for One Drop, a non-governmental organization he founded that campaigns for access to water in poor countries.
Oskar Garcia can be reached on Twitter via @oskargarcia.
Or online at http://www.wsop.com/2012/thebigone