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In all, the top nine finishers collected the astronomical sum of $42,666,672. To put that into context, the 2012 WSOP awarded more prize money in a single day than any other live poker tournament held in history for its entire duration.
So, what could possibly top that as a news story?
Well, two things (maybe). But first, let's take a look at a poker tournament like no other. Ever.
All triumphs actually begin long before champions enter the arena, and Esfandiari is no exception. The magic man has endured a roller coaster of emotional and financial ups and downs since he burst upon the poker scene eight years ago, when he won his first WSOP gold bracelet in the Pot-Limit Hold’em event, at the old Binion’s Horseshoe.
Since 2004, Esfandiari has become just as popular for his legendary rock-star lifestyle as he has for his poker accomplishments. Perpetually the first one to every party and the last one to leave, assuming he didn’t throw the party himself, the “life of the party” is and always has been Antonio. In most cases, these types of stories end badly. Too much of this. Too much of that. Too much of too much. Too much excess.
However, in Esfandiari’s case, he was always able to keep at least one eye on the right road and a steady hand on the steering wheel on a highway that passed straight though Las Vegas and then takes an off ramp to a fall, and in some cases, tragedy. Esfandiari never lost his way. He never lost his vision. His passion. His love for life and living it to the fullest.
When asked what may have been the personal tipping point that allowed him to rise above the most stunning collection of financial barons every assembled for a poker game, Esfandiari was quick to speak of his life coach – Robyn Williams, the founder and CEO of the Choice Center in Las Vegas.
Esfandiari firmly believes that living a successful life is about making the right choices – about everything. About diet. About exercise. About lifestyle. About finance. About friends. It’s all about choice – and Esfandiari certainly has been making a lot of the right ones, lately.
Esfandiari also gave credit to his father, who was born in Iran and immigrated to the United States. For the first time, Mr. Esfandiari was there to proudly witness his son at his happiest moment.
As soon as Esfandiari won the final pot of the tournament, he was overtaken with emotion as he embraced his father. Esfandiari’s brother joined the richest hug in poker history. The sight of three very close people on the stage, beaming in the spotlight, with tears in their eyes, in front of the world’s television cameras and the watchful eye of every poker player in the universe was about as special as it gets.
Call it what you want – premonition, magic, luck or skill. Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari is the new $18 million man who will be remembered – at least for now – as the biggest winner in poker history. Here are the final official results from the Big One for One Drop:
by Nolan Dalla
July 3, 2012
July 3, 2012 will go down as the richest day in poker history.
No time, no day, no event ever in the history of the game awarded more cash. And yet -- crazy as it may sound -- money was perhaps the second or even third most memorable story of the day. But let’s start with the money, anyway.
Eighteen-million, three-hundred forty-six thousand, six-hundred and seventy-three dollars. For those with short attention spans and want to cut and paste that to Twitter -- that’s $18,346,673 for short.
Oh, and that’s just the prize for one player. The second-place finisher really got shafted. He only received $10,112,001. Then, there was third-place, which paid $4,352,000. Fourth-place got less, and fifth received even less. You get the picture.
1st: Antonio Esfandiari - $18,346,673
2nd: Sam Trickett - $10,112,001
3rd: David Einhorn- $4,352,000
4th: Phil Hellmuth - $2,645,333
5th: Guy Laliberte - $1,834,666
6th: Brian Rast - $1,621,333
7th: Bobby Baldwin - $1,408,000
8th: Richard Yong - $1,237,333
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