It is all over in Monte Carlo. The biggest buy-in poker tournament in the history was brought to its natural conclusion last night, with the winner, Elton Tsang, taking home the astonishing amount of €11,111,111. The 2016 Big One winner has thus climbed to the 21st place on the poker’s All Time Money List with a single victory.
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2016 One Drop Winner Found Among Recreational Players
As we’ve already discussed, this year’s Big One for One Drop tournament, featuring its third instance after 2012 and 2014, was invitation-only and closed to professional players. Despite protests of many top-notch professionals, the man in charge, Guy Laliberte, decided it was for the best to make this an all-amateur affair.
In the end, the event attracted 26 original players with two reentries boosting the prize pool and the One Drop Foundation’s budget a bit further. The play started on Friday and yesterday the tournament was played down to the final table of eight. With the top prize being €11+ million, it wasn’t chump-change even for these millionaires.
Elton Tsang Becomes 2016 One Drop Winner
When the final table kicked off on Sunday, it was Andrew Pantling sitting pretty with almost 32 million in chips. He was followed by Rick Salomon at 27 million and Elton Tsang at 23.5.
James Bord and Anatoly Gurtovoy were positioned in the middle of the table with 18.1 and 16.7 million respectively, while Brandon Steven, Cary Katz, and Haralabos Voulgaris were in the red zone.
Haralbos Voulgaris was the official short stack and he was the first one to hit the rail. The professional sports bettor couldn’t turn things around starting with a stack of about 13 big blinds as his steal attempt ran into a very strong hand of Gurtovoy and that was all she wrote for the Greek.
With seven players remaining and six getting paid, the big bubble was looming over everybody’s head, although the min-cash may not have been that significant for most of the players still seated at the table. Still, no one was particularly keen to bust at this crucial moment and it took nearly two hours for the bubble to burst.
Someone had to go out at some point, however, and it would be Brandon Steven who took home the unflattering title of the bubble boy in the biggest tournament in the history.
Andrew Pantling was the first one to leave with some money for his efforts. Despite of starting the day as the chip leader, he couldn’t get anything going at the final table and had, in fact, relinquished a lot of his chips to the eventual 2016 One Drop winner Elton Tsang during the first few hands of the day. Pantling earned €1,500,000 for his sixth place finish.
Next two eliminations were about an hour apart, with Cary Katz being sent home in fifth, earning €1,750,000, and James Bord busting in fourth – good for €2.1 million.
Finally, Rick Salomon was ousted in third when he jammed his short stack in with Jack-Queen, only to be met by Ace-Queen of Gurtovoy. The flop brought some hope for Salomon, as it came J-high, but an Ace on the turn sealed his fate, sending him home with €3,000,000 for his efforts.
Gurtovoy & Tsang Heads Up for the 2016 One Drop Winner
With Salomon making his exit, it was down to Anatoly Gurtovoy and Elton Tsang to decide on the winner, with nearly €5.7 million in difference between the first and the second place. Tsang, a Hong Kong businessman, started with about 2-to-1 chip lead over the Russian.
The lead would prove to be enough for the win, as Gurtovoy simply couldn’t find the way to get back in the tournament. He dodged some bullets during the heads up play, especially when he got all his chips in the middle drawing very thin with his top pair against Tsang’s top two on just the third hand of the play.
But, poker gods showed some mercy and put the straight on the board for a chopped pot.
This did not faze Tsang, however, as he continued to dominate his opponent, grinding his stack to bits and pieces. When Gurtovoy finally found a hand to shove his six big blinds with, turning a wheel, it proved to be no good as Tsang turned over a six-high straight.
No six on the river this time around meant that there would be no chopped pots. It was all over.
Elton Tsang is the 2016 One Drop winner, banking €11,111,111 for his extraordinary run in this amazing event. The runner-up, Anatoly Gurtovoy cashed for €5,427,781, which is certainly nothing to sneeze at, either.