Elton Tsang Big One For One Drop

Hong Kong player Elton Tsang is 11 million Euros richer after winning the biggest poker tournament of the year. (Image: WSOP/Neil Stoddart)

Elton Tsang, a Canadian poker pro now living in Hong Kong, has become AUD16 million richer after taking down the Big One For One Drop tournament in Monte-Carlo.

The charity poker tournament formed part of a week of high-stakes poker action. Organised by Cirque Du Soleil founder, Guy Laliberte, the Big One For One Drop moved this year from its traditional Vegas home.

As always, though, fees from the tournament buy-ins went towards the ONE DROP Organization, a charity raising cash for water charities around the world.

And despite a disappointing turnout of “just” 26 players, the €1 Million buy-in was enough to attract some of the biggest names in poker.

Poor Turnout Kills “Amateur” Ideal

Controversially, pros were prohibited from entering the Big One For One Drop main event. Just a select handful of big-stakes pros were invited over to Monte-Carlo in keeping with Laliberte’s vision of holding amateur event.

Many professionals were angry about being shut out, especially as many had helped make the event a success in its earlier Las Vegas incarnations. A slew of side events was laid on to placate the rich professional poker pros, however, including a 1,000,000 cash game and a high-roller freezeout with a 100,000 buy-in.

Some big names travelling over made it into the Main Event, including the likes of Andrew Pantling from Canada, former Pamela Anderson squeeze Rick Salomon, and English player James Bord.

A businessman and poker player, Bord already has titles to his name in his native England, including a WSOPE (World Series of Poker Europe) bracelet.

Tsang Dominates Heads-Up Battle

After a hard-fought final table, the tournament became a heads-up battle between Tsang and Russian player, Anatoly Gurtovoy. Holding a 2-to-1 chip advantage over his rival, Tsang wasted no time in closing out the game.

On the third hand of the final phase, both players had all their chips in on a board of 9-6-5. Despite having two pair, Tsang was thwarted as the board made a straight and the pot was split.

Tsang made no mistake next time, making a straight with 6-5 on a board of Q-3-4-2. Gurtovoy had the lower straight with A-5 and it wasn’t good enough to give him a double-up.

Tsang’s supporters went into ecstasy, including prominent pro Mustapha Kanit, who had been coaching Tsang prior to the event.

The €11,111,111 Tsang won by winning the Main Event easily eclipsed the AUD155,000 he won at the WSOP Asia-Pacific (APAC) back in 2013. In fact, most of the Hong Kong player’s big cashes had been in Australia and Asia prior to travelling to Monte-Carlo.

He jumps to the top of the China all-time money-earners’ list and up to 21st in the world, just ahead of players like Carlos Mortensen, Jamie Gold, and Aussie Joe Hachem.

Big One For One Drop

Monte-Carlo One Drop Extravaganza

Buy-in: €888,889+€111,111

Runners: 26

Final Table Payouts
(all in Euros)

1st Elton Tsang €11,111,111
2nd Anatoly Gurtovy €5,427,781
3rd Rick Salomon €3,000,000
4th James Bord €2,100,000
5th Cary Katz €1,750,000
6th Andrew Pantling €1,500,000