Esfandiari Wins Record $18.3 Million in World Series of Poker

Antonio Esfandiari outlasted 47 rivals to win poker’s biggest payout of $18.3 million in the $1 million buy-in charity tournament at the World Series of Poker.

Esfandiari, a 33-year-old professional from the U.S., beat British pro Sam Trickett, 25, who bet all his chips and lost on the final hand at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

“It’s called clear intention; I had it,” Esfandiari told ESPN in a televised interview. “I just knew I was going to win. I just had to put it out there and believe it, and sometimes it comes true.”

Trickett collects $10.1 million. Greenlight Capital Inc. co-founder David Einhorn, 43, was third, winning $4.35 million. Einhorn said he’ll donate all of his winnings to the charity City Year.

Esfandiari was the chip leader yesterday in the final day of the three-day tournament called the Big One for One Drop. He started the day with 39.9 million in chips, followed by Trickett, who had 37 million.

After 48 players paid $1 million each to participate in the first-time event at the World Series of Poker, those remaining were guaranteed a return of at least $1.2 million apiece.

Esfandiari’s win topped the $12 million Jamie Gold won in claiming the no-limit Texas hold’em world championship, known as the main event, at the 2006 World Series of Poker. Gold’s win was the largest in a poker tournament.

One Drop, which is the main beneficiary of the poker event, fights poverty worldwide by supporting access to water.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nancy Kercheval in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.