Guy Laliberte Unveils New, Invitation-only Big One for One Drop

Even as the One Drop High Roller and the Little One for One Drop charity tournaments grab their slices of poker’s center stage amid the ongoing World Series of Poker festivities in Las Vegas, One Drop founder Guy Laliberte has announced his plans for a new Big One for One Drop event, to be held this October in the swanky Mediterranean resort destination of Monaco. The big deal about the Big One? It’s Laliberte’s stated plans to make this an invitation-only event, and thus shut out the growing handful of well-banked elite pros who have fed on a handful of poker-loving corporate whales in recent years.

big one logoLaliberte emphatically stated as much in his release announcing the “new” Big One, which you can view in its entirety below.  Laliberte himself, a French national and the billionaire founder of the Cirque du Soleil, seemingly always envisioned the Big One for One Drop as a poker-themed playground for the philnthropically-minded uber-rich, of which he himself is one of the most prominent examples.  Laliberte, known for what it’s worth as perhaps online poker’s biggest whale either, is certainly in the financial position to shape a poker event more to his personal liking, and for what it’s worth, that’s what the new Big One is.

It appears, though, that longtime partner Caesars Entertainment will remain part of the Big One mix, likely by providing the event’s organizational support.  The other “One Drop” events continue under the banner, but it’s crystal clear why the new Big One for One Drop needed to find a new venue, away from the WSOP proper: As an invitation-only event, it would not be eligible for bracelet consideration,  and moving away from Las Vegas reduces the possible impact of any poker pros who might want to use high-pressure tactics to force their way into what, by pros’ standards, would be viewed as a juicy field.

Whether or not any generally recognized “poker pros” manage to wheedle their way in remains to be seen, though it appears Laliberte does not want them.  And then brings up the question of where the line of demarcation between “pro” and “rich businessman who’s skilled at poker” will be drawn.  Somewhere on that continuum are the likes of Dan Shak and David Einhorn, not to mention a couple of those anonymous “Asian Businessman” entries (such as Richard Yong) that have shown up on similar mega-buy-in entry lists.

Anyhow, it looks like a lot of fun, even if the hoi polloi need not bother sending in their entry e-mails.  Here’s that presser:

THE MONTE-CARLO ONE DROP EXTRAVAGANZA™ TO BE HELD BY INVITATION OCT. 13 TO 17, 201

ONE DROP CREATES NEW ULTRA-EXCLUSIVE WEEK-LONG EXPERIENCE TARGETING RECREATIONAL PLAYERS, TO TAKE PLACE AT THE ICONIC CASINO DE MONTE-CARLO 

THE BIG ONE FOR ONE DROP TM INVITATIONAL, A CHARITABLE TOURNAMENT WITH THE HIGHEST ENTRY FEE IN HISTORY, HEADLINES THE WEEK

Monaco, July 10, 2016 – ONE DROP(TM), one of the world’s leading organizations dedicated to sustainable access to safe water, today announced its next big fundraising initiative, the Monte-Carlo One Drop Extravaganza. MonteCarlo Société des Bains de Mer and Caesars Interactive Entertainment, have joined forces to support One Drop in a week-long poker experience taking place at the Casino de Monte-Carlo, Monaco from October 13-17, 2016 to raise funds for charity and create unique television content.

The headlining event, The Big One for One Drop Invitational, will begin at noon on Friday, October, 14 and will last three days. It features the largest buy-in poker tournament ever held, a staggering €1,000,000 buy-in, with €111,111 from each entry going to One Drop. No other fees will be deducted for event operations, allowing €888,889 from each buy-in to go directly into the prize pool. The historic stakes may get even higher, as unlimited re-entry will be allowed during the entire first day of competition. The winner will receive one of the world’s most valuable sporting trophies, a ceremonial bracelet hand-crafted in platinum by famed jeweler Richard Mille.

An open format version of The Big One for One Drop was held as part of the World Series of Poker in 2012 and 2014, in Las Vegas, each with a US$1 million buy-in. While both of these events were primarily contested by professional poker players, The Big One for One Drop Invitational will be a by-invitation-only tournament for businessmen, philanthrophic and celebrity recreational players. Recreational players seeking to be considered to participate should contact event manager Alexandre Meunier [e-mail].

The change in venue to the prestigious Casino de Monte-Carlo reflects One Drop’s expanded vision for its poker activities, as the €1 million tournament will be surrounded by a full slate of exclusive events. This new charitable initiative is scheduled to follow the highly-acclaimed Monaco Yacht Show and will be held concurrently with the Monaco International Clubbing Show, an event that brings together the best DJs in the business. Participants in the €1 million poker event will be treated to complimentary accommodations and a variety of exclusive hospitality activities in the Principality.

“I am pleased that Monaco has been chosen to host the 2016 edition of The Big One for One Drop, one of the most innovative charity events,” said Prince Albert II of Monaco. “After only two editions, The Big One for One Drop has raised more than $10 million for water, a cause that I hold particularly dear. I wish an even greater success to the third edition of The Big One.”

“From the beginning, we knew that The Big One for One Drop was a unique event,” said One Drop Founder, Guy Laliberté. “This year, by shifting the focus to recreational players, we’re looking to bring fun and innovation to charitable giving. We believe the events in Monaco will attract high net-worth individuals from across the globe to enjoy the game, the networking opportunities and the incredible VIP experiences only available in one of the world’s most iconic settings.”

“With the Monte-Carlo One Drop Extravaganza, One Drop is building on the successful track record of our high-prestige poker events,” said Catherine B. Bachand, CEO, One Drop. “Our new vision is to broaden the appeal by creating a tournament that is both ultra-exclusive and lots of fun. Only one participant will win the trophy, but all will come away with great memories, new and valuable contacts and the knowledge they’ve contributed to one of the most critical causes in the world.”

The vision behind the One Drop poker tournaments is to promote awareness of water-related issues among the poker and philanthropic communities and beyond. The aim is to raise funds that will allow One Drop to continue to deliver on its important mission. Funds will be directed to One Drop’s new generation of programs around the world, working cross-sector to provide sustainable water access to communities in need.

“The Casino de Monte-Carlo is thrilled and delighted to welcome the Big One for One Drop Invitational event and to take an active part in the organization of this new international poker initiative,” said Pascal Camia, Executive Vice President – Casinos of Monaco. “This outstanding tournament contributes in positioning Monaco as a global and attractive destination for gaming.”

“Poker tournaments have already made a name for themselves as some of the most successful charitable initiatives in the world, and the special Monte-Carlo One Drop event promises to reach new heights,” said Mitch Garber, Chief Executive Officer at Caesars Interactive Entertainment. “Monaco and Casino de Monte-Carlo are the perfect backdrop and partners for this event, and I would like to personally thank the Principality and H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco for his personal interest and support of the cause and ensuring a memorable week.”

Since its inception, One Drop has delivered projects to help more than 1 million people. The organization is currently pursuing new initiatives and partnerships to broaden that reach and meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals adopted by world leaders at the United Nations Summit this past year. These goals call for the provision of water and sanitation for all by 2030.

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