Esfandiari Wins Record $18.3 Million in World Series of Poker

GreenLight Capital's David Einhorn
David Einhorn, president of Greenlight Capital Inc. Photographer: Peter Foley/Bloomberg

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.

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