LAS VEGAS – Antonio Esfandiari prevailed Tuesday in a daylong battle against Sam Trickett on the final day of the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop Texas Hold’em event and won $18,346,673, the richest top prize in poker history.
On the 85th and final hand in the three-day event, Esfandiari held on to win with three fives he acquired before the turn and overcame Trickett’s flush draw.
Trickett, who had gone all in, nor Esfandiari were able to improve their hands during the turn and the river. Esfandiari finished with 143,975,000 chips.
“It’s unbelievable,” Esfandiari said. “It’s euphoric. I’m so happy right now, and I don’t even think it has set in.”
Esfandiari and Trickett were the high stack twosome after Day 2 and remained ahead of their six opponents during the early stages of this three-day event at the Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino.
Esfandiari, of Las Vegas, also won a diamond and platinum champion bracelet. Trickett, of the Britain, got $10,113,001. Eight players at the final table returned for the final day to split up over $41,557,339.
Third-place finisher David Einhorn, a hedge fund manager from Rye, N.Y., said he plans to donate his entire prize of $4,352,000 to City Year, an education-focused nonprofit organization.
More than 7,000 players are expected for the $10,000 buy-in no-limit Texas Hold’em main event beginning Saturday. It ends when the final table is reached July 16 and resumes with finals play on Oct. 28.