July 04, 2012 12:00 ET

Cirque du Soleil Founder Organizes Largest Poker Fundraiser Ever in Las Vegas, Raising $5.3 Million in Support of ONE DROP

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA--(Marketwire - July 4, 2012) - Guy Laliberté has sparked ONE DROP fever in Las Vegas this week with a never before seen charity poker tournament "The BIG ONE for ONE DROP". The founder of Cirque du Soleil combined his hobby for poker with that of philanthropy and raised $5.3 million in support of ONE DROP, a charity he created a mere 5 years ago to give access to safe water for all, today and tomorrow.

Antonio Esfandiari took home $18,346,673 last night after winning the BIG ONE for ONE DROP, the largest buy-in poker tournament ever imagined, with a $1,000,000 entry fee, which took place from July 1-3, 2012 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, as part of the 43rd Annual World Series of Poker. $5.3 million was raised from 11.11% of each of the 48 players' entry fees.

Laliberté used his business experience to create ONE DROP and tackle one of the world's most pressing problems: he dedicated himself to the cause of access to water, which lies at the heart of human survival in communities all over the world. ONE DROP was born out of values that have always driven Guy - his desire to give back and his belief that each individual gesture can make a world of difference.

The BIG ONE for ONE DROP is an original idea of Laliberté, in collaboration with fellow Montrealer and Caesars Interactive Entertainment CEO Mitch Garber. Taking advantage of the World Series of Poker's brand and leadership in poker, as well as its broadcast agreement with ESPN, it is an unprecedented effort to raise awareness of water-related issues amongst the poker community and to raise funds to allow ONE DROP to continue to deliver on its important mandate. Funds will be directed to ONE DROP projects around the world, where the team is hard at work dealing with the local water crisis. Thanks to WSOP, the BIG ONE for ONE DROP has benefitted from its sound reputation since the very first announcement, attracting the best players in the world and wealthy businessman, looking to do good while having fun, just like Laliberté is.

All in for ONE DROP

Beyond the three-day "BIG ONE for ONE DROP", "All in for ONE DROP" is ONE DROP's awareness-raising campaign that uses Twitter as its main platform to diffuse messages pertaining to water issues and encourage the 40-million strong poker community to mobilize for change. Using poker talk, ONE DROP incites fans from the four corners of the globe to become Poker Supporters and pledge a percentage of their gains to the cause. Several players among the most renowned in the world accepted to take their commitment even further by becoming Poker Ambassadors and reaching out to their impressive group of followers to spread the message even further afield.

« The poker community is open and generous. I am impressed with the level of commitment of the community but also the enthusiasm of thousands to pass the message and to contribute to the ripple effect. I am grateful and encourage the poker community to stay involved and to spread the word, because water is essential for life and we all have to act to protect and share it", explained Laliberté.

Only five years old, ONE DROP has already implemented water-access projects in Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Haiti, India and is now starting a project in Burkina Faso. By greatly improving access to water for drinking and for agriculture, the projects have a direct impact on the communities where the organization is active. Participants have already noticed considerable improvements to their health, education and family incomes. Through these projects, more than 350,000 people are being positively affected by ONE DROP's initiatives.


ONE DROP-an initiative of Guy Laliberté, Founder of Cirque du Soleil®-is an international non-governmental organization established in Canada, in 2007. ONE DROP fights poverty by supporting access to water and raising individual and community awareness of the need to mobilize so that safe water is accessible to all, in sufficient quantity, today and tomorrow. With its uniquely artistic approach, ONE DROP educates and implements site-specific safe water solutions while allocating microfinance loans to help ensure sustainable development. Worldwide, ONE DROP's ongoing creative projects also raise awareness about water-related issues and encourage smarter water practices. In the U.S., ONE DROP is a public charity that undertakes innovative activities in which water plays a central role as a creative force to generate positive, sustainable change worldwide. To learn more, visit

About the World Series of Poker

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is the largest, richest and most prestigious gaming event in the world awarding millions of dollars in prize money and the prestigious gold bracelet, globally recognized as the sport's top prize. Featuring a comprehensive slate of tournaments in every major poker variation, the WSOP is poker's longest running tournament in the world, dating back to 1970. In 2011, the event attracted 75,672 entrants from 105 different countries to the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and awarded over $192 million in prize money. To learn more about the World Series of Poker, visit

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