Anthony Gregg Wins One Drop WSOP Event Esfandiari Falls Short
The air was palpable as the final table was seated in one of the most talked about World Series of Poker events of the year. The $111,111 WSOP Event#47 One Drop High Rollers NL Hodlem, designed as a charitable poker tournament for the esteemed One Drop Foundation, saw its final 8 players rounding the felt on Friday. By Saturday, it came down to four, including last year’s celebrated winner, Antonio Esfandiari, but the Iranian-born poker pro would fall short of a repeat as Anthony Gregg beat him to the finish.
An epic field of 166 high rolling pros took to the tables on day 1, posting the massive buy-in that resulted in a prize pool of $17,891,148 (after subtracting 3% for One Drop). The final table commenced on Friday, lasting well into the night as Nick Schulman (8th – $485,209), Brandon Steven (7th – $621,180), Martin Jacobson (6th – $807,427) and the event’s first millionaire casher, Richard Fullerton (5th – $1,066,491) made their respective exits from the tournament. At that point, organizers decided to call it quits, scheduling resumption for Saturday.
As the sun peaked in the skies over Las Vegas, the four remaining competitors returned to battle it out for first place in the priciest event of the 2013 WSOP. It was down to Antonio Esfandiari, last year’s One Drop winner and the all-time leader in live poker tournament winnings; Bill Perkins, an affluent American businessman who oft joins in on the biggest poker games around; Chris Klodnicki, a proficient young American poker pro who entered the One Drop with over $4 million in the bank from live poker events; Anthony Gregg, who’s prolific poker skills earned him over a dozen live event cashes, including two in the seven-figure region before reaching this point in the One Drop High Rollers event.
Railbirds were poised to witness the historic repeat win of Esfandiari, who held the chip lead multiple times throughout the final table and was the clear favorite to become the last man standing. However, things didn’t quite go as planned for Antonio as just five hands into the day’s action, he pushed all in, facing potential elimination from Klodnicki.
Esfandiari slid nearly 10m chips towards the center, and after much consideration, Klodnicki eventually chose to make the call. Esfandiari revealed pocket 8’s to Klodnicki’s Ad-9h. The board came down Kd-6h-7h, favoring Esfandiari. A 6s on the turn sent Antonio from his chair to pace the carpet, awaiting the final card that would, in all probability, give him a huge lead and send Chris to the rails. You could hear a pin drop as the final river card was slowly turned. It was an Ace; one of very few outs left to Klodnicki. Esfandiari’s day was over, finishing in 4th for $1,433,438, adding to his record total career tournament winnings of $24,875,466.
Not long after, Bill Perkins pushed his stacked pre-flop with Ac-5d. Gregg was quick to call, showing As-Qs. Perkins took the lead after a flop of 9s-8h-5c. The 4s on the river was no immediate help, but did offer a whole to strain of outs for Gregg, hoping to hit the flush on the river. A spade would not fall, but a Queen did, topping Perkins’s pair of 5’s and eliminating the businessman in 3rd for $1,965,163.
Heads up action commenced between Anthony Gregg and Chris Klodnicki, with Gregg holding a chip lead that never waned. He increased his lead to 4:1 with a big pot, soon followed by what would become the final hand of the 2013 WSOP One Drop High Rollers event. Both limped pre-flop to a see 4d-3c-9h board. Gregg set the trap checking down to Klodnicki, who fell for it hook, line and sinker with a 500k bet. Gregg check-raised to 1.4m. Fully ensnared, Chris pushed his remaining chips with 7s-5d, a gutshot straight, and Gregg made the call, revealing top pair with 9d-2h. The 5h on the turn gave Klodnicki more outs, but Gregg maintained the lead. The 3s on the river sealed the deal.
Anthony Gregg won the second annual One Drop event, claiming a vast $4,830,619 payday and his first WSOP gold bracelet. Chris Klodnicki added $2,985,495 to his career earnings for the 2nd place finish. While the rewards were massive for both players, this year’s One Drop tournament wasn’t nearly as lucrative as it was for Antonio Esfandiari in 2012, where the buy-in was $1 million per player, building a top prize of more than $18 million; higher than the overall prize pool in this year’s rendition.