Antonio Esfandiari wins $18.3m, becomes Poker's Biggest Winner

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For years, Jamie Gold had a special spot reserved in poker history since his $12 million prize for winning the 2006 WSOP Main Event was the largest tournament score ever. However, Antonio Esfandiari destroyed this record with his recent Big One for One Drop victory, which netted him a massive $18,346,673 prize.

A Sure Victory

Despite facing a pretty stacked 48-player field that included many of poker's greatest players, Antonio Esfandiari was pretty confident about his impending win. In fact, during a pre-final table interview, "The Magician" said that it was only a matter of "when" he won the tournament. 

This turned out to be a very good prediction too since he held the final table chip lead almost the entire time; the only brief point at which he lost it was against Sam Trickett heads-up. After his victory, the confident grinder said, "I swear to you, believe it or not, I never thought about the money. I just wanted to win.”

Including his previous earnings, Antonio Esfandiari now has $23,245,828 in career poker tournament winnings, which ranks him first all-time. Erik Seidel, who is second on the list, is now over $6.5 million behind The Magician. 

Good Business

Aside from Esfandiari's incredible victory, another interesting side story to come out of all this included several businessmen doing well. Greenlight Capitol hedge fund manager and billionaire David Einhorn did the best out of the suits as he finished third and collected $4,352,000. Additionally, Guy Laliberte (5th, $1,834,666), Bobby Baldwin (7th, $1,408,000) and Richard Yong (8th, $1,237,333) all fared pretty well too. 

Beyond the money that these businessmen made in the tournament, many of them also earned extra cash for backing some of the poker pros. Unfortunately, the extent of all these deals hasn't come to surface yet. But in Phil Hellmuth's case, he did tweet about only getting 15% of the $2,645,333 he made.

2012 WSOP Big One for One Drop Final Table

1. Antonio Esfandiari — $18,346,673
2. Sam Trickett — $10,112,001
3. David Einhorn — $4,352,000
4. Phil Hellmuth — $2,645,333
5. Guy Laliberte — $1,834,666
6. Brian Rast — $1,621,333
7. Bobby Baldwin — $1,408,000
8. Richard Yong — $1,237,333
9. Mike Sexton — $1,109,333