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November 24, 2014

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Meet the four players, including a familiar name, remaining in the WSOP One Drop

Businessman Bill Perkins on top, but hungry card sharks right behind

Image

Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Top poker players take part in the $111,111 One Drop High Rollers No-Limit Hold’em event during the World Series of Poker Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at the Rio.

One Drop High Rollers Finishes and Payouts

  • 1st: $4,830,619
  • 2nd: $2,985,495
  • 3rd: $1,965,163
  • 4th: $1,433,438
  • Richard Fullerton (5th): $1,066,491
  • Martin Jacobson (6th): $807,427
  • Brandon Steven (7th): $621,180
  • Nick Schulman (8th): $485,029
  • Olivier Busquet (9th): $384,122
  • Lawrence Greenburg (10th): $384,122
  • Connor Drinan (11th): $308,622
  • Jeremy Ausmus (12th): $308,622
  • Matt Glantz (13th): $251,549
  • Martin Finger (14th): $251,549
  • Blake Bohn (15th): $208,968
  • Mike Sexton (16th): $208,968
  • Daniel Alaei (17th): $173,723
  • Andrew Lichtenberger (18th): $173,723
  • Phil Laak (19th): $173,723
  • Shaun Deeb (20th): $173,723
  • Jason Koon (21st): $173,723
  • Farshad Fardad (22nd): $173,723
  • Dan Shak (23rd): $173,723
  • Steve Gross (24th): $173,723
  • Yevgeniy Timoshenko and Haralabos Voulgaris were the two players who advanced to Friday but were knocked out on the bubble, right before the money.

Antonio Esfandiari prevailed in the most expensive tournament in World Series of Poker history last summer.

Now “The Magician” has a chance to follow the feat with a victory in the second-priciest event of all time.

Esfandiari is one of four players left in the $111,111 buy-in One Drop High Rollers event, which will conclude Saturday afternoon at the Rio.

He holds the fewest chips with 9.2 million, but the separation from the other three players in minimal. Chip leader Bill Perkins has built a stack of 14.7 million chips, while up-and-coming professionals Tony Gregg and Chris Klodnicki possess 13.9 million and 12 million, respectively.

All four players are guaranteed a minimum payout of $1,433,438. The winner will receive a check for $4,830,619.

The first-place prize is more than double any cash ever made by the top three, but it’s only roughly a quarter of what Esfandiari earned in last year’s $1 million buy-in One Drop event when he scored $18,346,673.

If Esfandiari were to repeat, he’d build a previously unimaginable $9.1 million lead over second place on tournament poker’s all-time money list.

For large portions during the third day of play, Esfandiari held the chip lead. He surged toward the top and out of danger early in the day when he paired his ace-queen with an ace on the river against Connor Drinan’s pocket 6s to double his stack to 4 million chips.

Esfandiari had room to maneuver and use his aggressive style to his benefit as more players kept falling out. But the blinds — which will start at 200,000-400,000 with a 50,000 ante Saturday — eventually caught up and caused more volatility to those who advanced to the final table.

Esfandiari, for instance, had just regained the chip lead 20 minutes before the end of play when his pocket 10s dramatically defeated Richard Fullerton’s pocket 6s. All of Fullerton’s chips went in before the flop, where he caught a 6 but then watched in horror as the dealer peeled off a 10 on the turn.

Esfandiari’s celebration was quickly spoiled when he called Perkins’ all-in in the second-to-last hand of the evening. Perkins’ king-jack defeated Esfandiari’s pocket 7s when a king came on the turn.

Perkins turned into the unlikely big stack. A multimillionaire businessman from Houston, Perkins would have been classified as one of the weakest players in the field of 166 at the beginning of the tournament.

But the lively Perkins, who’s known in the poker industry from a couple of appearances on televised high-stakes cash games, has played well and won 50/50 pots in key positions over the past three days.

Like Perkins, Gregg and Klodnicki are also chasing their first WSOP bracelets. But professionals have long expected it was only a matter of time before the two broke through to win poker’s most coveted prize.

Klodnicki finished second in last year’s $50,000 buy-in Poker Player’s Championship, and Gregg is just as well respected among his peers.

On Gregg’s rail rooting for him at the Rio was 2012 Main Event champion Greg Merson. Gregg was short-stacked for the entire day but hit a hot streak late and doubled through Perkins when his pocket 7s beat ace-king.

Gregg then knocked out Sweden’s Martin Jacobson, the only international player at the final table, in sixth place with pocket queens over ace-jack.

Check back at lasvegassun.com for full coverage on the winner of the One Drop High Rollers.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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