Esfandiari wins big in poker tournament

July 4, 2012 at 4:26 PM

LAS VEGAS, July 4 (UPI) -- Antonio Esfandiari, one of the world's top poker players, walked away from the table $18 million richer after winning a charity tournament in Las Vegas.

Esfandiari, who was born in Iran and now lives in the gambling resort, also got a platinum bracelet for his victory in the Big Drop for One Drop at the Rio, the Las Vegas Sun reported. The tournament organized by Guy Laliberte, founder of Cirque du Soleil, raises money for water projects around the world.

There were 48 players Sunday evening when the tournament began. Laliberte made it into the final eight, only to lose to Esfandiari.

Sam Trickett of Britain, who was in second place, won more than $10 million. All of the top eight finishers came out of the tournament with substantial sums and are expected to donate part of it to Laliberte's charity.

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