Exclusive: High-stakes crusher confirmed for $1 million Big One for One Drop

Mikita Badziakouski playing the Alpha8 for One Drop event
Dave Woods
Posted on: November 13, 2023 17:00 PST

The $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop was never going to be an easy event to win, but it just got that much tougher as we can exclusively reveal that Mikita Badziakouski will be playing.

The Belarusian pro has career winnings of $43,518,718 and sits seventh on the all-time money list, perhaps higher than a lot of people would have guessed.

Badziakouski might fly under the radar somewhat, but he's very well known on the high-roller scene. This year he won the EPT Monte Carlo €25k High Roller and finished runner-up in the €100k for a slightly higher score (€1,009,853 vs. €938,04). He also notched two seconds and a fifth-place finish at Triton Cyprus. His biggest score was back in 2018, when he won the Triton Main Event in Jeju for $5,257,027.

"I’m always looking to compete at the highest level and playing in the million-dollar buy-in Big One for One Drop is another great opportunity to do just that,” Badziakouski said to PokerOrg. “It also feels good to know that a piece of the buy-in goes a long way in supporting a very worthy cause in One Drop.”

Phil Ivey at Alpha8 for One Drop Phil Ivey playing at the WPT Alpha8 for One Drop event earlier this year

Eight names in total now confirmed

That makes eight confirmed players already, over a month away from the start of the Big One at Wynn Las Vegas.

Badziakouski joins Phil Ivey, Daniel ‘Jungleman’ Cates, Rick Salomon, David Einhorn, Talal Shakerchi, Chris Brewer, and Nick Petrangelo, and we're expecting a steady trickle of other names between now and the start of the event on December 18. The final table will play out on December 20, the filling in a spectacular poker final-table sandwich that also includes the Prime Championship (December 19) and the WPT World Championship (December 21). All three final tables will be live streamed by WPT.

Six percent of every buy-in will directly benefit the One Drop Foundation, which is striving to ensure sustainable access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene for communities around the world.

The 2023 Big One for One Drop is the fifth in the series of million-dollar buy-ins, but the first to be affiliated with WPT. Antonio Esfandiari won the first, and still the biggest, in 2012. He scooped $18,346,673 when he beat Sam Trickett heads-up from a total field of 48 runners. The last one was in 2018, when Justin Bonomo triumphed over a field of 27.

The Big One for One Drop runs from December 1820 and the final table will be streamed live by the WPT. The WPT World Championship festival runs from  November 29 to December 23.