From Comcast SportsNetLAS VEGAS (AP) -- A never-before-seen 1 million buy-in tournament at the World Series of Poker this year will generate the richest top prize in poker history at more than 12 million -- and potentially more if additional players get in.Series officials planned to announce Thursday that 30 players are committed to participate in the Big One for One Drop starting July 1 in Las Vegas.That number puts the top prize at 12.3 million, which is more than the 12 million Jamie Gold won in 2006 for beating over 8,700 players at no-limit Texas Hold em in the 10,000 buy-in main event.The final table will air live on ESPN, series spokesman Seth Palansky told The Associated Press. The winner will also earn a specially designed platinum bracelet.Eight-time gold bracelet winner Erik Seidel has joined the field, along with the chief executives of a private college lender and a stock trading firm.The field is a mix of high-stakes poker sharks known for their tremendous skills and wealthy businessmen for whom 1 million isn't much to spend. Of the 30 players in the field so far, only 10 are professional poker players.Players such as Johnny Chan, Tom Dwan and Daniel Negreanu are salivating at the chance to match up against lesser players, but billionaires like casino owner Phil Ruffin, and tournament organizer and Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte say they won't be as nervous with seven figures at stake.The 30 confirmed players have already put up their buy-ins, and series officials expect to reach a cap of 48 entries. With that many players, the top prize would be 18.3 million.The 1 million buy-in tournament includes a roughly 11 percent cut for charity but doesn't include the normal fees charged by the series for holding the tournament.Laliberte organized the tournament with WSOP officials to raise money for One Drop, a non-governmental organization he founded that pushes for access to water in poor countries.
NEW YORK -- Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson is a Heisman Trophy finalist for the second consecutive season, joining Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, Michigan linebacker Jabrill Peppers and Oklahoma teammates Baker Mayfield and Dede Westbrook.
The finalists were announced Monday on ESPN and the award will be presented Saturday in New York.
Watson finished third in last year's voting, won by Alabama running back Derrick Henry. Just like last year, he heads to New York not as the favorite but as the contender coming on strong at the end. Mayfield finished fourth last season, but did not get an invite to Heisman presentation in New York.
Peppers is the first defensive player to be a Heisman finalists since Notre Dame linebacker Manti Teo was a distant runner-up to Johnny Manziel in 2012.
Westbrook and Mayfield are the first teammates to be finalists since Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart from Southern California finished first and third, respectively in 2005.
Finalists are determined by the margins between vote-getters. The ballots of more than 900 voters, which included former Heisman winners, were due Monday.
Watson entered as the preseason favorite in what looked like a strong field of contenders, but Jackson quickly swept past them all to be front-runner. He was brilliant for the first two months of the season and Louisville was looking like a College Football Playoff contender.
It seemed as if Jackson would be a runaway Heisman winner, but the 15th-ranked Cardinals lost their final two games of the season. He was sacked 11 times in a lopsided loss at Houston and he committed four turnovers in a last-second loss against Kentucky.
Watson, meanwhile, has surged since Clemson's only loss to Pitt in mid-November. He also had the benefit of playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game last Saturday and took full advantage of the spotlight. Watson threw three touchdown passes and ran for two scores in a 42-35 victory against Virginia Tech to seal a spot in the College Football Playoff.
The raw numbers still favor Jackson, who is second in the nation in total yards per game (410.7) and has accounted for 51 touchdowns (21 rushing TDs and 30 TD passes) with 13 turnovers (nine INTs and four lost fumbles) in 12 games. Watson averages 341.8 yards per game and has 43 touchdowns (six rushing and 37 passing) with 15 turnovers (all interceptions) in 13 games.
When the two met on Oct. 1 at Clemson in what was one of the season's most entertaining games, Watson threw for 306 yards and five touchdowns, ran for 91 and was picked off three times. Jackson had 295 yards passing, 162 rushing and accounted for three touchdowns with one interception. Clemson won 42-36.
Mayfield and Westbrook have been a dynamic combination, and late in the season No. 7 Oklahoma started a dual campaign to promote both for the Heisman. Mayfield is on pace to break the NCAA record for passer efficiency rating in a season (197.75). Westbrook has 74 catches for 1,465 yards and 16 touchdowns and has more receptions covering at least 20 yards (26) than any receiver in the country.
Peppers played defense, offense and special teams for Michigan, lining up all over the field.
ALAMEDA – Mario Edwards Jr. hasn’t played football in a long, long time. His last go round came back on Aug. 12, during the Raiders’ preseason opener at Arizona.
He suffered a hip injury and hasn’t been back since. That’s nearly four months now, too long a drought for the young, versatile defensive lineman.
That’s why Monday meant so much. It was just a walk-through practice, nothing too physical, but the act of practicing meant something special after his extended absence.
“It felt good just to get out there with those guys,” Edwards Jr. said Monday evening. “My last time with them was against the Cardinals in the preseason. Even just to get out there in a practice and enjoy the camaraderie definitely was nice.”
Edwards Jr.’s rehab has been slower than originally expected, which has kept him on injured reserve well after he was eligible to practice in Week 7 and play in Week 9. Edwards Jr. wanted to make sure his hip, which he called “a freaky thing,” healed right and was free of setbacks.
While he took a mature approach to his rehab, Sundays proved hard to bear. Watching Raiders games were difficult, even with the team sitting pretty at 10-2 after Sunday’s victory over Buffalo.
That was especially true when the Raiders came back to beat the Carolina Panthers. Defense sealed that victory, with Khalil Mack’s strip sack of Cam Newton and the recovery of his own forced fumble. That proved too much to take. Edwards Jr. started itching to get back on the field.
Now that he’s ever so close to a return, Edwards Jr. has let himself ponder lining up with Mack and Bruce Irvin on third and long, ready to get after the quarterback.
“I’ve been dreaming of that, especially after watching Mack strip Cam and things like that,” Edwards Jr. said. “I just wanted to be out there and be a part of it. I’ve been foaming at the mouth ever since then.”
Edwards Jr. must’ve known he was close to getting back on the field. He was running well on the treadmill prior to that game, and was out on the field shortly after the Panthers win.
The Raiders hope Edwards Jr. can be back in time to play the Chargers in San Diego on Dec. 18. That would give him three regular-season games to ramp up and be fully immersed in the defense should the Raiders make the postseason.
Edwards Jr., however, doesn’t have a set timetable to return.
“I’m a little different, so I don’t really know,” Edwards Jr. said. “We don’t have a date on it. It’s more about how I’m feeling each day and how I’m healing.”
Edwards Jr. called his absence bittersweet – he hasn’t played a regular season game since Dec. 20, when he suffered a neck injury versus Green Bay – but remains forward thinking even missing the season to this point.
“It sucked, but everything happened for a reason,” Edwards Jr. said. “I’m healing up great, and I’m looking forward to coming back and playing.”