One of the most appealing aspects of poker is that it draws players from all walks of life. The game is available to everyone, from penniless students to eccentric millionaires. Guy Laliberté, the creator of the world-famous Cirque du Soleil, is unmistakably a member of the latter group.
Both career and poker experiences have been full with thrills and spills. While poker was only one of his numerous interests, it was perhaps the most costly.
Laliberté relished the opportunity to compete against the finest of the best. It was never about the money for him. He was inspired by the challenge and the chance to play against some of the best poker wits in the world. This, of course, came at a cost. Taking on some of the most seasoned high-stakes regulars on their own field taught the Canadian a costly lesson.
A few billionaires are born into wealth and get to enjoy the results of the effort of those who came before them, but Guy Laliberté is not one of them. He rose from humble beginnings to develop a multibillion-dollar business on his own.
The Canadian began his career as a street performer. He hitchhiked around Europe when he was 18, meeting other street artists and learning the ropes. In 2007, Laliberté made his name as a poker player to a larger audience. He was invited to appear on several prominent poker shows, including High Stakes Poker. Those who were following the poker industry at the time would remember his performance on HSP.
In 2011, Laliberté began the Big One for One Drop. For the tournament, 48 participants put up a $1 million buy-in. He got it to the final table, but he was eliminated for $1.8 million. In 2016, he relocated the tournament to Europe, where it was aimed towards casual gamers.
In recent years, Guy Laliberté hasn’t been extremely active in the poker industry. He was detained in 2019 for cultivating marijuana on his own island for personal use, which he said was his only intention. He was dissatisfied with poker as a whole and with the community he was a part of.