Mitch Garber first met Guy Laliberté in Las Vegas in 2010. That’s where Garber spends part of his time running Caesars Interactive Entertainment and Laliberté, a former street performer who went on to co-found Cirque du Soleil, plays high-stakes poker. The kind where hundreds of thousands of dollars can ride on one hand. He once finished fourth in the World Poker tournament.
The following year, Laliberté invited Garber, a fellow Quebecer, to his box at a Montreal Canadiens game and pitched the idea of joining his charity, the One Drop Foundation, promoting global access to safe drinking water. He wanted Garber’s help to arrange a tournament with the biggest buy-in poker history — US$1 million per player.
“Even though it seemed far-fetched to me, because of how he was presenting it, it almost seemed like he could do anything, I believed in it, and I went with it,” Garber recalls.
“I remember being very persuaded by his optimism and the fieriness he had in these ideas.”