Has Antonio Esfandiari Gone Broke?
Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari (born Amir Esfandiari) is an American-Persian former magician known best on the poker scene for his big wins and elaborate chip and card tricks. Born in Tehran, Iran (a country where the ownership of playing cards is a legal offence) Antonio’s family moved to San Jose California when he was aged nine. He has been playing poker since his early twenties. On the 25th of June 2014, Esfandiari ranked #120 on the Global poker Index, previously ranking as high as #13 in June 2013. Appearing on several poker TV shows including Poker after Dark, I Bet You and Mojo HD, he is also the face of World Poker Tour’s Poker-Made Millionaire. His total live tournament winnings as of the 26th of January 2014 equal $26,219,676. In 2012, after beating forty-seven other players, he made headlines by scoring the largest single tournament win in poker history, totaling $18,346,673.
Outspoken Tournament Guru
“Life is short, so get after it.”
Esfandiari is known for his infectious personality and charming playing style. One of the most charismatic and popular players on the professional Poker circuit, Esfandiari routinely gives talks on the subject of poker, playing strategies and the antics and personalities of his professional players. A relaxed character with an aggressive playing style, Esfandiari admits to sharing a similar viewpoint towards the game as his counterpart Gus Hansen:
“Gus and I have the same style […] we put the pressure on the other guy to make a decision. We push and push and push. With someone like me, I’m either out on the first day of a tournament or I’m at the final table. There is nothing in between.”
Antonio’s favorite hand is 7-9 and he likes to analyse his opponents carefully, flushing out select weaknesses through the use of spontaneous, high raises.
Antonio Esfandiari’s Top Five Tournament Cashes
– 1st place for $184,860 at the 2004 WSOP $2,000 Pot-Limit Hold’em
– 5th place for $63,020 at the 2005 WSOP $2,500 Short Handed No-Limit Hold’em
– 1st place for $18,346,673 at the 2012 WSOP $1,000,000 The Big One for One Drop
– 1st place for $164,656 at the 2012 WSOPE €1,100 No-Limit Hold’em
– 3rd place for $131,613 at the 2012 WSOP £3,000 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout
Esfandiari holds the title for the single largest win in Poker history and continues to do exceptionally well on the World Series of Poker and World Series of Poker Europe Circuits. Only entering the professional Poker scene in 2003, he is one of the game’s fastest rising stars and has earned a fierce reputation for a fast play style that thrives on competition with the aggressive tendencies of other fast-playing professionals such as Gus Hansen and Phil Laak.
Formally endorsing the poker sites Ultimate Bet and Victory Poker, he is a firm asset to the circuit and to new players and start-ups alike. He is also, as of very recently, the new brand ambassador of Nevada’s Ultimate Poker. Tom Breitling, Ultimate Poker chairman, spoke recently on the subject of acquiring Esfandiari’s support:
“Antonio is the ultimate champion and modern poker player. He brings the gaming lifestyle to the online arena with his work hard, play hard attitude.”
Esfandiari currently ranks second in the All Time Money List, formerly ranking first only six months ago.
So is Antonio Esfandiari broke?
Unlikely. Esfandiari isn’t just successful; he’s also young compared to his experienced counterparts. He has plenty of time to revise his strategies, as he will need to, owed largely to the surge of new poker talent that has arrived, along with their echoing attitude to his own play style. For Esfandiari the challenge will be adjusting his play strategies to compete with those who have learned directly from observing him closely as he goes to work at the table. With a proven play style that rivals that of his experienced competitors, the future looks bright for Antonio Esfandiari.
In terms of his financial standing, it’s hard to say whether or not Esfandiari is in for trouble later on down the line. If the way things are going for him at the moment are anything to go by, he currently stands in one of the strongest positions in professional poker. Although the nature of the game is ‘to never say never’, Esfandiari looks like he’s a long way from throwing in the towel. His World Poker Tour Titles from 2004 and 2010 saw him walk away with $1,399,135 and $870,124 in the $10,000 L.A. Poker Classic and $10,000 Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic tours respectively.
With such a solid resume and string of heavyweight accolades, it’s unlikely that Antonio Esfandiari is likely to encounter bankruptcy any time soon.
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