Antonio Esfandiari Tournament Winnings

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Jeffrey | Poker Strategy

Antonio Esfandiari is a successful professional poker player, born September 8, 1978 in Tehran, Iran. There aren’t a lot of poker players from Iran of course, but when Antonio was 9, his family moved to San Jose, California, where poker is a whole lot more popular.

So he grew up primarily under the influence of American culture, although poker wasn’t his first love. At the age of 19 he decided to become a magician, and changed his name from Amir to Antonio, feeling that Amir the Magician didn’t quite have the proper ring to it.

Antonio worked hard on becoming not only a professional magician but a good one, and he is particularly known for his strong work ethic and a very strong desire to succeed. Working as a waiter by day to pay the bills, he also performed magic shows on the street and took in some good extra money from this, and then found he was making more money doing the magic than at the job.

He ended up rooming with a professional poker player, who introduced Antonio to the game of Texas Holdem and taught him how to play the game from a professional’s perspective. Before too long, he entered a small buy in tournament, and in spite of having little experience, he won. He was hooked.

He later met famous poker player Phil Laak at the poker table, and Laak became pretty impressed with Esfandiari’s skills, and the two became good friends, even rooming together for a time. So these two became known as the Unibomber and the Magician, from Laak’s hoodie and Esfandiari’s magic prowess.

Esfandiari continued to work on his game, and while very few poker players make it to the upper echelon of the game, names widely recognizable on the poker scene, big poker tournament winners, this was Antonio’s goal.

Many players aspire to greatness, but so few achieve it, but the ones that do tend to be the players that are particularly driven towards it, and Antonio was definitely in this category, those who have so much desire that they just drive themselves to succeeding.

In 2002, he made his first breakthrough, finishing third at a WPT event, where he’s most remembered for his battle with Phil Hellmuth, going toe to toe with the verbal jabs that Hellmuth is so famous for, and more than holding his own.

The 2004 L.A. Poker Classic was his first major tournament win, banking $1.4 million dollars and finally making the big time. A major WPT poker win is a big deal indeed, and he had finally made it by all accounts.

Three months later he added a WSOP bracelet to his resume, further cementing his arrival on the big time professional poker scene. He then moved to Las Vegas full time, where he still resides, and has been a permanent fixture on the big time poker scene ever since.

His biggest and most famous win was in the inaugural One Drop WSOP event, where he won over $18 million of his lifetime $26 million winnings in that one tournament alone. Antonio Esfandiari net worth is over $26 million and he currently sits in the number two position on the all time poker tournament money list, second only to Daniel Negreanu.

Esfandiari is know not only for his magic but his love of a good time, as well as his poker prowess, and still manages to perform his magic act on this side, although these days he does it for the pure love of it. He’s still known as a partier as well, and there’s no half way with Antonio, he goes all in or not at all, but he also has found a way to balance things very nicely and doesn’t overdo anything too much.

Antonio has also written several books, including World Poker Tour: In the Money. He also was the spokesman for Ultimate Poker Nevada, although having his name attached to the site did not prevent the demise of the site.

Antonio represents the successful achievement of the so called American Dream, starting out with nothing and achieving great success in the land of opportunity. He continues to inspire poker players from all over the world and is testimony to what can happen if you just put your mind to it.

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