Antonio Esfandiari

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Antonio Esfandiari
Antonio Esfandiari 2007.jpg
Nickname(s) The Magician
Residence San Francisco, California
Born Tehran, Iran (1978-12-08) December 8, 1978 (age 35)
World Series of Poker
Bracelet(s) 3
Final table(s) 10
Money finish(es) 28
Highest ITM
Main Event finish
24th, 2009
World Poker Tour
Title(s) 2
Final table(s) 6
Money finish(es) 12
European Poker Tour
Title(s) None
Final table(s) 1
Money finish(es) 1
Information accurate as of 24 January 2014.

Antonio "The Magician" Esfandiari, born Amir Esfandiari (Persian: امیر اسفندیاری‎; December 8, 1978), is a professional poker player and former professional magician, known for his elaborate chip tricks. Esfandiari is the face of the United States' first legal and regulated online poker site, Ultimate Poker. [1] In addition to appearing on several poker television shows, he has won two World Poker Tour (WPT) championships and three World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets in his career, including the "Big One for One Drop" in 2012, a $1,000,000 buy-in tournament benefiting the One Drop Foundation. By winning the event, along with the largest cash prize in the history of poker at $18,346,673, Esfandiari has been ranked number one for all-time tournament poker winnings, until Daniel Negreanu took this title by finishing 2nd in the "Big One For One Drop 2014". In 2012, he authored The Magician's Secrets for Winning Tournaments on Insta Poker, a poker strategy game available for iOS.[2]

Early life[edit]

Esfandiari was born in Tehran, Iran. When he was nine years old, his family moved to San Jose, California. He graduated from Del Mar High School in 1997.[3]

At the age of 19, he changed his name to Antonio, which was adopted from a desire to be a magician. Antonio the magician sounded more mystical than Amir the magician. He became a professional magician. While he was performing magic, he was invited to a game of Texas Hold 'em and started to play poker. He has a younger brother, Pasha, who also plays poker.[4]

Live poker[edit]

In 2004, he won close to $1.4 million and his first World Poker Tour title at the L.A. Poker Classic. He won his first World Series of Poker bracelet a few months later in pot-limit Texas Hold 'em.

Esfandiari appeared in the second and third seasons of the Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament. After finishing last the previous year, Antonio was able to redeem himself with a second place finish the third season. He was also in each season of GSN series High Stakes Poker and each season of NBC's Poker After Dark.

On April 17, 2008, Esfandiari made the final table at the 2008 PokerStars.com EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo finishing in eighth place, winning €168,000 ($266,004). On July 14, 2009, Esfandiari made his deepest finish to date in the World Series of Poker Main Event, finishing 24th on day 8 of the tournament, earning $352,832. In 2010 he won his second World Poker Tour title by winning the WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World for over $870,000. On July 3, 2012, he won the largest buy-in tournament in history, the Big One for One Drop, a $1,000,000 buy-in live event. After beating 47 other players, he earned $18,346,673, the biggest cash prize in poker history. The same year at the 2012 World Series of Poker Europe, Esfandiari won his third bracelet in the €1,100 No Limit Hold'em event, defeating Remi Bollengier heads-up to earn €126,207. In the 2013 World Series of Poker he placed fourth in the One Drop High Roller tournament, the successor to the Big One that he had won a year earlier, and earned $1,433,438.[5]

As of 2014, his total live tournament winnings exceed $26,250,000.[6] Esfandiari has been ranked as high as #14 on the Global Poker Index.[7]

World Series of Poker Bracelets[edit]

Year Tournament Prize (US$/EU€)
2004 $2,000 Pot Limit Hold'em $184,860
2012 $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop $18,346,673
2012E €1,100 No Limit Hold'em €126,207

An "E" following a year denotes bracelet(s) won at the World Series of Poker Europe

World Poker Tour Titles
Year Tournament Prize (US$)
2004 $10,000 L.A. Poker Classic $1,399,135
2010 $10,000 Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic $870,124

Other television appearances[edit]

Esfandiari co-starred in the TV show I Bet You, on MOJO HD, with Phil Laak. He is the face of World Poker Tour's Poker-Made Millionaire. He was also seen in the season 7 opener of Entourage. Recently Esfandiari appeared as an undercover officer in the movie Freelancers starring Robert De Niro and Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson.[8] In January 2014, Antonio Esfandiari began shooting a web reality series with Ultimate Poker: Strip Magic. The series features Esfandiari performing street magic on the Las Vegas strips along with exclusive interviews. [9] In March of 2014, the season one debuted on Youtube.com/UltimatePoker. [10]

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