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I met Amir when I first began
playing tournaments. He was a Southern California tournament professional, so I often ran into him. When I first started playing in
the Omaha tournaments, I had an incredible run. I made it to the final table my first two times, and down to two tables in another.
Amir started calling me "The Queen of Omaha." He then shortened my name to "Queen". I responded by giving him
the name "King".
The King was ranked the number one No Limit Holdem player in 2003, but it is actually his personality that makes him stand
out as a poker player to me. He was funny, charming, and personable. It was always a pleasure having him at my table. If he
happens to take my chips, I am at least laughing when he does it.
Amir spent a good deal of time poker tutoring actor Ben Affleck. Of course, I found that interesting. At the time, Ben had a
huge interest in poker, and lessons from Amir happened to be his birthday present. Amir got to fly out on a private plane to
give Ben his first lesson. He continued tutoring for awhile until
Annie Duke took over. In June 2004, Affleck won the $10,000
California State Poker Championship No Limit Hold'em tournament at the Commerce Casino, with its $356,000 first prize.
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When I asked Amir about his tournament success, he told me that he knows that he is not the best No Limit player in the world,
he knows that he is not the best Omaha player in the world, but he also knows that he is a great tournament player and that is
what separates him at the table. He said that he doesn't play to survive, but he plays to win. He doesn't want sixteenth or
thirteenth place, he wants first. Sometimes he gets knocked out early by having that mentality, but when it pays, it PAYS!!
During one of his interviews at the World Series, he stated, "I am not afraid to put my money out there and sometimes you
just need to let these players know who is the boss. You wanna mess with me, it's going to cost you. Sometimes you have to be
willing to die in order to live in these tournaments. That is basically it."
At the 2003
World Series of Poker Championship Event, Amir looked like he had a legitimate shot at winning. He ended up finishing in
sixth place and some people think it was because he fell apart at the end. I don't necessarily agree. Knowing Amir and his
playing style, the move he made toward the end of the tournament is the kind of play that works for him. He said that he
still thinks he made the right decision. He put Sammy on a weak hand. If Sammy hadn't had the Ace, the move would have
worked. Amir would have been in a great position to win the whole thing.
His unpredictable style made it very difficult for players to read him easily. The bottom line is, he got results... sixth
place in the main event at the World Series of Poker after winning his first World Series of Poker Bracelets in the $1500
buy-in event where he beat out 531 opponents.
He was No Limit Texas Hold'em Player of the Year in 2001. He finished in second place in the 2003 tournament player of the
year race, a few points behind Men the Master Nguyen. Unfortunately
for Amir the year wasn't a few days longer... since he won the Limit Holdem event at Hollywood Park on January 3, 2004.
Amir passed away in January 2010. I will miss him.