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first impressed me with his play at the Lucky Chances World
Poker Tour event in 2002 where he finished third. I have stated many times how I get a kick out of someone getting the best of
Phil Hellmuth and Antonio did the job at this event.
He continually took the initiative and made Phil react to him. I was disappointed Antonio only finished third because he was the star of the show.
I first met Antonio at a Christmas party at Paul Phillips house. I told him about my website and asked if he would be willing to provide information
for his profile. He told me he would help me out, but years later, I am still waiting. I always like to ask a player one specific question where the
only answer would be on my website. One of these days, he might answer one.
Antonio was born in Tehran and moved to the United States when he was nine. After high school, he went to college for about a year until he saw a
bartender from a restaurant do a magic trick. He went to a magic store the following day, bought the trick, and went home and practiced. He
practiced magic twelve hours a day for two years. By the time he was nineteen, he was a professional magician. He would perform his magic in the
restaurant where he worked and would give his business card out to the customers. This led to having a large clientele and he started doing his
magic at private parties. After about a year of performing magic, he stepped foot into a casino for the first time.
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He took his ups and downs as most players do and learned some valuable lessons along the way. On one of the World Poker Tour episodes, he stated
he has a good ability to read people. This skill can take a person far in the poker world.
Antonio results include a third
place finish at the WPT Lucky Chances in 2002. In 2004, Esfandiari captured first place at the
Commerce Casino L.A. Poker Classic World Poker
Tour event and won over a million dollars. The very next day he came back to finish sixth at the World Poker Tour Invitational, where his friend
Phil Unabomber Laak finished first.
Esfandiari has appeared on numerous poker television shows including Poker Superstars, Poker Royale: Battle of the Sexes, Poker After Dark,
NBC's National Heads-Up Poker Championship, and High Stakes Poker.
Antonio is a spokesperson for WPT Online. He has a blog on AlwaysBluff.com.
Also check out this interview with Antonio Esfandiari.