Antonio Esfandiari
by Greg Cavouras  

Antonio Esfandiari - Source

Every Poker player has a story leading up to their success, but few are as interesting as Antonio Esfandiari’s. Not yet 30, Esfandiari has come over from Iran, worked as a professional magician, won a World Series of Poker championship bracelet, and earned himself a place in the history books as the youngest player in history to win a million dollar tournament prize.


Antonio Esfandiari was born December 8th, 1978 in Iran. He came to the United States at age 9, at which point Antonio didn’t speak a word of English. A quick learned, he adapted to his new home and completed high school and was advancing to college when he would have a life-changing experience; he saw a magician at a restaurant. Young Antonio was mesmerized and decided to quit school and become a magician himself. After 2 years of 12 hour days practicing, he became a professional magician, a title he holds to this day.


When he came to the States, Esfandiari landed in San Jose, California. As a young man he worked as a magician and a bartender and took up the game of Poker recreationally. At 23, he decided he wanted to have a go at making some money, so he entered his first tournament- a $30 buy-in Hold’em tournament in San Jose. Antonio would win this tournament- it was a sign of things to come.


Antonio is impressive to watch at a Poker table; he is confident and aggressive, and has proven himself quite well. Esfandiari took home the big stack at the 2004 L.A. Poker Classic WPT Event, as well as a WSOP bracelet in $2000 Pot Limit Hold’em at the 2004 WSOP. Along the way he also earned two historic titles: Youngest player to win a million dollar tournament, and youngest player to win a televised WPT event. Smart money has him adding to this list before his career is over…


While Antonio has taken great strides forward as a Poker player, perhaps his most impressive improvement in the past few years has been maturing as a player. Esfandiari had built up a reputation as an immature whiny tilter, but he has worked hard to erase this; he is now seen as a professional Poker player in all regards. In he offers that as advice to young players, suggesting the keys to success are discipline and focus.


Aside from his card playing prowess, Antonio continues to dazzle crowds with his impressive feats of magic. Esfandiari currently resides in San Jose, and aspires one day to own a successful restaurant. He recently signed on to promote Ultimate-Bet with a team of other professionals. Antonio Esfandiari is one of Poker’s rising stars, and he is sure to claim his share of titles before he is done with the game of Poker.

Antonio Esfandiari's Official Site

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