Posts Tagged ‘Antonio Esfandiari’

Antonio Esfandiari pees at Table – Disqualified from PCA Main Event

Monday, January 11th, 2016

antonio-esfandiari-lunge-prop-betAntonio Esfandiari has had a storied poker career that’s seen him rack up $26.5 million in tournament winnings. However, the 2016 PCA Main Event certainly won’t add to his storied career since he was disqualified for peeing at the table.

“The Magician” peed in a bottle under the table, which drew the ire of the tournament staff. PCA officials quickly gave Esfandiari the boot for a “breach of etiquette.”

Afterward, Antonio was totally understanding of their decision when discussing the situation with PokerNews’ Sarah Herring. And he says that the whole matter stems from a “lunge” prop bet that he made with millionaire hedge-fund manager Bill Perkins.

“I was thinking about what I was going to do to win this bet,” Esfandiari said. “When looking back, I realize that I didn’t look at the bigger picture and I definitely made a mistake…and I don’t want to talk specifically about what I did but my actions were totally out of line. and unacceptable.”

Esfandiari would go on to say that he originally thought his actions (peeing in a bottle) would be humorous, but that’s not the way everybody saw it.

As for the bet, The Magician was required to lunge everywhere he went for 48 hours. After so long, his legs became extremely sore and he was looking for ways to cut down on his walking (lunging) time. This is where the idea to urinate in a bottle came from because he didn’t want to walk to the bathroom.

There’s no word on exactly how much money was on the line in Esandiari’s prop bet with Perkins. But it must have been a significant amount for Esfandiari to decide that it was worth peeing in a bottle at a live poker tournament.

Top Revelations from Antonio Esfandiari’s Reddit AMA Session

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

antonio-esfandiari-magicAntonio Esfandiari is one of those rare poker pros who’s both lived a fascinating life and has experienced massive, long-term success. So it’s little surprise that Esfandiari was a big draw when he recently did a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session. Some of the most-interesting revelations to come from this….a lost prop bet to Don Cheadle, being cheated in a mafia poker game, Esfandiari’s take on a poker shot clock and his poor record in online poker. That said, let’s look at some intriguing answers that Esfandiari offered.

Q: What is your biggest loss in poker? Financially or, you know, body parts etc.

Antonio: Don Cheadle and I played a heads up match where if I lost, I had to do a full blown magic show at his house in a top hat for him and his guests. If I won, he had to come over and cook for me and up to 25 of my guests in a chef’s apron. Of course I lost, and now I owe him a magic show.

Q: That final table seemed very tight. Will we see a shift or is that style inherently what gets you to the final table?

Antonio: The best fix is a shot clock much like they had in the Super High Roller Bowl. My stance is to ban anything that hides you. All for it. The Super High Roller Bowl banned hoodies and sunglasses as well.
It’s been proven time and time again that aggressive poker is the way to go. I don’t expect to see people tighten up.

Q: Was there any stage in your life when you honed your game by grinding online? If not, why not?

Antonio: No, I was an online fish. Online was just never my thing. I don’t like playing when I can’t see my opponents.

Q: I guess high stakes home games can be a bit risky and dangerous sometimes if you’re in touch with some wrong people. What is your worst home game experience?

Antonio: I got cheated once in a mafia game. I paid my loss, never said a word, and never went back.

Check out the rest of Antonio Esfandiari’s AMA session here.

Poker Central announces 2 New Shows: Pokerography and Inside Poker

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

poker-central-networkIf you’ve been starved for quality poker programming, then you’ll be pleased to know that Poker Central has announced two new shows that they’re working on.

The first is “Pokerography,” which will provide an in-depth view of some of the best poker pros ever to play the game. Some of the players who’ll be profiled include Antonio Esfandiari, Chris Moneymaker, Erik Seidel, Michael Mizrachi, Phil Hellmuth and Vanessa Selbst. According to TV Media Insights, the tagline for Pokerogrpahy is as follows:

“Each episode will explore the individual behind the legend in their own words. Interviews with family, friends, professional rivals, and expert poker-analysts dig deeper into their legacies.”

Another show, which will debut some time early in 2016, is called “Inside Poker.” Matt Savage will host this TV show and dive into some of the hottest topics in the poker world. In addition to discussing current news, Inside Poker will also dispense tips from pros and provide coverage of the top card rooms in the U.S.

Poker Central, which launches on October 1st, is set to be the first 24-hour poker television network in history. Up until now, few specifics have been given on what exactly Poker Central will offer, beyond coverage of the $500k Aria Super High Roller Bowl. So it’s nice to finally get a glimpse of what kind of shows will be offered once the network is up and running.

It’s been quite a while since any good poker TV shows have run in primetime spots. Poker Central will finally give players and fans of the game the opportunity to see some good shows any time they want – rather than watching 2009 episodes of High Stakes Poker through YouTube.

Popular Jason Somerville gone from Ultimate Poker

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

Over the past year, Ultimate Poker has been busy slashing their roster of pro players. Once boasting over a dozen signed pros, Team U now has only a handful of players representing them. And you can count one less because Jason Somerville is rumored to be out at Ultimate Poker (UP).

This is quite strange, given that Somerville is one of the more popular poker pros in the game today. Furthermore, he just launched a webseries called “RunItUp,” which was supposed to be exclusive to UP. However, one sign that Somerville is done at the site includes the fact that he’s been uploading RunItUp episodes to his own channel as well.

As F5Poker reports, the main reason why Somerville could be done is because UP doesn’t have the money to keep sponsoring him. They just pulled out of the New Jersey market after their partner, Trump Taj Mahal, announced a tentative closing date of November 13th. Upon announcing their exit from New Jersey, UP’s parent company, Ultimate Gaming, also said that Taj Mahal still owes them $1.5 million in revenue payments – money they might never see.

Things haven’t exactly been booming in Nevada either. According to PokerScout, UP averages 60 cash game players an hour in Nevada, which trails market-leader WSOP.com and their 100 players an hour. UP’s cash game traffic has remained relatively stagnant over the past year, thus indicating little growth in the Silver State.

Seeing as how the poker room doesn’t seem to be gaining much ground, it’s a wonder if their remaining pros will be around in another year. Antonio Esfandiari, Danielle Andersen and Dan O’Brien are still sponsored by the Nevada-based company. But these three can’t be cheap – especially Esfandiari – and UP continues to struggle in an American online poker market that hasn’t quite taken off yet.

Antonio Esfandiari: Broke, Starving in Airport after buying out of No Sex Bet

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

These days, it seems like Antonio Esfandiari just can’t stay out of the poker news. Whether he’s doing his Strip Magic show for Ultimate Poker or entering into a no sex prop bet with Bill Perkins, Esfandiari is all across the headlines.

Speaking of the latter, “The Magician” recently gave some intimate details on the no sex prop bet. As he told PokerStategy, the Big One for One Drop winner has already bought out of the $500k wager. Esfandiari made the bet when he was drunk, but decided against it after doing some deep thinking. Here’s an excerpt on what he said:

I wasn’t even worried about it. Then the next couple days I spent doing a little bit of research and calling my other friends who I know had done it, and I realised that, as much as I thought I could do it, it was something that I didn’t want to do. As a man, what is my purpose of being here? To put one of those things, one of the most important things, on the shelf for a year was going to be really tough.

Esfandiari never said how much he paid to get out of the bet. But it must have been quite a bit since he recently found himself at the Las Vegas airport, broke and starving. Below you can see what the famed poker pro tweeted on the matter:

I kid u not I found myself at LV airport right now w ZERO cash and no CC – and starving – what did I do ?!? Walked around until I found a…Poker fan n asked him to borrow 30$ He could not believe it !! Now I get to eat and he will be paid back in spades TY

We imagine that this was all really just an oversight on Esfandiari’s part, or he just wanted something challenging to do like seeing if somebody would give him food money. After all, he’s less than two years removed from his $18.35 million payday for winning the One Drop tourney. And we can’t imagine the less-than-$500k payout that he gave Perkins would leave him begging at airports for food. But it’s still kind of a funny coincidence.

Phil Hellmuth gives away 11 of his WSOP Bracelets

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

In a day and age where WSOP champs are pawning their gold bracelets off or donating them to charity (Peter Eastgate), Phil Hellmuth is an exception to the norm. The Poker Brat recently tweeted about giving away 11 out of his record 13 WSOP bracelets, as you can see below:

PIC: bye bye WSOP Bracelet #13. Gave #WSOPBracelet13 to my best friend @Chamath. Gave 10 to family, 1 to bestie

WSOP Bracelets: 1 & 12 me, 2 wifey, 3 4 mom dad, 5 sister Ann, 6 bro/law John, 7 8 sons Phillip Nick, 9 10 11 bro Dave sis’s Kerry Molly

I don’t really know a whole lot about Hellmuth’s “sister Ann” or “bro/law John,” so we’ll just skip over that. But one interesting mention in the tweets is Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook VP and current Golden State Warriors co-owner.

I’m not sure that anybody really knew who Hellmuth’s best friend was. After all, he doesn’t exactly pal around with anybody like Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Laak do. However, maybe Palihapitiya being his bestie explains why Hellmuth, a Wisconsin native, loves Golden State so much.

While the Poker Brat’s bracelet giveaway may warm some people’s hearts, Brad Booth definitely isn’t one of them. Still bitter over being a UB superuser victim, and angry over Hellmuth’s part ownership of the company, Booth tweeted the following:

@phil_hellmuth if only the respectable @chamath found out about your inner BullShit at UltimateBet he would never except it – U R A POS PH

Since being taken for $2 million through Russ Hamilton’s UB superuser scam, Booth has continued his downward spiral, owing others tons of money in the process. And one guy that he’s continually blamed in all of this is Hellmuth because the poker legend owned part of UB’s parent company.

Antonio Esfandiari wows Vegas crowd with his Magic Skills

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

They don’t call him the “Magician” for nothing! Famed poker pro Antonio Esfandiari, who used to be a professional magician, recently did some street magic for a Las Vegas crowd. As you can see in the clip below, he does the classics to perfection by putting a cigarette through a quarter and guessing which card a woman has on her mind.

Another interesting part of the clip is where Esfandiari explains how he got into magic in the first place. “I remember the first time I saw magic I was completely hypnotized by it,” he said. “I was sitting at the counter of this restaurant Left in Albuquerque in the Bay Area, I was a kid, 17 years old. Then the bartender said, ‘What’s your favorite card. He pulled out a deck of cards and I named a card – all of the sudden he pulled out the deck and the only card face-up was the card that I picked.”

After this, Esfandiari set out to learn how to do these tricks himself and bewilder audiences just as had been done to him. He went to a magic shop and the owner helped him get started on the quest to becoming a magician.

Over the years, Esfandiari has created plenty of magic on the poker tables too. He’s the all-time leader in live tournament winnings with $26,219,676. Esfandiari managed to gain some mainstream fame when he took down the 2012 Big One for One Drop, which paid out a record $18,346,673 prize.

He’s continued his success in high rollers by placing fourth in the $111k One Drop ($1,433,438) and fourth in the 2014 PCA $100k Super High Roller ($575,920). It’ll definitely be interesting to see how he does in the 2014 Big One when it comes back at this year’s WSOP after a one-year absence.

Joe Hachem thinks “Poker is Dying” – Is He Right?

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Earlier this week, 2005 WSOP Main Event champ Joe Hachem discussed the current state of poker during the Aussie Millions. And what he had to say about poker wasn’t exactly glowing.

After reflecting on past WSOP Main Event winners, which included ripping on Jamie Gold and Jerry Yang for ruining the champions’ legacy, he expressed his opinion that “poker is dying.” The reason why he believes this? Because Hachem thinks that the game is no longer fun for amateurs, with “young geniuses” bumhunting all of the fish and not offering up any interesting conversation.

The Aussie also mentioned how there are less Antonio Esfandiari’s out there, or rather guys whom the fish love to play with, even when they’re losing money. He added that watching poker on television is “like watching paint dry” because of the lack of personalities today. Furthermore, poker TV shows no longer focus on a pro’s style, personality or what they’re like away from the table. He closed by saying that some of the young ME champs like Ryan Riess and Greg Merson need to think about all of this since they’re ambassadors to the game.

So is Hachem right about everything that he said? You can’t argue with the point that poker is full of bumhunters these days, who play seek and destroy with the fish. The game also features less dynamic grinders who make poker more enjoyable to watch on TV.

But on the other hand, nothing Hachem said is an original idea. He’s just another person to jump on the fact that poker has transitioned into a more strategy-focused, mathematical game, where you either pour hours into becoming great, or you lose your bankroll and dignity.

As for if poker is dying, well, global online numbers suggest that plenty of people are still interested in playing. And this should continue as new markets open up across the world. But the live realm is still a big part of poker, and if famous pros don’t start developing some personality and social skills at the table, it will eventually hamper online poker too.

Royal Poker Tournament claims Winner will earn $50m

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Think Antonio Esfandiari’s $18.3 million prize in the 2012 WSOP Big One for One Drop was huge? Then perhaps you haven’t heard about the proposed $1 million buy-in Royal Poker Challenge, which is set to pay $50 million to the winner.

Okay, so if you’re having a hard time believing this one, you aren’t alone. After all, the largest poker prize before Esfandiari’s huge score was the $12 million that Jamie Gold collected in the 2012 WSOP Main Event. But according to this press release, Royal Poker Challenge is very serious about the matter.

48 players have allegedly signed up for this tournament, which will be held in Sydney, Australia on March 30th. And members of the British, Danish and Monaco royal families are supposed to participate in the festivities too. Their role will be to serve as ambassadors for the game and, if they win money, donate the cash to charity.

Dave Chen, director of the Royal Challenge, spoke about this upcoming event by saying, “Poker is a true game that cuts across all class and income barriers. It tests skills, nerves and courage in a way that’s incomparable to other card games. There is no higher drama and examination of character and personality than a high stakes poker game. With the splashing 50 million dollar prize, in the remarkable city of Sydney, this should be an historical event indeed.”

This all sounds great and everything, but there’s just one problem: no names have been released on who’s playing. As if this tournament isn’t already shrouded in enough mystery, we don’t even get a glimpse at the participants. And if the press release is correct, we may never know the “high profile Hollywood celebrities” and “wealthy and successful individuals” who front the $1 million buy-in.

As the PR states, “All participants value privacy, so Mr. Chen is primarily focused on providing a secure and private environment for this unique tournament.” Well, so much for finding out who the winner is and if they indeed get $50 million.

2014 WSOP ‘Big One’ could crown Poker’s Biggest Winner

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

Announcements regarding the 2014 WSOP schedule have been made, and a couple of very popular tournaments are returning. Both the $1,500 Millionaire Maker and $1 million Big One for One Drop will be back at the Rio for next year’s WSOP.

The Big One is definitely the headliner here because last time it set some very notable records. The first included the largest poker tournament buy-in in history since hopefuls had to fork over $1 million to play. Despite the lofty buy-in, 48 players turned out for this event and competed for a $42,666,672 prize pool.

Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari catapulted himself into poker lore by winning the Big One along with a $18,346,673 payout. This giant fortune remains the biggest prize in poker history and is expected to stand until, oh, at least the summer of 2014. That’s because the 2014 WSOP Big One will be capped at 56 players. This means that the top prize should be worth around $20 million, which would eclipse Esfandiari’s current record payout.

Expanding on the Millionaire Maker, this $1,500 buy-in event debuted at the 2013 WSOP. It featured a guaranteed $1 million first-place prize and the amount actually exceeded this when 6,343 players bought into the tournament. Benny Chen was the big winner here as he topped the large field and collected $1,199,104.

As for the rest of the 2014 WSOP, exact details on the tournaments still have yet to be released. However, word is that over 60 bracelet events will be offered. Tournaments will run for 49 consecutive days, and those who can’t afford buy-ins can participate in satellites that’ll be running at the Rio.

The World Series of Poker is set for another exciting chapter in its soon-to-be 45th year of existence. It’ll certainly be fun to see the new stars and big winners who emerge during the 2014 WSOP.