Dutch poker pro Lex Veldhuis doesn’t like Antonio Esfandiari, and he’s not afraid to let everybody know. During an episode of ChicagoJoey’s Poker Life podcast, Veldhuis used the word “worthless” to describe Esfandiari. So what’s at the root of his very strong dislike for ‘The Magician?’
According to Veldhuis, it all began during his first live tournament trip to Vegas. He played next to Esfandiari during one tournament and initially befriended him. However, things went sour when Esfandiari invited Veldhuis to dinner, but told him that his four friends couldn’t come along because he wanted to keep it small. “I’m not going to ditch my friends because you think you’re fucking Antonio, (like) I should be grateful that you’re asking me to dinner,” Veldhuis said.
After several years had passed, another dinner-invitation incident like this came up. This time, Daniel Negreanu and Liv Boeree asked if Lex wanted to eat with them. He said sure, but was disappointed to hear that Esfandiari was doing the reservations. Veldhuis tried to give Esfandiari another chance, but was again met with resistance when he wanted to bring a couple friends that he’d previously made plans with. Antonio’s problem with this was that he wanted to “keep it exclusive.”
Another point that Veldhuis doesn’t like about Esfandiari is that “he has no empathy for the situation people are in if he wants attention.” One example he gives is when Antonio was making fun of Bertrand Grospellier (sitting to his left) and his pants to a player at another table.
It’s rare for poker pros to openly discuss their disdain for fellow players like this – or at least to this extent. So it’ll be interesting to see if Esfandiari has any kind of comeback upon hearing the podcast…assuming it’s not too beneath him of course. Check the rant out below, and it begins at about the 1-minute mark.