Antonio EsfandiariToday Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari is an up and coming name on the professional poker circuit, and is known for his skill and success at Texas Hold ‘Em. Antonio Esfandiari was born Amir Esfandiari in Tehran, Iran in 1978. At the age of 9, the family moved from his birthplace in Iran to San Jose, California, and there he was raised by his father and grandparents as his mother returned to Iran. In response to childhood teasing and bullying, Amir changed his name to Anthony, and later, for professional reasons, to Antonio. Antonio was an excellent student until a falling out with his father in his late teens, after which time he lived on his own and supported himself as he finished school.
Location: Las Vegas, NV, United States
Total Winnings: $25,524,731 (Includes all tournament winnings)
First Place Finishes: 6
WSOP Bracelets: 3
ProRank 1 Position: 62 [ DETAILS ]
Started Playing Poker: At age 20
Favorite Poker Game: Texas Hold ‘Em
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Today Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari is an up and coming name on the professional poker circuit, and is known for his skill and success at Texas Hold ‘Em. Antonio Esfandiari was born Amir Esfandiari in Tehran, Iran in 1978. At the age of 9, the family moved from his birthplace in Iran to San Jose, California, and there he was raised by his father and grandparents as his mother returned to Iran. In response to childhood teasing and bullying, Amir changed his name to Anthony, and later, for professional reasons, to Antonio. Antonio was an excellent student until a falling out with his father in his late teens, after which time he lived on his own and supported himself as he finished school.
As a teen, while working as a waiter, Antonio saw a bartender perform a magic trick and developed a keen interest. He went to the local magic shop, bought supplies, and started teaching himself magic. He spent two years practicing magic twelve hours a day, and by twenty he was working as a professional magician. Over time he developed a private clientele through the restaurant he worked for, and was considered a skilled magician.
At 20, Antonio Esfandiari had played a little poker, specifically $2/4 and $3/6 Hold ‘Em, but had not played in a tournament until he accompanied a roommate to a poker tournament at the Garden City Club in San Jose. He won that tournament, and spent some time thereafter researching and reading to improve his playing strategies and skills. By 22, the economy, and hence Esfandiari’s magic business, was declining, and poker was proving more and more financially beneficial for Antonio. At this point, Esfandiari quit magic and his day job waiting tables to play poker professionally.
Antonio is the youngest professional poker player to ever win a World Poker Tour Championship, which he won in 2004. He also took home 1.4 million dollars from the L.A. Poker Classic. He has also won a bracelet in the 2004 World Series of Poker No Limit Hold ‘Em $2000 Tournament. In 2005, he placed 6th at the World Poker Tour Invitational and went on to the World Series of Poker Tournament, placing 5th at the World Series of Poker 2005 $2500 shorthanded No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em event, winning $63,000.
Antonio Esfandiari’s new book, “World Poker Tour: In the Money” provides the everyday poker player with insights and strategies for playing non tournament poker. Cash games, a non tournament version of Texas Hold ‘Em, is popular in many casinos, as a home game and more. With Esfandiari's book, released in March of 2006, any player can improve his or her game.
Today, Antonio is expanding his poker empire. He has signed a deal with an online casino, written a book, worked on a video game and is even doing product endorsements. Antonio moved to Vegas after winning his bracelet in the World Series of Poker, buying himself a home in the gambling capital. Antonio is known not only for his skill in playing poker, but for his showmanship, based in his magician’s skills, with manipulating cards and chips for the camera.
Antonio is a good player because of his skill and his bravado. He is not afraid to lose, and plays freely with his money. Known for partying, this young player isn’t afraid to have fun with his game or his earnings. He thinks of money in three ways. There’s poker money, simply a tool of the trade. There’s fun money that can be spent lavishly on friends, parties and luxuries. Then there’s justice money that should always be conserved and spent well. Antonio Esfandiari is nearly always surrounded by his “rocks and rings”, the friends from California that party and travel with him. They’re found in the best clubs, at the good tables, speaking their own language and enjoying being young, rich, and heading toward fame.
While Esfandiari is enjoying living the party life right now, he expresses a desire for a wife and family, and would like to some day own a restaurant. He once considered going to culinary school. While some of his winnings have gone to supporting his partying lifestyle, he’s also shared the wealth with family, buying his father a new home.
This handsome and debonair player is more than just a pretty face and sleight of hand at that table. His skills at the poker table are rapidly becoming legendary and his lifestyle reminds us to enjoy each day to the fullest as he gambles with friends for who will get stuck with the bar tab. He plays an excellent game of poker and is one of the most feared and respected players on the professional poker circuit. All the signs point to a long and prosperous career for this young and hip poker pro who has nowhere to go but up as he moves fearlessly through life.
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