Antonio Esfandiari

Antonio Esfandiari
Nationality: United States
Nickname: The Magician
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Antonio Esfandiari is an American professional poker player of Iranian origin. He is best known for winning three WSOP bracelets and two WPT titles. He is also famous for winning the biggest cash prize in poker history of more than $18 million which he collected at The Big One for One Drop event at the 2012 WSOP.


Antonio Esfandiari made his biggest poker achievement in the summer of 2012 when he outplayed the field of 48 players consisting of recognized poker professionals and wealthy businessmen in the $1 million buy-in The Big One for One Drop event. The tournament benefited the One Drop Foundation established by the Canadian entrepreneur Guy Laliberte who himself finished the tournament in fifth place. Esfandiari collected the record-breaking $18,346,673 for his win which was the biggest cash prize in poker history.


Amir Esfandiari was born in 1978 in the Iranian capital Teheran. His family moved to California when Amir was nine years old. When he was 19 years old Amir changed his name to Antonio. In the poker world Esfandiari is commonly referred to as “The Magician”, the nickname he received for his skills and knowledge of magic tricks. Actually, before he started playing poker Esfandiari was pursuing a career as a professional magician. He is famous for occasionally performing his magic tricks at the poker tables.

World Series of Poker

Esfandiari has three World Series of Poker bracelets in his collection. He won his first title in 2004 by taking down the $2,000 Pot-Limit Hold'em event for $184,860. Although he continued scoring money finishes in WSOP events throughout the years, it wasn't until 2012 that Esfandiari once again made it all the way to the top. And what a summer it was for Esfandiari. He cashed in 6 WSOP events making two final tables and wining the biggest poker event in history, The Big One for One Drop.

Antonio Esfandiari's Top 6 WSOP Results

2004$2,000 Pot-Limit Hold'em1st$184,860
2012$1,000,000 The Big One for One Drop1st$18,346,673
2012WSOPE €1,100 No-Limit Hold'em1st€126,207 ($164,656)
2012$3,000 No-Limit Hold'em Shootout3rd$151,613
2003$2,000 No-Limit Hold'em5th$34,060
2005$2,500 Short Handed No-Limit Hold'em5th$63,020

World Poker Tour

Esfandiari has a good WPT record as well. He won two World Poker Tour titles in 2004 and 2010, made five final tables and has the record of nine money finishes. Esfandiari made his first WPT final table in 2002 when he finished third at the Third Annual 49'er Gold Rush Bonanza $3,000 Main Event for $44,000. Two year later he won his first WPT event for almost $1.4 million at the L.A. Poker Classic. Then six years later he scored the second one at the Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic $10,000 Championship taking home $870,000.

Antonio Esfandiari's Top 5 WPT Results

2004L.A. Poker Classic $9,900 Championship1st$1,399,135
2010Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic $10,000 Championship1st$870,124
200249'er Gold Rush Bonanza $3,000 Main Event3rd$44,000
2011Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic $10,000 Championship6th$119,418
2005Bay 101 Shooting Stars $9,750 Championship14th$40,000

European Poker Tour

Esfandiari scored his first and only European Poker Tour money finish in 2008 when he final tabled the EPT Grand Final Main Event in Monte Carlo and took home €168,000 for the eighth place finish.

Other Achievements

Apart from his WSOP and WPT titles Esfandiari has a couple of other big finishes as well. In March 2005 he came in third at the National Heads-Up Poker Championship in Las Vegas collecting $125,000 in cash. Just two months later he scored another third place at the WSOP Circuit Championship Event in Harrah's New Orleans Bayou Poker Challenge for $221,445. In 2006 Esfandiari played the exclusive Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament Season 3 Grand Final and finished in second place for $120,000.

Did you know?

  • Esfandiari's father did not approve of his son's choice to become a professional poker player at first, but eventually came in terms with it and is now Antonio's biggest fan.
  • In 2012 Esfandiari released an app called The Magician's Secrets for Winning Tournaments on Insta Poker mobile poker application.

PokerNews Covered Events

Event Place Prize
2014 World Series of Poker
Event #62: The $1,111 Little One for One Drop
270th $2630
2012 World Series of Poker Europe
Event #2: €1,100 No-Limit Hold'em
1st €126207
2010 World Series of Poker
Event #47: $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em
73rd $4504
2010 World Series of Poker
Event #35: $10,000 Heads Up No-Limit Hold'em Championship
30th $17987
2010 World Series of Poker
Event #17: $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em
12th $49024

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