The man currently sitting in a third place on the All Time Money List with $26.5 million in tournament winnings added another poker achievement to his impressive resume. Antonio Esfandiari won his first WSOP Circuit ring after claiming the title in the WSOPc Main Event at the renown Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles.
‘The Magician’ paid his $1,650 entry fee together with other 755 hopefuls, all with their eyes set on the coveted ring and almost quarter of a million first place money. Although Esfandiari is the proud owner of three WSOP bracelets, the Circuit ring eluded him thus far, which made the taste of the eventual victory even sweeter.
Antonio Esfandiari wins with grace
Antonio was not the only well known name to take a seat in this tournament. Bryn Kenney, Ludovic Geilich and the 2006 Main Event winner Jamie Gold were all in the mix as well. In fact, Gold held his own throughout the tournament as well and was only stopped by Esfandiari who bested him in the heads-up phase.
The 2012 Big One for One Drop winner admitted in an interview for WSOP.com blog that good cards accompanied him all the way and that he was lucky that his opponents had good enough hands to pay him off when he held a monster. Antonio being Antonio, he did not miss an opportunity to tease his good friend and rival at the tables, Phil ‘Unabomber’ Laak.
Mostly I’d like to thank Phil Laak because he donked off about 90K to me in a spot when he should have lost about 35-40K. So if it weren’t for my dear friend Phil I wouldn’t have had this victory, so I have to thank him for that. (WSOP.com blog)
WSOP Circuit final table
Despite the strong run during two days of play, Esfandiari entered the final day as sixth in chips. Jamie Gold was leading the way with twelve players left and he was well positioned to win the whole thing. However, Antonio was able to claw his way up and by the time the heads up play began, he was holding a 13:1 chip lead over Gold.
Antonio Esfandiari wins his first WSOP Circuit ring
The big lead at the start of heads up play was not a guarantee of victory for ‘The Magician’, as things can always turn around quickly. At the very start of play, it seemed as if Gold could master a comeback when he caught a Seven on the turn as 70% underdog to double up.
However, the momentum would not last long enough for Gold to do much more than that. In the final hand of the event, the two saw the flop of A-2-5 and all the money went in. Gold held Ace-King, but he was behind Antonio’s flopped two pair and failing to improve by the river, the former Main Event champion had to be satisfied with a runner-up finish and prize money of $139,820.
Esfandiari won his very first WSOP circuit ring and added another $226,785 to his already inflated poker bankroll. The funny fact is that Antonio had no plans to play in this event and only decided to enter at the last minute.
My father-in-law is in town, and we came to see him while he was playing, and I decided to play. (WSOP.com blog)