Poker Legend Antonio Esfandiari shares his story with us here at RTR

Antonio Esfandiari - The Magician

Hi Antonio,

Thanks for taking the time to sit with us here at

1) Can you tell us about what you have been up to recently? Have you been grinding poker or enjoying the good life, or both?

I’ve been doing the same thing I always do – hang out with my friends – more with my family than anything else now a days (holidays) traveling a bit / havent been going out as much as I usually do. I’ve been playing a bit more poker than usual and logging some hours on Victory. I’ve been eating really healthy and been spending a lot of time at the gym, something to balance the booze 😉

2) You often seem to be having the time of your life and even slightly in disbelief that these things are really happening. Even after being a successful player for many years and now being one of poker’s most recognisable faces do you still get excited by all that the poker lifestyle offers?

Absolutely. Not a day goes by where I dont think to myself…. man you are one lucky son of a bitch. Simply because it is TRUE. It’s a rough world out there…I’vee been able to do what I love to do on my own schedule, travel the world, take care of my family and party with the best of them – how could I top that?!

3) What has been your secret for staying successful at the high stakes games? Do you have any key rules that you always follow when you play? Do you still work on your game away from the table or it is mostly running like clockwork for you now?

When it’s game time I really focus – no going out, no drinking, super healthy Antonio – I should practice more, but I don’t. Thats not my strong suit. Mostly clockwork now.

4) What advice could you offer to other young players looking to improve their games and move up stakes?

Sometimes you have to believe they DO have a hand! These young players never give anyone any credit.

5) Will we see you on the next season of High Stakes Poker? Can we expect to see you involved in some exciting hands? On that note, do you approach games like that in a different way than a regular casino cash game?

I will be playing on High Stakes Poker. I cannot guess as to how I’m going to play and what kind of hands I’m going to get involved in simply because I dont know the table lineup and my seat position yet.

6) What does your normal day-to-day schedule include? Do you play poker every day?

Wake up around 9 30 and make myself an oatmeal and a protein shake followed by a one hour workout. Then lunch or depends what else needs to get done….sometimes errands…usually about an hour a day on emails…then either poker or hang out with the homies…and most always dinner – either I cook (yes I cook a lot more than you would think!) or out to dinner.

7) What do you like to do when not playing poker? Do you have any other interests or hobbies?

Not really…don’t watch much tv either… Unless its MAD MEN, the best show on the planet.

8) Do you ever feel competitive against the other Victory pro’s when they are winning big online or live?

No…we are all out there trying to make a buck. I’m a much better live player than an online player.

9) Now that your good friend Phil Laak has set a world record (longest live session without sleep) don’t you think it’s time you stepped up and secure a world record of your own too? (lol ;)) What discipline do you think you could hold a record in?

After 3 seasons of I BET YOU with Phil Laak I learned that no one has more heart than Phil Laak. I wouldn’t dare go against him in anything because he would just come back and make it his life mission to beat it again. He is truly something else…. he and John Tabatabai had a stand off in an elevator in my condo tower – they both said "after you" when the door opened (it’s a persian thing to be the last one out of the elevator). John was thinking "oh ok I can nail phil here he will eventually quit me" but he had another thing coming. The second I learned of this I offered everyone around me FIVE to ONE that John would walk out first. FIVE TO ONE. no one took the bet….and after 4 hours the police showed up and made them get out. Hilarious ; )

10) Can you tell us about the general lifestyle of living in Las Vegas? Is it all fast cars and fast women?

It can be…it certainly was in my twenties – so sad to say im almost 32. Ouch! I’ve slowed down a lot last couple of years but for a while there I was an animal… I have to start thinking about whats really important in life.. BABIES!!!

11) Can you share with us a what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas story that you really shouldn’t?

Lol ! Good question. Oh man… I wish I could tell all…I WISH…so much to tell. One night we all went out, about 7 of us and met a bunch of women (we always come back to my condo for afterparty). We bring a load of hotties back to my condo and what occured for the next 5 hours was the craziest thing I’ve ever witnessed. EVER. I can’t really get into much detail … lets just say that when EVERYONE is having fun, craziness takes place. I wish I could give details because not even your imagination could figure this one out. I will give you some insight – when women come to Las Vegas with their girlfriends they become different people. They leave their boyfriends and problems at home and come here to get wild and they do just that. You want some sad truth ?! Here it is…I’ve NEVER met a girl that said ‘I can’t, I have a boyfriend’ – if theres one thing I can pass on is that women are WORSE than men. Their just better at hiding it…trust me guys, dont underestimate the scandalousness in women. Your girl is no angel. They are good at making us think they are, but you get them out of their home environment get them a bit boozed up and you would not believe the things they are willing to do. It’s unreal. We as men have such a bad rep (rightfully so) but women are WORSE. Trust me.

12) We’ve read that you are a big fan of fine wine and fine women and that you throw epic dinner parties… is this true? What is it about your parties that makes everyone want to be invited?

How word spreads….I do love a good bottle of wine and yes as a man I enjoy a beautiful woman. I’d be lying if I said differently and so would every other man on the planet. I see relationships where the couple is simply acting and putting on a front for the other. All you do when you meet someone new is try and make that person think you are this amazing honest monogamous person – which personally I think is a crock of shit. Before I get too carried away on that one… yes I throw dinnner parties at my condo about twice a month. They are loaded with women. No guys are allowed unless you are a close friend of mine and the key to a successful dinner party is the chef (I have the greatest chef), a bartender, and MOST important is RATIO of women to men. At my dinner parties I’d say there are usually 15 or so women and about 10 guys. That does fluxuate but that is what I aim for. I also have two big parties a year – halloween and New Year’s Eve. Those are fun!

13) Who do you think is the best player on the Victory team for tournaments and cash?

I really like how Keith Gipson plays live. He’s just good. For Tournaments I think it’s close between Jonathan little and Paul Wasicka.

14) We’ve seen you’ve met a lot of interesting people at the tables, e.g. Nick Casavettes, Jerry Buss and others. What is it like to rub shoulders with the rich and famous? You’ve also managed to get some great opportunities from this too right? E.g. appearing on the hit TV show Entourage

It’s great. At the end of the day they are just normal people. It’s weird because no matter who you are, no matter how much money you have, if you dont have someone to share it with, you have nothing. Life is only worth living if shared.

15) If you were to move on from the poker world now what area would you most like to get involved in? Or, to flip that question… if an actor was to play a biopic of your life, who would you like it to be and why?

I’ve always been interested in restaurants and perphaps the nightclub business and would like very much to one day venture in that way…for now its poker. The guy from The Sopranos would play me.

16) Can you tell us what the best thing is about being involved with Victory Poker? Also, why should players choose Victory over other poker rooms?

Victory is a great site for many reasons. The software is top notch. The games are beatable. The Cake Network is very reliable. And it’s not just poker….it’s a way of life.

17) You invented the TV series I Bet You with Phil Laak and also the game Lodden Thinks. Both have been a big hit. What’s the next game on your mind that will take the poker world by storm?

No clue…but hopefully it will come to us sooner rather than later.

18) Have you seen the thread on 2+2 regarding the lovechild of Mike Matusow and Antonio Esfandiari? (Lol 😉 ) What are your thoughts on that? (

I don’t really follow poker belive it or not…everybody loves wasting their precious life units gossiping online about poker…I did look this up right now and I must admit – kiiinda creepy!

19) If you could offer our readers just one piece of advice regarding achieveing poker success what would it be?

Fold when you know your beat.

20) Can you leave our readers with one piece of great life advice?

Life is short. Wake up smiling, workout, eat healthy, be happy to be alive, to eat when you’re hungry, shower when you’re dirty, never go to bed mad, dont let things bother you, be kind to others… and last but not least – play at lol.

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