July 4, 2012 - Only in Las Vegas: Professional poker player Antonio Esfandiari (pictured above hugging his $18 Million) on Tuesday became the biggest winner in poker tournament history, beating some of the most prominent pros in the game and at least two billionaires to take a first-place prize of more than $18 million.
After three days of play, Mr. Esfandiari, 33, finished with all the chips in The Big One for One Drop, a charity event of the World Series of Poker. Sam Trickett, a professional poker player from the U.K., won $10.1 million for second place.
Mr. Esfandiari, nicknamed “The Magician,” for once working as a professional magician, is originally from Tehran but was raised in San Jose, Calif. He has been prominent on the poker circuit since he won a $1.4 million first-place prize in a World Poker Tour event in 2004.
With winnings of $17.3 million—which exclude the $1 million buy-in—Mr. Esfandiari took home the biggest prize known in a poker tournament. The previous record for a poker tournament first-place prize was $12 million in the 2006 World Series of Poker main event, according to One Drop organizers. On Tuesday, dressed in a green hoodie, he led the final group of eight players going into the last day of the tournament.
“I just knew I was going to win,” Mr. Esfandiari said in an interview on ESPN after the game. Follow the link below for the complete story. (Note: Your editor lives in Las Vegas, NV; however, I did not participate in the tournament).
The Master of Disaster