(Featured image: courtesy of WPT)
The poker industry is home to fascinating people. On one table you see a pro player with an accounting background, on the other side you see someone who is a top celebrity hustling on the felt.
Just like Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, and Phil Ivey, Antonio Esfandiari is among the most popular professional poker players these days; not only because of his skills but also because of his previous career as a magician.
Yes, that’s right. Esfandiari is more popularly known as “The Magician” in the poker scene. He was given this nickname because he once had a professional stint as a magician before deciding to go full-on with poker.
He was born in Tehran, Iran but their family moved and settled in San Jose California when he was still young. He once moved to Las Vegas after getting his first gold WSOP bracelet, but later moved again to L.A with his wife and kids.
|Full Name: Antonio Esfandiari (formerly Amir Esfandiari)
|DOB: December 8, 1978
|Birthplace: Tehran, Iran
|Profession: Pro poker player, former professional magician
|Wife: Amal Bounahra
|WSOP Bracelets: 3
|Net Worth & Career Earnings: $25+ Million
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Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari Bio
“The Magician” hails from Iran. But in 1988, the entire family moved to California so the young Antonio continued his studies in Del Mar High School and graduated in 1997. Back then, he was a model student – good grades plus extracurricular activities, he was an all-in-one package.
However, when he was in 12th grade, things started to change. He started getting into parties and later on this lifestyle created a rift in his relationship with his father. So at 17, he left home and supported himself. He did this by becoming a waiter. Soon after, he was able to afford his own apartment.
He encountered magic for the first time when he was still working as a waiter. He got so inspired when he saw a bartender perform some tricks. To satisfy his curiosity, he went to a local magic shop to ask how they do the tricks.
Surprisingly, the owner was very much willing to share the secrets to Amir. Soon enough, he decided to become a full-time magician at 19 years old. In 2012, he wrote a book dedicated to aspiring poker players, “The Magician’s Secrets for Winning Tournaments.
While he was getting immersed in his career as a magician, he was earning around the average of $350 per hour of performance. Back then, he had a roommate who was a professional poker player. So, you probably know what’s next right?
Antonio got invited to a game of poker by his roommate. Despite not having any experience with the game, he agreed and played with them. Shortly after that, he got hooked to the game instead. He has this habit of getting really into a certain activity once he starts doing it.
Fast forward to 2002, Esfandiari’s name started getting really popular among many other pro card players. In an event for the World Poker Tour, he was even able to annoy the legendary Phil Hellmuth and ended up bagging 3rd place bringing home $44,000.
In 2004, he also got his first title at the WPT L.A Poker Classic. This time, he won almost $1.4 million. Then, just a few months after, he went on to get his first-ever WSOP gold bracelet after beating Phil Nguyen.
In 2010, Antonio participated in PokerStars’ TV show called “The Big Game” hosted by Amanda Leatherman.
Antonio Esfandiari is married to Amal Bounahra, a poker player herself. She is the daughter of another professional player, Bob Bounahra.
Actually, the two met during the 2011 WSOP tournament where Bob was playing for the main event. Shortly after that encounter, the two dated and eventually got married and went on to have kids.
Antonio Esfandiari Net Worth
Right now, Antonio’s net worth is estimated at around $25+ million.
That’s the combination of his live tournament winnings, TV appearance gigs, and his previous professional career as a magician. With that, he is considered one of the richest players in the industry.
Anyway, here are his top 5 cashes all throughout his entire career:
- 1st place 2012 43rd Annual WSOP Event 55 – $18,346,637
- 4th place 2013 44th Annual WSOP Event 47 – $1,433,438
- 1st place 2004 L.A Poker Classic WPT – $1,399,135
- 1st place 2010 Five Diamond World Poker Classic – $870,124
- 4th place EPT Season X PCA – $575,920
So, is there anything else you can add about our poker magician? You are welcome to share them in the comments section below.