Antonio Esfandiari is a professional poker player known as "The Magician" due to his previous job. He was born in Tehran, Iran and moved to the states at the age of nine with his family because of hardships they had to endure.
Amir Esfandiari was the birth name given to him by his family. After there move to San Jose, California the family searched for a better life but still encountered many difficulties especially for the lack of English. Abruptly his mother left back to Iran without any notice leaving his father to raise him and his brother alone.
Due to teasing by his classmates, Amir changed his name to Anthony in order to sound more American. When Esfandiari was eleven he already began a telemarketing career making about $400 a week so that he can buy more fashionable clothes and treat his good friends to fun times.
By the time he was sixteen he was working hard as a waiter and once the bartender at the restaurant showed him a card trick he was instantaneously hooked. The very next day Esfandiari purchased every videotape and book on the market that had to do with magic. He would practice for hours and hours a day until he perfected the art. This led to Anthony changing his name to Antonio to sound more mysterious and he began doing tricks at the restaurant. Soon after, he was invited to private parties as to do magic.
His father was not fond of his way of living and so by the age nineteen Antonio had left the house to live with a friend. His roommate asked Esfandiari to accompany him to a poker tournament. This was the first time he had tasted cards. His intrigue brought him to a non-tournament table and that's how it all started. His new passion was studying poker and playing poker in small tournaments as well as cash games.
By the year 2000 he had built a big enough bankroll to enter the World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in only to lose it all. Antonio Esfandiari returned to San Jose with great determination and concentrated on honing his poker skills.
After he re-built his bankroll he entered in the World Poker Tour $3,000 No Limit Hold'em Main Event at the 49'er Gold Rush Bonanza in San Francisco and placed third winning $44,000. After a few more tournaments and gaining more experience he returned to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker $2,000 No Limit Hold'em event where he placed an exciting fifth.
By 2004 Antonio Esfandiari had gained confidence in his game and proved resilient when he was the youngest entrant to win over $1,000,000 at the World Poker Tour $9,900 No Limit Hold'em Championship in Los Angeles. Another tremendous victory for Esfandiari was at the WSOP $2,000 Pot Limit Hold'em event were he took the first place prize of $184,860 and his first WSOP bracelet.
Esfandiari won third place prizes in the Third Annual Five-Star World Poker Classic in the $5,000 No Limit Hold'em and the WSOP Circuit Championship Event - No Limit Hold'em in New Orleans in 2005. Only a month later he placed fifth at the $2,500 Short Handed No Limit Hold'em of the 36th World Series of Poker tournament.
In three consecutive months August, September, and October, Esfandiari won the Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament Season 3 starting in the Semi-Final of Group-A to the Quarter Finals of Group-A in Match-1 which lead to the Final 16 of Group-B in Match-2 where he made altogether $95,000.
The Magician continues to awe his crowd and opponents in every match and tournament. His total live tournament earnings in the short time of poker play already amounts to over $2.5 million.