Though he has been one of the more recognizable faces in the poker world over the past 10 years, Antonio “the Magician” Esfandiari hasn’t made much of a splash in the gambling world in the past few years. Yet just as it was beginning to seem that his greatest trick was convincing poker analysts that he was a talented player, Esfandiari is having the game of his life at the World Poker Tour Five Diamonds World Poker Classic.
As weekend play wound to a close with only 54 players remaining in the field, the Magician sat atop the leader board as the only player to exceed the 1 million chip point, a full 300,000 chips more than his next closest competitor, WSOPC ring holder Doug Lee.
Esfandiari is far from the only name left in the field however, as Vanessa Rousso, Freddy Deeb and Bryn Kenney are all resting in the top 10, while Texas Dolly Doyle Brunson, who the tournament is actually named for, currently 13th in chips.
The Magician is in strong position to capture his second WPT title and take home more than $870,000, which would make for serendipitous luck for the Iranian pro as the final table is scheduled for December 9, Esfandiari’s 32nd birthday.