When you have over $18 million in poker winnings this year, most people will probably think that you’re off on some far-flung island in God-knows-where, enjoying the fruits of your labor. Maybe you even bought that island from your winnings. Who knows.
But that’s not how Antonio Esfandiari rolls.
Sure, winning the World Series of Poker Big One For One Drop event and the cash windfall of $18 million was the undoubted record highlight of Esfandiari’s year. But the man known as the “Magician” is still working hard at the felt, continuing what is arguably one of the most impressive years for a professional poker player.
At the 2012 World Series of Poker Europe, Esfandiari only took two events to win another WSOP bracelet, cashing in on his 3rd bracelet – and the palsy (by his standards, at least) €126,207 first place money – by taking down Event #2 of WSOP Europe.
With his latest win, Esfandiari now sits on top of the WSOP Player of the Year race, surpassing Greg Merson before the latter sits down for the WSOP Main Event Final Table. There’s a good chance that Merson could reclaim the top spot depending on his Main Event performance, but seeing as how Esfandiari’s been rolling, there’s no telling how many more bracelets and titles the Magician is going to pull out of his hat before the year ends.
Meanwhile, Russian online player ‘maratik’ probably won’t be in the running for the WSOP Player of the Year race but he sure did make a name for himself after winning the Pokerstars 2012 World Championship of Online Poker Main Event and taking home a little over $1 million in the process. But what makes maratik’s win that much more impressive was he didn’t even shell out a single penny on his way to scooping up one of online poker’s most prestigious tournaments.
Using only 40 Frequent Player Points from Pokerstars, maratik managed to buy himself into the $5,200 buy-in event before embarking on one of the most impressive poker runs we’ve seen. The low stakes Sit & Go Pokerstars player was able to outlast a field of 1,825 players before taking down Ryan ‘TheCart3r’ Carter in the heads-up final to win the title, the money, and a WCOOP Main Event bracelet.