Despite a laundry list of poker achievements and years of collecting cash, Antonio Esfandiari had never landed a World Series of Poker (WSOP) Circuit ring … until now. On Tuesday night, Esfandiari decided $26.7 million in earnings wasn’t enough and beat fellow legend Jamie Gold for the coveted piece of jewelry at the $1,675 Main Event in Los Angeles.
Esfandiari’s payout wasn’t huge ($226,785), but the prestige that came with it is. “The Magician” beat out 756 other players for the title. In addition to Gold, a number of other notable pros participated, including Ari Engel, Dylan Wilkerson, and Jason Les.
When Day 4 began, Gold (the 2006 WSOP Main Event champion) was leading the pack with 2.8 million in chips, closely followed by Ludovic Geilich with 2.2 million. Gelich’s big stack didn’t last long, however, and he was eliminated in eighth by Esfandiari. The eventual winner was on a hot streak and also sent Bryn Kenney away in sixth place when his K♧, Q♡ came out on top of Kenney’s A♢, 5♡.
Just a few hands later, Esfandiari and Gold clashed in a hand that that would position Esfandiari to dominate the final table. The pair saw an A♢, 3♢, 4♧ flop that gave Esfandiari a set of threes and Gold (A♡, K♢) a pair. A check-raise grew the pot and, when Gold wasn’t able to score another ace, he was left with just 20 big blinds to Esfandiari’s 6.5 million.
After three more hopefuls hit the rail, the two players found themselves matched up again in heads-up play. Gold managed one double-up, but in the long run he couldn’t hold a candle to Esfandiari’s massive chip count.
The final hand saw Gold (A♡, K♢) get a bit unlucky. The flop (A♤, 2♧, 5♧) paired his ace, but gave Esfandiari (A♧, 2♡) two pair. Gold was sucked into a raising war and a 2♢ on the turn secured the full house for Esfandiari. Gold won the $139,820 for second place.
Final table results:
(Photo credit: dupo-x-y, Creative Commons.)
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