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Antonio Esfandiari Defeats 2006 WSOP Main Event Champ Jamie Gold Heads-up to Win First WSOP Circuit Ring at Bicycle Casino Main Event

Antonio Esfandiari
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  • PG News March 31, 2016
  • 2 Minutes Read

Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari (cover image) has finally won his first WSOP Circuit ring at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Circuit Bicycle Casino Main Event for a payday of $226,785. Esfandiari has several big titles to his name, with three WSOP bracelets and at the star-studded event; he fittingly claimed his first WSOP gold ring. The pro seemed poised to win the event right from the start, as he had a lead of 520,000 going into Day 2; an advantage of 200,000 more than his nearest competitor. In fact, Esfandiari denied several pros, including 2006 WSOP Main Event winner, Jamie Gold, Bryn Kenney and 2015, WSOP Colossus third place finisher Ray Henson the title.

Nipun Java, who had won this event two years ago, missed the final table, finally finishing at 18th place for $11,535. Other pros who cashed included Ari Engel, who flew in from Atlantic City and made 50th place for $3,675, as well as actor James Woods who finished at 30th place for $5,955.

The victory was stunning, considering that Esfandiari had almost missed the event. He had come into town to visit his father-in-law, Bob Bounahra and decided to play the event at the last moment.

53-year old Bounahra was fresh from winning a WSOP ring of his own on March 25 at the $1,125 No-Limit Hold’em for $26,555 at the same venue, though he remains famous for making the 2011 WSOP Main Event November Nine.


$1,675 Main Event

The event saw 756 entries make up a prize pool of $1,134,000 and last three days.

After the elimination of Barry Woods at third place, heads up began with Esfandiari having an 11 to 1 chip advantage against Gold, but the latter immediately doubled-up to put up a fight.

It was futile however and the final hand saw Gold raise to 260,000 on the button and Esfandiari called from the big blind. The flop opened and Esfandiari checked. Gold bet 300,000 and Esfandiari check-raised to 800,000. Gold moved all-in and Esfandiari insta-called. Esfandiari had flopped a two pair with . Gold was trailing with . The on the turn gave Esfandiari a full house and the river clinched him the title. Gold made second place for $139,820.

Esfandiari took the title and his first gold ring for $226,785.


Final Table Results

1. Antonio Esfandiari – $226,785

2. Jamie Gold – $139,820

3. Barry Woods – $103,080

4. Ray Henson – $76,830

5. Alex Greenblatt – $58,025

6. Bryn Kenney – $44,395

7. Blaise Hom – $34,395

8. Ludovic Geilich – $26,980

9. Jack Duong – $21,420

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