Antonio Esfandiari Wins WSOP Circuit Bicycle Casino Main Event
One of the world’s greatest live poker players, Antonio Esfandiari, has walked away with a first place prize of $226,785 after winning the 2016 World Series of Poker Circuit Bicycle Casino Main Event. The Iranian-American star won his first gold ring last Tuesday at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles, overtaking a field of 756 entries.
Esfandiari is a well-known figure in the poker world, being third place on the all-time career earnings list with a fortune of over $26 million. He has won many World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour titles, and has been the $1 Million One Drop champion. Until last week, the WSOP Circuit ring was the one live poker prize that he never yet laid claim to. Nicknamed ‘The Magician’, Esfandiari defeated Jamie Gold (the 2006 WSOP main event champion) to claim the prize when it came down to the last two in a tough final table.
The win was Esfandiari’s first live tournament poker title since claiming his third WSOP gold bracelet in Europe back in 2012. The LA event was a $1,675 no-limit hold’em tournament and had a number of high profile poker players involved. A range of familiar names in the live poker world cashed out of the event, such as Ari Engel (50th), Dylan Wilkerson (42nd), and Jason Les (22nd).
On the opening of day four of the tournament, it was Gold who was holding the vast majority of chips. Esfandiari entered into the final day of the event in a reasonable position in the middle of the remaining 12 players. He had a fair amount of stiff competition to deal with, from the likes of Ray Henson (fourth place, $76,830), Ludovic Geilich (eighth place, $26,980) and Barry Woods (third place, $103,080) amongst others. The game finally came down to a head to head battle between Esfandari and Gold, two highly skilled poker players who were fairly evenly matched. Despite Esfandiari starting with more than an 11-to-1 chip advantage, his opponent was able to double up straight away and begin a comeback against the Magician. Esfandari check raised against Gold, who was forced to draw dead. After this, Esfandari was able to double to over 6.5 million, while Gold was left with just over 20 big blinds.
The heads up battle became a raising war on the flop, and Gold couldn’t manage to improve his run. He had to settle for the consolation second prize (which incidentally was his second-biggest ever live cash out) while Esfandiari won top prize and a $10,000 seat into the WSOP Global Casino Championship.
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