Esfandiari Claims Five Diamond Championship

Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari hasn’t final tabled at a WPT event in several years, and yet he’s dutifully attended the WPT’s Five Diamond World Poker Classic for the last five years straight. This week Esfandiari proved there’s still some magic left in his game when he put the hurt on the Five Diamond championship’s field of 438 players. Esfandiari’s win was impressive but not surprising considering that he’s held a considerable chip lead since Day 2 of the Main Event.

“This is the best birthday ever,” Esfandiari gushed to his roaring support section after securing the win. While Esfandiari’s birthday (on December 8) had technically been over for three hours when he eliminated runner-up Andrew Robl in Hand #181, those in the crowd that had already witnessed Esfandiari’s ongoing domination leading up to the last day already considered his victory a given when he took his seat at the final table yesterday afternoon. But the final table was not without its own fair share of drama.

The Five Diamond World Poker Classic’s final table was inarguably one of the toughest we’ve seen all year, and yet Esfandiari’s win seemed almost fated as he continued to reclaim the chip lead throughout most of the day’s – and even more impressively nearly all of the tournament’s – many ups and downs. Here’s how the final table played out:

  1. Antonio Esfandiari – $870,124

  2. Andrew Robl – $549,003

  3. Vanessa Rousso – $358,964

  4. John Racener – $232,271

  5. Kirk Morrison – $168,924

  6. Ted Lawson – $126,693

Nearly two-thirds of the final table’s action was heads up after Vanessa Rousso was eliminated in Hand #123. At one point in the three-way competition Rousso was actually leading and Esfandiari had under two million chips, but Esfandiari put himself back in the game with an important double-up off Rousso on Hand #109.

Rousso’s last 1.95 million chips gave the then-lagging Esfandiari the boost he needed to face his longtime friend Andrew Robl on almost even terms. The chip count going into the heads-up portion had Robl at 9,500,000 and Esfandiari at 8,155,000. By hand #137, Esfandiari was in the lead again and became the first player to pass the 10,000,000 chip mark. Proving what an excellent match-up Esfandiari and Robl were, Robl had jockeyed back into the lead by Hand #149.

This last turn of events was short-lived, though, as Esfandiari again passed the 10 million mark on Hand #160, and then slowly and methodically began breaking down the remainder of Robl’s stack. Esfandiari finally finished him off on Hand #181, earning the aptly named Magician his second career WPT title and an $870,124 birthday present.

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