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Antonio Esfandiari Cashing In On $18 Million World Series of Poker Win

Poker Pro To Appear On Howard Stern's Radio Show Tuesday


Poker pro Antonio Esfandiari won the $1 million buy-in event this summer at the World Series of Poker and since then has been using it as a way to increase his marketability off the felt. On Tuesday morning, he will appear on the Howard Stern Show to talk poker.

“I’m going to have a lot of fun with it,” Esfandiari said of his scheduled appearance. He added that he’s looking to cast poker in a positive light, helping the game “get out of the shadows” after it suffered a dramatic blow with Black Friday last year.

Esfandiari snagged a record prize of $18.3 million by outlasting the 48-player field in July, but he’s never disclosed exactly what percentage of himself he had. Many players in the event, which also featured capitalists from the business world, sold action in order to play.

Brian Rast, who finished sixth in the tournament, is a long-time friend of Esfandiari and said after the event: “The [prize] money, while significant to him, might not even mean as much as the publicity from winning the title.”

Esfandiari said Monday that his friend’s statement is “probably true.”

“The value of winning the tournament is long lasting,” he said.

The California native, like many in the poker community, has represented online poker sites in the past. Esfandiari said he will likely do so again, this time in a licensed and regulated U.S. environment. “Things are in the works,” he said.

So far, web poker is only legal in Nevada and Delaware. The Silver State has already begun licensing companies and will likely see games begin this fall.

In addition to having the opportunity to appear on Stern’s radio program, Esfandiari inked a deal in the wake of his big win with the company that runs a mobile free-play poker application called “Insta Poker.” He does consulting work for the firm.

While the offers are trickling in, handled by Esfandiari’s agent Brian Balsbaugh, who many say is the best in the business, the 33-year-old is still enjoying the chance to call himself the champion of the priciest open tournament in poker’s long history, which also benefited a charity.

“You get to have that for the rest of your life,” he said.

Follow Brian Pempus on Twitter — @brianpempus