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Poker News | Casino Poker | News

Antonio Esfandiari: Face of the WPT

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In a press conference held at the Commerce Casino on Friday, February 22, the World Poker Tour announced that professional poker player and WPT champion Antonio Esfandiari will be the face of the World Poker Tour. He will represent the company in marketing and advertising projects, on television and on the tournament circuit, and as the model of a WPT Poker-Made Millionaire.

Steve Lipscomb made the announcement to members of the media, as Mike Sexton and several WPT executives listened in. Clearly, Esfandiari was brimming with excitement, and Lipscomb was equally happy with the decision.

Lipscomb began by saying, “We are here today with incredible enthusiasm to announce the fact that the patron son of the World Poker Tour, Antonio Esfandiari, is going to join us as the face of the WPT Poker-Made Millionaire.” He noted that there have been 84 poker-made millionaires courtesy of the WPT thus far, and the company intends to make many more “over the course of the next 50 or 60 years.”

Lipscomb went on to discuss the first time he met Esfandiari at the World Series of Poker, just before the WPT kicked off its first season. He invited “The Magician” to perform magic tricks at the press conference announcing the formation of the WPT, and it was when he first noticed the personality that accompanied the card tricks. And then Esfandiari began to make his mark on the WPT circuit with several final table appearances, including his win at the 2004 L.A. Poker Classic and final table at the 2004 Invitational only days later.

He explained further, “We at the World Poker Tour, for some time, have had internal debates, trying to figure out how it would make sense for us to join with the players that we have worked so hard to help build their franchise, and build our franchise in such a way that makes sense for us. Literally, we kept coming back to Antonio as someone who represented the paradigm of what we want the aspiring player to be. We think of the World Poker Tour as being the only sport in the history of televised sports that you can watch it, dream it, and then be it. And if you look at this guy, that’s who this guy is… He’s the guy we want representing a brand like the World Poker Tour, and that matters to us. With the comfort that we have literally bringing him into the family as we move forward, we’ll have him working with us in all areas of our business.”

Esfandiari then spoke about his excitement. “I never even dreamed of winning a World Poker Tour event. And to be up here and now be the spokesman of the World Poker Tour is maybe the greatest honor in my life. Next to moving to America and retiring my father, I think this is the third best thing that’s ever happened to me, so thank you very much, Steve. Thank you, Commerce Casino, because it was here four years ago where it all started.”

At the end of the press conference, Esfandiari added, “There is no other company I’d rather be with. Everyone knows the World Poker Tour is the crème-de-la-crème.”

Esfandiari will be playing the L.A. Poker Classic and future WPT tournaments with a WPT logo on his shirt
, and he will surely be seen in other print and television advertisements for the WPT. With a plan for him to represent the company on a global level, as the WPT introduces its WPT Europe, expands its WPT Online gaming site, and attempts to grow in other territories around the world, the Iranian-born poker success story will soon be synonymous with the World Poker Tour.

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