Seif’s first words about Vahedi came via his website and read, “I’ve just been told by close friends of Amir Vahedi, that Vahedi passed away in Las Vegas on January 8, 2010, due to complications involving blood sugar levels. Waiting for for [sic] more details. Devastating news. Very very sad.”
Hours later, Seif posted a follow-up: “I have spoken to two more of Amir Vahedi’s close friends who have been in contact with Amir’s family. Sadly, they each confirmed the terrible news. Amir was a gentle and kind man who always made me laugh. I will miss him terribly. RIP Amir.”
Players and fans began to spread the news on social networking sites like Twitter, which was where many poker players expressed their personal feelings upon losing their friend:
- Howard Lederer: Amir Vahedi was one of the good guys. I’m very sad. RIP
- Annie Duke: RIP Amir Vahedi. Sweet man and a good friend. I am so sad.
- Annie Duke (later): Still thinking about Amir. What a nice, sweet, funny soul. I keep picturing him with his cigar and his smile. 2 things he always had.
- Phil Hellmuth: Amir Vahedi Rest In Peace my old friend…Amir was one of the nicest, gentlest guys on tour, and everyone loved him…
- Joe Sebok: wow. this is real? few people showed me as many smiles and as much love as amir vahedi, in my poker infancy. truly heartbroken…rip…:(
- Erik Seidel: Woke up to the sad news that Amir Vahedi died. He had a special personality & spirit & will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
- Liz Lieu: In total shock & deeply saddened that my dear friend Amir Vahedi had just passed away. U will truly be missed. Rest In Peace! ;(
- Victor Ramdin: my dearest friend amir vahedi who always had that great smile whether he is having a good day or bad day u will be missed rest in peace
Vahedi started his life in 1961 in Tehran, Iran, and he grew up to fight as a soldier in the Iranian army during the Iran-Iraq war. He fled amidst the conflict at the request of his family, and his decision to leave Iran first took him to Germany and eventually to the United States. He made a home for himself in Los Angeles, where he became an entrepreneur in the business world but soon found poker more than a recreational hobby. He took to the game professionally in 1997.
The list of poker accomplishments that survives Vahedi is long, beginning with his first final table at a tournament in 1996 and his first victory at the same Holiday Bonus Tournament series in 1997. Through the years, some of his more notable finishes came at the World Series of Poker, where he cashed nine times, several of which were final table appearances and one was his WSOP bracelet, which came in the 2003 $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event. He also had nine World Poker Tour cashes, his best coming in April of 2008 where he bubbled the television final table of the $25,000 championship Main Event at Bellagio with a seventh place finish, which was his biggest cash to date at more than $237K. He won the Ultimate Poker Challenge Main Event in 2005, and his resume is filled with wins and final tables at tournaments around the United States.
Vahedi’s love for poker allowed him experiences that were quite unique, such as being able to tutor Ben Affleck. He took advantage of his poker life to meet a great number of people, befriend them, and share his love of the game with them. He also made no secret of his love of the United States and the life it gave to him. Whether in life or at the poker tables, he often made use of a quote after which he patterned his life: “In order to live, you must be willing to die.” It was with that spirit that he followed his dreams with enthusiasm and courage.
No news has been released with regard to a funeral or memorial, but the poker community continues to mourn the loss of Amir Vahedi on the internet and in person at casinos and poker events. His presence there will be missed.