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Esfandiari Makes Magic at WPT Five Diamond
On the night of his 32nd Birthday, Antonio "The Magician" Esfandiari came back to win the 2010 WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic and $870,124.
Esfandiari led from Day 2 down to the final 15 players, but lost that lead to Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Rousso following an ill-timed bluff on the tournament's penultimate day.
He held on to make the final six, came back from the short stack to take the lead three-handed before busting Rousso and boooked his second WPT title win beating good friend and online star Andrew "Good2cu" Robl heads-up.
"I can't tell you how good it feels to be back," he said. "It's just amazing."
While Esfandiari had $3.6 million in career tournament earnings coming into the event, this was his first WPT final table since his L.A. Poker Classic win in 2004.
Although a deep run in the 2009 WSOP Main Event and a final table appearance at the 2008 EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo marked big scores, a major title win had eluded Esfandiari the past few years, until now.
"It doesn't feel good not to make a final table for seven years, but to make it and come back and win after the rollercoaster ride I had to go through tonight, feels pretty damn good," he said.
No longer the hot-shot young gun he was in 2004, Esfandiari said he counted on a little veteran saavy to weather the storm and persevere this time around.
"You have to rely on your experience and I've got a lot of experience playing in these big tournaments," he said.
The final table was a star-studded affair that also included veteran pros Ted Lawson, Kirk Morrison and, coming off a $5.5 million runner-up finish in the 2010 WSOP Main Event just weeks ago, John Racener.
A total of 438 players entered the 2010 WPT Five Diamond main event at the Bellagio Hotel & Casino creating a $4,248,600 prize pool.
Here's how the final table finished up:
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