The life of a professional poker player

Here is a taste of my lifestyle…

Vegas here I come. The World Poker Tour at the Mirage, $10,000 buy in! A suite at the Bellagio. Shopping for a house. Mom is flying in from Iran to visit. Many friends coming into town. Gambling! Drinking! Women! Fasten your seat belts ladies and gentlemen. I am about to take you for a ride! A journey into the life of a professional poker player.

July 29th (First day of tournament)
My first table, while recognizing only a few faces, seemed to hold promise. Things were off to a good start from the first hand. I was in lots of pots, mixing it up. I like to get in there, trying to accumulate chips early, or get out early and enjoy the best Vegas has to offer! I ended the day with about 33,000 chips.

July 30th
Tournament starts at noon. Little brother’s plane from Arizona gets in at 2:45 pm. The limo will greet them at the airport with a sign saying Esfandiari! Mom has never seen the VIP treatment Vegas can provide. I am very excited to show my Mom the way Vegas should really be done. Catch a cab? I don’t think so. Wait in line? Hell no! STOP!!!! I have to concentrate on this tournament. I have to constantly remind myself that there is a million dollars on the line!

Night July 30th
Tournament is near its end. Mom and brother are all checked in. The bartenders are getting the bottles of alcohol ready to flow. Nightclub hosts are getting their lists ready. Drug dealers are turning on their pagers. It’s Friday night! It’s Vegas BABY! The energy is in the air. I end the tournament with $70,100 in chips. Time to grab a bite, freshen up and hit up the hottest club in town. Mom has been to a club before but nothing like what she is about to witness. The way to do it right is by ordering alcohol by the bottle. It’s Big Time!!! No waiting in line at the bar. We make our own!!! Tonight’s posse consists of my Mom, little brother, Phil “Unabomber” Laak, Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, Robert Williamson, Erick Lindgren, my good friend Sasha (a spine surgeon from Denver who looks more like a body builder from Australia), Phil Hellmuth, Annie Duke, Brian Balsbaugh (my agent) and myself. Club Light here we come!

We roll up to Club Light at the Bellagio around midnight. My man Larry (VIP host at Light) sees us approaching, comes over and greets my party, then walks us through the 300 people waiting to get in from outside and escorts us to the best table in the house. Table number 34, my home away from home.

Within seconds my favorite waitress Elizabeth greets us with a warm smile. “The usual?” She asks. Before the end of the song we have three full bottles of Grey Goose (At $340 a pop), along with all the mixers, a bottle of Dom Perignon (a must if you go out with Phil Hellmuth), red bulls, empty glasses and a bucket of ice. The club is pumping! Beautiful babes everywhere! The go-go dancers are on their platforms shaking their booties. Life is goooood!!

July 31st
Phone rings. 10:30 AM wake up call. Hurting. I have to get to the tournament by noon. I drop my Mom and brother off at the pool. I’m on my way to win a million baby! On the 12th hand of the day I busted myself by moving in on a well-known squeezer. Hello!!!!???? He is a tight ass! He only bets the nuts! Tournament over. Hangover still in effect.

Night July 31st
I am taking my Mom (Elaheh), brother (Paul), Erik Palladino and a hottie from Canada (Vikki) to dinner at my favorite restaurant in town, FIX at the Bellagio. If you ever get a chance to go there, you must try the Cucumber martini and the gourmet buffalo wings: to die for. 20 Martinis and $700 later, Mom is officially tossed. It’s Saturday night and off to the club we go!

A word of wisdom to the people: You only live once and if I’ve learned one thing in my 25 years on this planet it is that dreams do come true. Get out there and go after it! Don’t be shy. Don’t hold back. Talk to people. Say hello to strangers. Approach the girl at the bar. She probably will say no but will you ever see her again? It doesn’t hurt to try, trust me! Life is too short not to pursue your dreams and live everyday the way you want to. Remember, you only have one shot at this thing we call life.

Antonio Esfandiari