A specialist of the limit format, Ali Eslami had a background in Magic: The Gathering before migrating to the world of poker. Taking the same path as David Williams, Justin Bonomo and Anthony Gregg, Iranian-born Ali was drawn to poker after seeing the financial rewards it could offer him. He began by playing live limit cash games whilst studying business management at college, starting at $2 / $4. Now, he has played as high as $2,000 / $4,000 and is regarded as one of the strongest limit hold’em players in the game today.
Eslami has also achieved some impressive scores on the live tournament circuit – despite admitting that it isn’t his preferred format. Many of these have come in no limit events which demonstrate his aptitude for poker strategy irrespective of the structure. His most significant win came in 2011 when he won a WSOP circuit event – the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em Regional Championship tournament in San Diego for a cool $282,242. He has also made a total of seven WSOP final tables with more than 24 cashes to his name in this specific series. While the bracelet still eludes him, Ali doesn’t need a piece of jewellery to confirm his ability – his $1,000,000+ in live tournament earnings do that for him.
In 2007, Ali made headlines for being one of two competitors that won in the first ever human versus machine poker event. Competing alongside Phil Laak, the pair beat Polaris – a poker bot developed at the University of Alberta programmed to play limit hold’em.
In an interview with Ryan Lucchesi back in 2011, Eslami explained that he didn’t want to spend a lifetime in poker:
‘I always imagined poker as a stepping stone to be able to start my own business . . . ultimately I want to get into business or entrepreneurship’.
Now living in Hollywood, it seems that Ali is certainly diversifying his talents – he recently was the Executive Producer of a short film featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt!