The Alternative Final Table
CBS Sports Network will premiere their new poker show – appropriately named ‘The Final Table’ – which will see Phil Hellmuth and Antonio Esfandiari, among others, analysing the U.S. tournament scene and results.
Antonio Esfandiari Biography
Antonio Esfandiari was the highest earning tournament poker player ever, with total winnings in excess of $25m up until Daniel Negreanu took that title by winning "Big One For One Drop 2014". A large chunk of this was from his $18.3m win in The Big One for One Drop, besting Sam Trickett heads-up to take home the bracelet.
Esfandiari, is also known as 'The Magician', as he was once a professional magician before becoming one of the best and most recognisable faces in modern day poker.
He is always a funny character at the table, and never fails to provide some top quality poker at the same time. Not many people have a bad thing to say about Antonio for obvious reasons. Antonio started playing poker when he was invited to a poker game when he was 19, during the same time he was peforming magic. It seemed from here on he was destined to transfer his magic onto the tables.
He kicked off his incredibly successful career big time when he won almost $1.4m at the LA Poker Classic Event.
Antonio has a very close friendship with fellow poker pro player, Phil Laak. They have been known to create great TV together at the televised table with their wit and generally likable personalities.
Game invented by Antonio Esfandiari & Phil Laak:
The game of Lodden Thinks spiralled from some joking between the two as to what fellow pro Johnny Lodden while the three were at a televised table during a WSOP event. Esfandiari decided that their usual chat was boring and they needed to spice it up a little, so the two came up with Lodden Thinks.
The rules are as follows:
- 3 people are involved in the game, with 2 'betting' against each other, and one being 'Lodden' (ps. this doesn't actually have to be Johnny Lodden surprisingly.)
- Anybody can come up with a question with a numerical answer, and pose it to the group, with 'Lodden' thinking of an answer.
- The two 'bettors' then start off a bidding war as to what they think 'Lodden' would think. This goes on until one of the bettors declares 'I'm under', which means they take any number under what their opponent has just said, which subsequently means the other person takes over that number.
- 'Lodden' then reveals their answer, and depending on where that number lies in under or over, the winner is declared. What is so interesting about the game, is that it does not matter what the actual answer is, it only matters what 'Lodden' thinks the answer is.
A typical game for the minds of poker players.
Take a look at a Lodden Thinks game between Brunson and Ivey.
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Esfandiari’s decision to post his staking packages exclusively on the StakeKings’s site will no doubt tempt those with a few thousand to spare.
When it comes to the Main Event it’s the characters rather than the actual cards which tend to live on in memory – so this fantasy final table reflects that, pitting heroes against anti-heroes, with much more on the line than the $10million and the bracelet.
Predicting who will get there first is no easy task considering nobody is even close right now, let’s start by assessing the top 5 from Hendon Mob’s all time money list.