It’s late Sunday morning, positively the crack of dawn for a poker player, but Antonio Esfandiari looks fresh, decked out in jeans, a t-shirt and knitted sweater. Oh and some blue suede boat shoes, his close friend and fellow Premier League participant Phil Laak has just turned up and starts ribbing him. “Look at those shoes,” says Laak. “These shoes are money kid,” says Esfandiari.

Wining The One Drop

And money is something Antonio Esfandiari knows a little something about, his win in the million-dollar buy-in Big One for One Drop tournament earned him over 18 million dollars. “Winning the one drop was the greatest trick I ever pulled off,” he tells me. “I don’t think the win has changed me personally, if anything I feel a little more humble and gracious because of that win because I feel as if I have some sort of ambassador role to poker, so I take a lot of responsibility with that. I want to make sure I represent the game of poker the best I can.”

I’m going to win

Before the One Drop tournament Esfandiari said that he knew he was going to win. “I’d never had that belief that clear, I really believe that you have to believe you’re going to win everything you’re going to play. Confidence is key, in that tournament I was so clear it was crazy. In my mind I make myself believe I’m going to win.”

And going into the Premier League he’s got a similar feeling, “I feel great, my confidence level is through the roof. I believe that you win when you strive for success by putting yourself in a position to be successful. I’m on a good sleep schedule, I’m exercising, I eat healthy and I’m there mentally.”

Punishing Phil Hellmuth

As for his group there’s one particular player he can’t wait to play. “One of life’s greatest joys is punishing Phil Hellmuth.”

He leaves me with one sage piece of advice, “Never take fashion advice from Phil Laak.”

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