RE: Can Antonio Save the WPT?

by , Feb 22, 2008 | 8:14 pm

Antonio at the WPT press conference

Antonio at the WPT press conference

A few impressions from the press conference with Antonio Esfandiari and Steve Lipscomb:

~Antonio is immensely happy about this deal. He has a deep respect and fondness for the WPT. Though he was being cool, as always, he was close to just bubbling over.

~Antonio is going to be representing the WPT on television, in advertising, with Club WPT, and with anything they do in the global market, including WPT Online.

~Steve seems to have a lot of respect for Antonio as well. He feels that Antonio represents players from every background and culture, but he is one of the classy players who doesn’t insult others, has an incredible passion for the game, and will represent the WPT well. Steve mentioned more than once that when Antonio won his WPT title, he went straight to his dad’s place to surprise him with a huge chunk of $$$ and told him to retire; he was particularly struck by that.

And click below for a few quotes from today’s conference:

Steve: “We are here today with incredible enthusiasm to announce the fact that the patron son of the World Poker Tour, Antonio Esfandiari, is going to join us as the face of the WPT Poker-Made Millionaire… We at the World Poker Tour, for some time, have had internal debates, trying to figure out how it would make sense for us to join with the players that we have worked so hard to help build their franchises, and build our franchise in such a way that makes sense for us. Literally, we kept coming back to Antonio as someone who represented the paradigm of what we want the aspiring player to be. We think of the World Poker Tour as being the only sport in the history of televised sports that you can watch it, dream it, and then be it. And if you look at this guy, that’s who this guy is. And anybody who knows Antonio knows another thing that is particularly important for us, and that is he’s pretty much the nicest guy in the world… He’s the kind of guy you want representing a brand like the World Poker Tour, and that matters to us. With the comfort that we have literally bringing him into the family as we move forward, we’ll have him working with us in all areas of our business.”

Antonio: “I never even dreamed of winning a World Poker Tour event. And to be up here and now to be the spokesman of the World Poker Tour is maybe the greatest honor in my life. Next to moving to America and retiring my father, I think this is the third best thing that’s ever happened to me, so thank you very much, Steve. Thank you, Commerce Casino, because it was here four years ago where it all started… There is no other company I’d rather be with. Everyone knows the World Poker Tour is the crème-de-la-crème.”


  • ***Everyone knows the World Poker Tour is the crème-de-la-crème.”***

    I think he’s bluffing. Cream can curdle.

  • ***Steve seems to have a lot of respect for Antonio as well. He feels that Antonio represents players from every background and culture, but he is one of the classy players who doesn’t insult others, has an incredible passion for the game, and will represent the WPT well.***

    Antonio also has been working on his TV skills via I Bet You … I gotta think Steve likes that as well. I don’t mean to dis Esfandiari in the above comment. Was just dissing cream, and maybe his assessment of where the WPT stands without him.

  • TBR

    Rocks and rings, yo.

  • Excellent choice!