Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Poker Hall of Shame III

TassieDevil from PokerNews describes a hand in the PokerStars.com EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo in which Antonio Esfandiari goes through his now-familiar shtick of questioning his opponent to try and get a read, followed by some drawn-out call/fold feigning.

"Do you have a set of threes? Or do you have shit? Do you want me to call sir?" probed Esfandiari, all of which was simply ignored by Rasmussen. "Dealer, is he allowed to not answer me like that?"

After much hesitation and some near-calls, Esfandiari finally folded and Rasmussen flipped pocket fours for a successful bluff.

Following the hand, Rasmussen called the floor person over to lodge a protest against Esfandiari's near-calls/folds, which could be described as gamesmanship to try and get a read from his opponent. Rasmussen complained that Esfandiari's cards crossed the black line painted on the table and they should've been scooped into the muck. However the TD informed Rasmussen that the line actually has no enforceable qualities about it and is simply a visual guide for players and dealers.

After some more heated words from both players, everyone settled down and got on with the next hand.

Antonio pulled a similar stunt on High Stakes Poker in a hand with Barry Greenstein. He pushed a bundle of cash forward and then folded. If he's prepared to pull these angles in high profile play, I can only imagine what he's gotten away with since the beginning of his career. Even more perturbing is the fact that he is an immensely talented player who has no need to resort to such dubious tactics in order to come out on top.

In a completely unrelated story, Antonio Esfandiari is the chip leader at the end of Day 3.