All-In

A brash Iranian-American wins $1.4 million at poker -- and knows his lucky streak has just started

One day, he figures, someone younger will come along and win something big, and he won't be the "young guy" anymore. But he knows, eventually, he'll again be dealt those pocket aces. "There are plenty of tournaments," he says. "It's gotta happen someday."

How to Hold 'Em

In Texas Hold 'Em, players are dealt two cards, face down, and a round of betting follows. Three more cards (called "the flop") are then laid face up in the middle of the table as "community cards" that are shared by all the players, each of whom is attempting to make the best poker hand, using the first two cards and the shared cards. After another round of betting, a fourth community card (aka "the turn" or "fourth street") is laid face up. There is a final round of betting, then a fifth community card ("the river" or "fifth street") is laid down. Unless all players but one have folded somewhere along the way, there is a "showdown" among the remaining players, and the one who can make the best poker hand of his two cards and three of the community cards wins.

Esfandiari, formerly a professional 
magician, specialized in sleight-of-hand 
card tricks.
Paolo Vescia
Esfandiari, formerly a professional magician, specialized in sleight-of-hand card tricks.
Esfandiari drives a black Dodge Viper and 
wears Armani, post-$1.4 million win.
Paolo Vescia
Esfandiari drives a black Dodge Viper and wears Armani, post-$1.4 million win.

In no-limit Texas Hold 'Em, betting amounts are not fixed. A player can bet up to his entire stack of chips -- known as going "all-in" -- at any time. If a player goes all-in, and his raise is called, the remaining community cards come down, without any additional rounds of betting.


Hold 'Em has an extensive patois, as does poker in general. An abbreviated glossary of terms that appear in the story:

All-In: When a player bets his entire stack of chips.

Busted: When a player loses all his chips.

Call: When a player matches an opponent's bet or raise.

Drawing: Getting the cards you need on the flop, turn, or river.

Straight: A hand containing five cards in numerical sequence, but not of the same suit.

Flush: A hand containing five cards of the same suit, not necessarily in sequence.

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