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Poker Stories: Phil Laak and Antonio Esfandiari’s Unbreakable Bromance

The stories we could tell about Poker’s most dynamic duo would fill a book. Phil Laak and Antonio Esfandiari are two best friends with obscene amounts of money. They climbed the stakes together, and, now that they’re at the top, their rivalry and camaraderie has only grown more intense.

These are some of our favorites.

(Photo credit: CanadaPoker)

Heads up Play

In an iconic episode of Poker After Dark, Laak and Esfandiari are the last men standing—and they’re ready to gamble. Esfandiari picks up QT of diamonds, and Laak goes all in with A7o. Thinking it over, Esfandiari looks at his friend across the table and says, “What do you have, Ace seven? Ace six?” He nailed it, and, despite being a slight underdog, makes the call.

The flop brings two diamonds, giving Esfandiari a flush draw on top of his outs to a pair. At this point he jumps on top of the table and starts screaming, “Ten! Queen! Diamond! Diamond!!!”

Laak can barely look. He just needs to fade two streets and he knows it. “The pain,” he moans. “It would be too extreme!”

The turns brings the 8 of spades: a blank. Laak smiles but still is on edge. Meanwhile Esfandiari continues to lose his mind, screaming at the dealer for his card. But there’s bad news for him on the river: the 7 of clubs. And just like that, Laak wins with ace high. He joyously gloats over his pile of cash as his best friend collapses onto the couch.

I Bet You

“The following is what you get when you give two degenerate gamblers their own TV show.”

This PSA starts each episode of Laak and Esfandiari’s reality TV show, “I Bet You”. These two take prop bets to the next level over the course of three seasons—they’ll literally bet on almost anything, and the more humiliating or hilarious, the better.

They bet 3 grand on who can be a better dancer after taking a 1 hour lesson. They bet $500 on whether they can buy a chain off a random person in the street for $20. They even bet $500 on the size of a woman’s panties that they see on the street.

If you want to see some seriously crazy antics and watch these two buds do their best to make a fool out of each other, check out the show. It might seem insane that these two manage to be best friends despite continually losing thousands of dollars to each other, but maybe that’s the point. They’re made for each other.


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