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Poker Buddies Antonio Esfandiari and Kevin Hart to Meet in the Boxing Ring

After some clashes at the poker table, poker pro Antonio Esfandiari and popular comedian turned avid poker player Kevin Hart are set to storm the boxing ring, Esfandiari himself told a TMZ Sports reporter over the weekend.

Delighted to be recognized by paps and asked about “some real juice”, Esfandiari said that he and Hart played poker the other day and “somehow boxing [came] up.” The two made a bet and agreed to step into the boxing ring to test their strength and will. The boxing match will take place “in March, around March,” Esfandiari told the TMZ reporter.

The poker pro refused to unveil how much money was on the line, but given both his and Hart’s estimated net worth, it should be expected that they have made quite a hefty bet.

Esfandiari further said that he is getting 35-1 odds in the upcoming bout, because his opponent is “in much better shape, he’s an athlete, he’s fast as hell”. However, at nearly 6 feet tall, the Magician, as Esfandiari is also known in the poker community, he has an important height/reach advantage. Hart stands at around 5’4″.

Esfandiari and Hart’s Careers

With three gold bracelets from the World Series of Poker and two WPT Main Tour titles, Esfandiari is one of the big stars of global poker. The player boasts live tournament earnings of over $27.6 million. That amount includes his first-place prize of $18,346,673 for taking down the 2012 $1,000,000 BIG One for ONE DROP and outlasting some of the world’s most seasoned pros, including heads-up opponent England’s Sam Trickett.

It is also interesting to note that he had been a professional magician before he started playing poker for a living, hence his nickname The Magician.

As for Kevin Hart, while he cannot boast with as many poker accomplishments as Esfandiari, he is one of the world’s most successful and praised comedians in the world. With estimated net worth of around $58 million, Hart ranks 39th in the Forbes 2018 Celebrity 100 Earnings list. His The Irresponsible Tour has been the biggest comedy tour so far this year with 1 million tickets sold, from which Hart grossed over $30 million.

Earlier this year, Hart became a brand ambassador for online poker room PokerStars, following his multiple appearances in different poker tournaments in 2017 and this year. The comedian and the globally popular poker brand said that they hope their partnership will change the face of poker.

Esfandiari and Hart excel in their respective fields, but it is to be seen who will emerge victorious in their upcoming boxing match. This will not be the first time poker players are clashing in the ring. Bouts have taken place between Bertrand Grospellier and Lex Veldhuis as well as between Brian Rast and Sorel Mizzi in the past few years.

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