GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 13 - June 2010

Lights . . .Camera . . . andoff-the-wallAction! Oneof the reasonsAntonioEsfandiarihasbeensosuccessfulasaprofessionalpoker player ishis friendshipwith fellowpokerproPhil“TheUnabomber”Laak.Esfandiari famouslyenjoysa lavish lifestyle,andheenjoyed thefiner things in life longbefore hehadestablishedhimself as a successful player. Laak,who is six years older, saw the youngster going through his entire bankroll in a weekend, and helped him establishbankroll rules sohewouldn’tgobroke. Their friendshiphas grownas the twohavebecome successful on the tournament circuit, and they have oftenworked together on projects. Most notably, the two tapedashow titled“IBetYou,”where theywalkedaroundandmadepropbets from a fewhundred to several thousanddollars on everythingunder the sun, likewho wouldgetmore tips as abartender,whowouldbe abetter basketball coach, and what typeofunderwearawomanon thestreetwaswearing (yes, they reallyasked awoman thatquestion, andyes, she reallyanswered). “I would never go up to awoman and ask her that without cameras,”Esfandiari says.“But if the camera’sonme, I candoanything.” The showaired for two seasonsonMOJO, but thenetwork folded in2008. (Youcan see entire episodes on Esfandiari’sWeb site, Esfandiari and Laakfilmed three seasonsof the show, andarecurrently shopping foranetwork to air the third season. “It was just somuch fun to walk around andmess with people, bet on random stuff, hangoutwith your buddyall dayandhavepeople record it,”says Esfandiari. “I reallymiss ‘I BetYou.’” While they are no longer filming the show, the two remain good friends. Before Esfandiari signedonwithVictoryPoker, healmost partneredwithLaak to sponsor theonlinepoker roomUnabomberPokeron theCakeNetwork,but theyultimately decided towork independently in theonlinepokermarket.Andwhile the twohave been known to bet on everythingunder the sun, Esfandiari insists that there’s no propbet onwhich roomwill ultimately bemore successful. Butmaybe that’s just because theyhadn’t thoughtof it yet. –AaronTodd Continued from page 41 Fleyshmanwasquick to respond. “[Everleaf]was avery small networkbut since their merger with UPN network and the fact that I spent a zilliondollars inmarketing so far, they arenowdirect- ly behind BODOG and BETFAIR in size on PokerScout,” Fleyshman wrote un- der the username vpCEO. “I’m commit- ted to doing good things for the poker community and building a strong team of players which is up to 19 pros now. Once I get to work everything out with Jeremy [Enke], myself and the affiliate team look forward to working with [af- filiates].” The direct approach had an immediate impact on the impressionsof affiliates. “Victory Poker looks like a site that’s run by poker players and I’m actually amazed at how rare that has become with new skins/sites that launch,” wrote Trev. “Or maybe their marketing team is just that good that they soldme.” “Inever thought Iwouldconsiderpromot- inganEverleaf skin, but I’mgettingmore andmore interested,”Newjabberwrote. Fleyshman’s measured response is no ac- cident; he understands just howbig a role affiliates will play in Victory Poker’s suc- cess or failure. The site offers 35 percent commissions, among thehighest in the In- ternetpokermarket. “Affiliates are the most important part of growing Victory,” says Fleyshman. “The ad campaigns are great for branding, but affiliates are where the true conversions are at.When thingswork and affiliates re- ally convert, them I’mwilling toput in the money, time and effort tomake everyone happy.” While Fleyshman knows where his bread is buttered in terms of affiliate relation- ships, he also knows that the affiliates need something to sell to their players, and he hasn’t been shy about market- ing the site. He offers players 40 percent rakeback, andhe’s signedone of the larg- est teamsof pros for anonline room since Full Tilt’s launch, using the slogan “We Made It,We’ll ShowYouHow.” 44 The Face of Things to Come