Antonio Esfandiari stars in Excessive Tanking Video

by Jeremy Olson on March 27, 2015

Tanking has become a hot-button issue ever since Daniel Negreanu criticized Jordan Cristos for being the ultimate poker tanker. This erupted into a Negreanu blog post that claimed guys like Cristos are ruining the game for everybody. And if you’re interested in checking out the entire discussion, see it here.

Given that this long-running debate has been reopened, it’s worth mentioning that Cristos is far from the only pro who tanks on many decisions. And he’s even farther from being the most-famous poker player to do so. Antonio Esfandiari also has a penchant for tanking on big decisions, and the evidence is clearly on tape for everybody to see.

A shining example can be seen at the 2014 Big One for ONE DROP, where he sits around for over 10 minutes thinking about what he wants to do against Greg Merson. Sure, this is a little different matter than tanking at a $100 buy-in Tuesday night tournament at the local VFW hall. After all, the Big One requires a massive $1 million buy-in to enter. Nevertheless, one can still question if players can stand to sit around this long waiting for one decision.

One thing that I’ll give Esfandiari credit for is that he lets other players know that he’s fine with them calling clock on him if they think the tanking is excessive. But then again, sometimes you have to police yourself, rather than make others seem like an asshole for calling clock. Watch the video below and think about what you yourself would do in this situation. And notice how Merson keeps a pretty damn good poker face the entire time, even when Esfandiari stands up and leans over to look at Merson: