Who says poker players can’t play hockey?
Phil Laak and Antonio Esfandiari are poker players who have been friends for a long time. Prior to participating in a game at the WPT Montreal, the two card sharks made a prop bet to find out who would be a better at being an ice hockey goalie. Their wager involved going up against other poker players and hockey enthusiasts like Marvin Rettenmaier and Daniel Negreanu, as well as professional NHL players Phil Kessel and Guy Carbonneau.
With the help of the Playground Poker Club, the participants of the bet set up a temporary rink near the tournament event. Before the challenge started, Antonio Esfandiari from Team partypoker.com was seen talking tactics with Phil Kessel, who is a Toronto Maple Leafs forward. Phil Laak was putting on the goalie uniform while getting some advice from his own from Guy Carbonneau, a retired NHL player who was an important part of many teams that have won the Stanley Cup, including the Montreal Canadiens and the Dallas Stars. When it was time to begin, the participants were announced to the crowd by UFC’s Bruce Buffer.
Canadian poker player Daniel Negreanu has been playing hockey since he was young, so it was a treat for him to take a few shots at Phil and Antonio in front of a sizeable crowd. Other professional poker players curiously watched on the sidelines, including Jeff Gross and Brian Rast. Both Esfandiari and Laak had difficulty blocking the shots because they were not used to the bulky suit, but they found a new respect for the game and how hard the goalies work. Laak had to sit down for a while after his turn was brought to a premature end because of his bad knees, and Esfandiari himself, collapsed from fatigue when the makeshift tournament was over.
The result of the bet was a draw, since all pucks successfully ended in goals.