Born in Iran in 1961, Vahedi left the Iranian army against his mother’s wishes and moved from country to country as a war refugee, before finally settling in Los Angeles.
After owning several businesses in the US, Vahedi decided to take on poker as a full-time profession.
Vahedi is known as a fierce tournament player, as he once quoted: “I am not afraid to put my money out there and sometimes you just need to let these players know who is boss. You wanna mess with me, it’s going to cost you. Sometimes you have to be willing to die in order to live in these tournaments. That is basically it.”
Vahedi gained added notoriety as a celebrity poker player after he began tutoring Hollywood actor Ben Affleck in No-Limit Hold’em. The first lessons Affleck took with Vahedi were a birthday gift from his then-girlfriend, Jennifer Lopez, who later accused Affleck of being a problem gambler.
Vahedi’s unpredictable playing style makes it very difficult for players to read him, a trait which has earned him great success. He was named No-Limit Texas Hold’em Player of the Year in 2001, had nine No-Limit final table appearances in 2003 alone, and in 2004, he welcomed in the new year by winning the Limit Hold’em event at Hollywood Park on January 3.
Vahedi admits that it took him some time to develop money management discipline. He overcame urges to play blackjack and craps and advises others who are serious about their poker to stick to poker.
“If you’re in the meatpacking business, you don’t go into trucking. The same goes for poker. If your business is poker, then don’t touch any other sort of gambling,” he said.
And although his exceptional poker skills have earned him the 2001 No-Limit Texas Hold’em Player of the Year title and second place as Card Player Magazine‘s 2003 Player of the Year, Vahedi acknowledges that poker can be anyone’s game.
“Although poker is largely a game of skill, the beauty of the game is that at any skill level it’s possible to walk into a poker room and beat the champion on a particular day,” he said.
So if one day you find yourslef walking into a poker room with Amir Vahedi at your table, you may just be in for a chance to be a winner!