Sunday, September 16, 2007

Pamela Anderson's Return to Poker

[Cal, checking in---]

Those of you thinking that the poker world was probably better off without the presence of three-ring circus that is Pamela Anderson were probably dismayed by the news that Anderson is engaged, sort of, to an unnamed professional poker player. Anderson's short-lived PamelaPoker site, run as part of the Doyle Brunson Poker Network, was an idea probably better left undone, but just when the poker world thought Anderson was in the rear-view mirror... she's ba-a-a-a-ack!!

This time it seems that the always-in-control Anderson ran herself up a quarter of a million in poker debts, which she might have had difficulty paying. According to Pamela herself on an appearance on Ellen DeGeneres's talk show, she worked off the debt by providing "sexual favors."

As Lou Krieger wryly noted over at his blog, "prostitution at a quarter-mil a night puts her right at the top of the hooker earning chart." But that's always been a line drawn in smoke for Anderson anyway.

Of more interest, perhaps, is the question of exactly who the "professional poker player" is that Pamela's been seeing? Original speculation centered on Rick Salomon, the dude who marketed that night-vision tape of he and Paris Hilton enjoying a carnal session. Salomon does have some poker cashes to his record, and has been seen frequently with Anderson as of late.

But it might not be Salomon, despite the ready sleaze connection. The latest name to surface in rumors about Pam's mystery beau is Antonio Esfandiari. This nugget comes from a Las Vegas Review-Journal piece:

Pamela Anderson says she's all-in love with a professional poker player.

During an appearance Wednesday on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Anderson declined to identify her new mystery man, but there's scuttlebutt in the poker world that she's been seeing 29-year-old Antonio "The Magician" Esfandiari.

"I paid off a poker debt with sexual favors, and I fell in love," Anderson told DeGeneres. "It's so romantic. It's romance."

Pressed for details, Anderson said, "I'm not really engaged. I don't know what I am. We may never get that far. We're in love. This is nice."

Anderson, who is Hans Klok's assistant in "The Beauty of Magic" at Planet Hollywood Resort, claims she lost $250,000 in a poker game and was offered an "Indecent Proposal"-like out to clear the debt.

If she and Esfandiari are an item, they're keeping it way under the radar. There have been no public sightings of the two together, and prior to her VMAs red carpet walk with Klok, someone in her camp asked that they be introduced as "Pamela Anderson and her boyfriend Hans Klok."


"Hans Klok" is actually the name of the magician in whose show Anderson was making a guest appearance, but by all accounts, Klok isn't the new boyfriend. It's interesting. Given that Esfandiari's close pal, Phil Laak, also has an older Hollywood-type girlfriend in Jennifer Tilly, it's at least a possibility.

Whoever the player in question is, it seems clear that Anderson, at least, is temporarily smitten. Here's more of what she had to say on "Ellen":

"He said if I made out with him that I could clear the thing. A couple of days went by and he followed me around like a puppy dog... I ended up paying off my debt... It worked out, I liked it... I paid off a poker debt with sexual favors and fell in love. It's so romantic. It was the first time I had played poker, obviously... He took advantage of me... We're in love, this is nice. He's a good guy."

With a full belly laugh at the "innocent me" shuck tried in the "It was the first time I had played poker, obviously" line, it's still lovely poker cheese of the first order. Anderson is about as innocent in these matters as, say, Leona Helmsley.

So whether it's Salomon or Esfandiari, does it really matter? Maybe the player in question will get to attend the next Video Music Awards, there to make it a three-way battle royale with Kid Rock and Tommy Lee for the attentions of Pammie.

Or maybe not. Pamela Anderson relationships have a proven track record of being short and unstable. Just like her poker site, come to think of it.

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