Police Arrest Woman for $1m Robbery of Poker Pro Antonio Esfandiari

  • 46-year-old poker dealer Svitlana Silva has been arrested on suspicion of the robbery
  • She allegedly used the stolen money and poker chips to play in high-stakes poker games
  • Silva previously lived with Esfandiari’s father and knew about certain key codes
  • $50k cash, $300k-500k in casino chips, watches, and Esfandiari's One Drop bracelet were stolen
Antonio Esfandiari
An Arizona woman has been arrested in connection with the $1m robbery of poker pro Antonio Esfandiari. [Image: Flickr.com]

Esfandiari’s condo looted

A woman has been arrested for the alleged robbery of approximately $1m worth of valuables from poker pro Antonio Esfandiari. 46-year-old Svitlana Silva, whose LinkedIn profile indicates that she works as a poker dealer in Arizona, was arrested on Sunday, August 23, for the July 14 incident.

used the stolen funds to play in high-stakes poker games

Silva is facing charges of burglary and possession of stolen property worth $100,000 or more. She allegedly used the stolen funds to play in high-stakes poker games.

Silva apparently had access to Esfandiari’s Panorama Towers condo because of her previous relationship with his father, Bejan, with whom she lived “off and on for several months”. She seemingly knew about certain key codes, allowing her to gain access to a safe. 

Loss of WSOP bracelet hits hard

Esfandiari filed a report with the police on July 14, detailing the theft of about $50,000 in cash, $300,000-500,000 in casino chips, and a number of jewelry pieces, including his 2012 World Series of Poker Big One for One Drop bracelet. Some of the items were owned by his father. 

a dagger to my heart”

The Big One for One Drop victory was the highlight of Esfandiari’s professional poker career, earning him $18.34m. Speaking to PokerNews about the robbery, he said: “Realizing that my One Drop WSOP bracelet was no longer mine, a dagger to my heart.”

He went on to say that he was hurt most by someone stealing from his father, concluding: “What goes around always finds a way to come around.”

Hiding in plain sight

Silva did not leave town after the robbery, sticking around to play in some big poker games. According to Bellagio representatives, she played with large sums of cash on or about August 11.

She went around Las Vegas playing high-stakes games, starting with a $5,000 buy-in at a private game. After losing, she reloaded for $20,000, then for $30,000 twice, losing every time. Drained of money, Silva left, but returned with another $100,000 worth of ARIA chips. She lost those, too, and re-bought with $200,000 in Bellagio chips. Silva finally won, then cashed out. 

The chips she was using to play were close matches to those that were stolen from the condo. Police managed to track down Silva after Esfandiari gave them a tip.

When she was arrested in the ARIA parking garage, Silva had a large sum of cash as well as numerous Bellagio and ARIA $25,000 chips in her vehicle and on her person. She claimed that she saw someone else robbing the valuables at the condo. Silva has since met bail, with the case scheduled for October in the Las Vegas Justice Court.