A woman has been arrested on suspicion of stealing around $1 million in valuables from the home of poker champion Antonio Esfandiari and his father. This included $500 000 worth of poker chips, $150 000 in cash, expensive jewellery and more.
According to reports, Esfandiari returned home from a trip to California, along with his father, Bejan Esfandiari, to discover his home broken into and the valuables missing from his safe. The pair believe that the robbery was the work of Svitlana Silva, 46, a woman from Arizona who worked at a nearby casino as a poker dealer. The pair claim she broke into their home while they were away and stole the items, which includes designer watches, a platinum diamond bracelet and a gold carry-on suitcase, all worth significant amounts. The break-in was reported on July 14 2020.
On 19 August 2020, Svitlana was said to be involved in a poker tournament, to which the men alerted the police on 22 August. It is alleged that Silva bought in for $5,000, $20,000 and $30,000 but lost several rounds. She later re-joined the tournament with a safe filled with $300,000 worth of chips. As a result, she later won a round and cashed out before trying to buy back some of the chips that she previously lost. It is not clear how Esfandiari knew of this information. Silva lives in Arizona with her husband and son, but works in Nevada at the Orleans Hotel Casino and the World Series Poker Game.
Esfandiari, 41, a professional poker player of Iranian descent, won a massive $18 million in the 2012 $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop tournament. It was the second largest single win in tournament history. Esfandiari’s father told the police that Silva worked for him in the home he shared with him for a few months. He surmised that Silva may have used this time to gain the password to his safe. Silva denied having a key to the condo but did admit to knowing where they stored the second key.
Silva was arrested in the parking lot of Aria on August 22. At the time, she had $25 000 in Aria chips and $25,00 of Bellagio chips on her person. She was charged with burglary and possession or stolen property. She has been released on bail and will appear in court this October 2020.