Afghani Poker Player Dies in Prison

This story was published more than 5 years ago.

Afghani poker pro Shekhan Farnood died in prison this week, bringing to an end a fascinating life that saw him move from bracelet winner to head of Kabul Bank to prisoner.

Farnood had a poker career that began in 2002 and saw him take home $627,647 in winnings. His pinnacle moment came in 2008 when he bested Phil Ivey, Howard Lederer and Jeff Lisandro to win a WSOPE bracelet with a $140,039 prize. Outside of his poker exploits, Farnood ran the Kabul Bank, served as Chairman of Pamir Airways, and also ran a business out of Russia that completed Sharia compliant transactions.

Farnood was arrested in 2011 for running a Ponzi scheme that stole $800 million that was designated to rebuild Afghanistan. He reportedly stole the money to fund lavish trips and purchase land in other countries. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison and ordered to repay the money he stole. During his sentence, he was given extended time when it was discovered the bank was a sham.

The disgraced player died of heart disease. HIs exact age was unknown, but he's believed to have been 55 or 57.

About the author

Dustin Jermalowicz // News Editor
Dustin Jermalowicz
Dustin has a long-standing passion for gambling. He has been writing professionally on the subject and breaking industry news for Casino Listings since 2011. His favorite casino games include Blackjack, Poker, and Hi/Lo. A proud native of Detroit, Dustin currently lives in Michigan.
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WaroftheGods's picture
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31 August 2018 - 10:53am

I can see this guys life story being made into a movie one day, probably not very soon, but one day lol

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sharpe's picture
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1 September 2018 - 9:00pm

Yeah, a great story with not so great finish in the end, at least for Farnood.

Would of be tough for me to have any sympathy for the guy after what he did and in fact it's strange that he's been sentenced just to five years for $800mill steal more so in a post war country that for sure really needed those funds for rebuilding, I guess in other parts of the world the sentence would of been much longer and he would end up the same way anyway.

But no doubt it's an interesting story which could be a great scenario for a movie as WaroftheGods suggested above.

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3 September 2018 - 10:20am

I was thinking about a movie on his life, but, with $800 million theft, I got at a loss...

I wonder how much was retrieved from the theft... huh.
This is a sad story....