Do footballers play poker? Poker is one of the most ancient card games. It is known that it originated about 450 years ago in Europe, and quickly gained popularity all over the world. Today, there are many varieties of poker. Some of them host official tournaments with high prize money, while others are popular only in the home circle.
Recently, poker has been closely intertwined with football. Every year this card game tempts more and more football players. And this phenomenon can be explained. Despite the fact that football and poker are two completely different games, they have a lot in common.
The excitement, thrill, and intensity of the tournaments remind footballers of their home. In addition, poker is a test of the psychological endurance of a person, and tactics are also important here, which makes the card game also reminiscent of football. Football players have different attitudes towards poker.
Most play for themselves, for fun, to pass the time with friends. But there are those who do well among professional players, win prestigious tournaments and even think about seriously immersing themselves in poker after the end of their sports career.
1. Gerard Pique: The Footballer Poker Star
The Spaniard has an outstanding intellect, which he skillfully uses not only on the football field but also at the poker table. Gerard Pique won his first prize money (about 50 thousand EURO) back in 2011 at a tournament in Barcelona. Since then, the total winnings of the Barcelona defender have increased to half a million euros. At first, poker was an opportunity for Gerard Pique to take a break from football and relieve stress.
But over time, it grew into a real passion. The Barcelona footballer is a frequent participant in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) tournaments. Gerard Pique hit his biggest jackpot at the end of last year at the Barcelona stage of the European Poker Tour (EPT) series. The Spaniard reached the final table. Despite the fact that Shakira’s beloved in the final fight lost to the famous Spanish poker player Juan Pardo, the family budget of the star couple was replenished with 353 thousand euros. This is very solid money, even for Pique!
2. Tony Cascarino: The Most Successful Poker Footballer
Among famous footballers, there is perhaps no more successful poker player than Tony Cascarino. The striker has left a notable mark on the history of Gillingham, Millwall and Nancy, played for Chelsea, Celtic, and Marseille, and had 88 matches for the Irish national team, in which he played in two world championships.
Even when he was a football player, Cascarino got an unhealthy love of gambling. Only over time, several years after the end of his career, Tony managed to transform it into a stable income. The first success came to the Irishman in 2007, when he won $ 44,000 in the London stage of the EPT.
A year later, Cascarino became one of the winners of the Grosvenor United Kingdom tournament. At Bolton, Tony won $ 96,000. In November 2009, the Irishman took first place, which allowed him to enrich himself by $ 293 thousand. In total, the Irishman has won almost 600 thousand dollars during his career as a poker player.
3. Ronaldo: Misses The Ballon d’Or For a Poker Tournament
The Phenomenon was one of the first football stars to popularize poker among football fans. In 2013, the legendary Brazilian signed to PokerStars.The two-time world champion plunged headlong into the card game, began to study various game strategies, listened to the advice of professional poker players.
Ronaldo admitted that he fell in love with poker in 1999 when he played for Inter Milan. ” We played at the hotel when we were waiting for the match. Since then I have not stopped playing. When I have free time, I often sit down at the computer and play online poker,” said the Brazilian.
Today, Ronaldo can be called a professional poker player. In 2015, Ronaldo won just over $ 42,000 at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure tournament in the Bahamas. For the sake of participating in the PCA, the Brazilian even refused to attend the Ballon d’Or ceremony, and it means more eloquently than any words about the ex-footballer’s passion for poker.
4. Cristiano Ronaldo: Portuguese Plays Poker with Friends and Family
Christiano Ronaldo is one of the most recognizable footballers of our time, a man-brand. Even people far from football know and recognize him. After signing a contract with PokerStars, Cristiano Ronaldo revealed that he has been playing poker for several years.
“I love playing with the winners and the competitive spirit of this card game captures me,” the footballer said in one of his interviews. But for the Portuguese, poker remained just one of the options to pass the time with friends or family.
5. Francesco Totti: Broke Pots with Spalletti Because of Poker
The “Emperor” has never hidden his addiction to poker. In 2009, Francesco Totti was invited to take part in the Stars for charity. The “Roma” legend, of course, did not refuse and thus helped raise money for the victims of the earthquake in Abruzzo.
A year later, Totti became a PartyPoker ambassador: “ There have been many challenges in my career and life that have helped me gain wisdom, confidence, dedication, and passion. I believe these are essential qualities to be successful at poker. This game gives me a lot of fun. Thanks to PartyPoker, I will be able to combine my passion for the sport with the new challenge that poker is for me. ”
In 2016, poker led to a conflict between the “Emperor” and the then head coach of “Roma” Luciano Spalletti. The story goes that on the eve of an important game against Atalanta, the leading players of the team – Miralem Pjanic, Raja Nainggolan, Kostas Manolas, and Totti himself – whiled away the time until late at night, playing poker.
The next day, “Roma” lost to “Atalanta” with a score of 2: 3. Spalleti threw Totti into the battle. 4: 3, but there was still a scandal in the locker room. “ You got me. You pretend that you are in charge here, you play cards, despite the prohibitions. You’re finished, “- Totti noted in the book that it didn’t come to a fight, but he and his coach were separated by five people.
6. Neymar: Future Poker Star
The forward is now at the age at which footballers are reaching their peak. In February, the most expensive player in the world turned 28 years old – of course, there is no question of retirement, but nevertheless, Neymar is already thinking about what to do after leaving football.
Professional poker is the kind of activity that the leader of PSG plans to plunge into. The Brazilian hones his skills in the offseason, arranging private tournaments at home for football players and other celebrities. In 2018, one of the top scorers in the history of the Brazilian national team earned 18K euros.
7. Teddy Sheringham: From Football to Poker and Back
One of the heroes of the 1999 Champions League final took up poker in earnest at the age of 43, right after the end of his football career. In less than two years of professional play, Teddy Sheringham won $ 127,000 in a tournament in Portugal.
The Englishman was 14th at the main event of the World Series of Poker and received $ 60,000. Teddy has won over $ 300,000 in prize money during his poker career. But lately, the author of the important goal of Manchester United against Bayern is not often seen.
As assistant coach of West Ham, Teddy admitted that his ability to “read” people was very useful in his work.
8. Thomas Brolin: Poker Has Replaced Football
One of the most titled footballers in Sweden was called the “Golden Boy” and they prophesied great fame for him. At first, Thomas Brolin’s career was indeed very successful. The forward has collected a rich collection of trophies with Parma, became the bronze medalist of the European Championship (1992) and the World Championship (1994), scored 26 goals in 47 matches for the national team.
But everything was canceled when he got injured in the qualifying round match of the European Championship-96. At the age of 29, Thomas retired and moved into the restaurant business, and in 2006 the Swede entered the world of poker for the emotions he received in football.
He began to actively participate in the World Series of Poker tournaments. The former footballer’s highest achievements are 23rd in the main event of EPT Prague’s fourth season and 38th in the Grand Final in Monte Carlo. These successes have brought Brolin over 50 thousand euros.
9. Gianluigi Buffon: The Goalkeeper Plays Poker for The Soul
On the eve of the start of the World Cup in South Africa, one of the best goalkeepers in football history has signed a contract with PokerStars.
“I love to enjoy life, I love to play poker. This is a great challenge for me, ” Gianluigi Buffon said at the presentation. The Italian took part in several exhibitions and charity tournaments played on the Internet against the players of the world’s largest poker room.
But, unlike Ronaldo, he did not go to the professional level. Nevertheless, Gianluigi Buffon was not cunning when he talked about his love to play poker. From time to time, the Juventus goalkeeper can be found playing online poker.
10. Vikash Doraso: Meteoric Rise And Fall
Fans should remember this short Indian midfielder from Lyon who dominated the French championship in the early 21st century. In 2004, Vikash Doraso moved to Milan and played out at PSG.
The first small win (about 3K dollars) came to Doraso at a tournament in Paris in 2007. Ten months later, Vikash won ten times more, and the peak of the Frenchman’s success came in 2009-2010. In 2011, Vikash Doraso with strong cards in his hands lost a large sum at a tournament in Cannes, after which he decided to give up poker.
“The first tournaments were very difficult for me, but I quickly became addicted to poker. I started to actively participate in all kinds of tournaments, I lost a lot, but I won a lot at the same time. There was a balance. I usually played with headphones and black glasses to isolate myself and not give out emotions. In 2011, my opponent’s chances were almost zero, so I took a chance. And lost, which is why I decided to finish with it, “- Doraso told about his decision.