- »Five of Soccer Players Who Are Successful at Poker
Five of Soccer Players Who Are Successful at Poker
Soccer stars spend a significant amount of time not playing “the beautiful game.” Injuries, recovering from training and traveling to games leave them with plenty of time for other activities.
Some soccer players love to spend their downtime going to major horse racing festivals. This is particularly true of British soccer players. Others learn how to play poker and some of this crowd actually become decent poker players in their own right. Here are five soccer players who have won large sums of money from swapping a soccer ball for playing cards.
Teddy Sheringham enjoyed a long and illustrious soccer career that saw him score 355 goals in 902 games. Sheringham started his career at Millwall before playing for Nottingham Forest, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, and West Ham United. He also represented the England national team 51 times, scoring 11 goals.
Sheringham retired from the game in 2008 and immediately took up playing poker. Two years later, Sheringham bagged a trio of big prizes in major live poker events. A cash in the PokerStars European Poker Tour (EPT) Grand Final netted him €20,000 ($26,625). His biggest score weighs in at €93,121 ($118,346) his reward for a fifth-place finish at EPT Vilamoura. Sheringham won an additional £13,000 ($20,343) a month later at EPT London.
Total winnings of $329,475 are attributed to Sheringham, although he’s not recorded a cash since 2012.
Jan Vang Sorensen
Denmark’s Jan Vang Sorensen has the most winnings on our list with $2,180,585 worth of cashes to his name. Sorensen is best known for playing for Danish club Odense BK. A knee injury ended his playing career prematurely, he was only 30-years-old.
Sorensen learned to play poker while traveling to and from soccer matches and is considered a seven-card stud specialist. The Dane also enjoys playing Pot Limit Omaha, which makes him different to those who prefer hold’em.
He won the first of two World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets in 2002, triumphing in a $2,500 Pot Limit Omaha event for $185,000. Bracelet number two came three years later in a $5,000 Seven Card Stud event. This banked him $293,275 and was his largest score for a while. He broke that record in 2008 when he collected €623,100 ($800,972) by winning the €6,200 Master Classic of Poker in Amsterdam.
Gerard Pique is the only soccer star still playing the game and the Spaniard has it all in his life. Pique earns €185,000 per week ($205,000) playing for FC Barcelona. He is dashingly good-looking, a talented poker players. Oh, and his girlfriend is Shakira. Yes, that Shakira!
Pique first appeared on the poker scene in 2011 when he finished third in a €5,200 buy-in event at the PokerStars EPT Barcelona. This won Pique €40,950 ($58,996) and it seems he caught the poker bug. Pique has attended EPT Barcelona several times since that opening score and with decent success.
In 2017, Pique reached the final table of the €25,500 High Roller and walked away with €129,350. Just a couple of weeks ago, Pique was the runner-up in another €25,500 event, this time he scooped a massive €352,950 ($392,515).
Fans of British soccer in the 1980s and 90s will remember the name of Tony Cascarino. Cascarino was an old-fashioned center forward who had amazing heading ability. The fact he was willing to put his head where it hurts helped him score more than 250 goals in his career.
Gillingham is the team where Cascarino started his professional soccer career. He then played for the likes of Millwall, Aston Villa, Glasgow Celtic, and Chelsea before moving to France and playing for Marseille and Nancy. “Cas” also earned 88 caps for the Republic of Ireland who he scored 19 goals for.
The 6ft 3in striker embarked on a semi-professional poker career when he retired from poker and enjoyed some success. After appearing on some celebrity tournaments, Cascarino won the GUKPT Luton Main Event for £52,850 ($96,205) in 2008. His biggest score came a year later when he triumphed in the GUKPT Grand Final for £168,800 ($283,412), which is still his biggest prize.
The year 2016 was the last time Cascarino recorded a major live cash. This is partly down to his job as a pundit and presenter for radio station TalkSport and the fact he underwent treatment for a benign brain tumor, which he has thankfully recovered from.
Steve Watts may not have played soccer to as high a level as those mentioned above, but he is probably the best poker player of them all. Watts played in English soccer’s lower league tiers, scoring 72 career goals. Injury cut Watts playing career short, although some of his coaches said he lacked commitment due to also being a part-time model.
Watts is now a professional poker player who has won almost $850,000 from live poker tournaments. Overall, he has won much more because he also plays cash games and keeps his online poker alias a secret. Two six-figure prizes are Watts’ biggest results. A fifth-place finish at the 2012 Irish Open won him €78,000 ($102,759) while a 59th place finish in the 2013 WSOP Main Event yielded $123,597.
A little known fact about Watts is his wife is a vocal coach who helped Louisa Johnson win the British X-Factor competition in 2015.