- »Did You Know These Five Sport Stars Love Playing Poker?
Did You Know These Five Sport Stars Love Playing Poker?
Playing poker is a popular past for athletes around the world. Professional sports people often spend a significant amount of time on the road, traveling across the globe and need a hobby to keep them entertained on their journey.
It takes a lot of determination, perseverance, and a will to win in order to rise to the top of any profession, sports especially, which is why many top athletes take to the poker table when they have some downtime because the skills they possess that have made them so successful can be transferred to the felt.
One athlete who is a familiar face at the poker tables is the legendary defensive lineman Richard Seymour. Seymour won the Super Bowl three times, was victorious in the Pro Bowl on seven occasions, and enjoyed a career that saw him play 164 games across 11 seasons for the New England Patriots and the Oakland Raiders.
Seymour has amassed live poker tournament winnings of more than $570,000, thanks in part to a $376,360 score he received for finishing third in a $25,000 buy-in High Roller event at the 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Seymour is still quite active on the poker circuit, having cashed three times in April 2019, including a $36,195 prize for finishing 15th in the $3,500 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown.
Neymar da Silva Santos Junior, or simply Neymar Jr as is better-known, is one of the world’s top soccer players. The 27-year-old Brazilian has represented his country 97 times and scored 60 goals, while his club career has so far seen him rack up 292 goals in 467 appearances for Santos, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.
PokerStars signed Neymar Jr as an ambassador in May 2015 and while the deal only lasted a couple of years, Neymar has been seen playing live poker on numerous occasion, not least when he finished sixth in a High Roller event at the 2018 Brazilian Series of Poker in Sao Paulo for the equivalent of $21,072.
With Neymar Jr spending significant periods of each soccer match trying to fool the referee into giving him a free kick, poker is a game that should suit the superstar.
Paul “The Truth” Pierce was selected for the NBA All-Star team 10 times and was chosen as the 2008 NBA Finals MVP in a glistening career that saw the Boston Celtics retire his famous number 34 jersey. Pierce played more than 1,500 games before retiring in 2017 and is one of only three Boston Celtics players to score more than 20,000 points for them; Pierce also holds 17 franchise records for the Celtics.
Pierce is a familiar face at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas, although he is yet to make it into the money in any of the events he plays. Pierce has said in several interviews that he loves the challenge poker provides and how he prefers tournament poker because everyone starts on a level playing field; the man just thrives for competition.
Sergio Garcia is one of the best golfers of his generation and also one of the most successful. Garcia, a 39-year-old Spaniard, has 10 PGA Tour titles, 15 European Tour wins, one victory on the Japan Golf Tour, six Asian Tour gongs and managed to win the coveted Masters Tournament in 2017. Garcia is currently ranked eighth on golf’s all-time money leaders with a staggering $49,753,292 in earnings.
Garcia has managed to cash in three PokerStars Caribbean Adventure events since 2012. His best result came in 2012 when he navigated his way to a 51st place finish in the PCA Main Event for a $35,000 payday. While Garcia does not play a lot of poker as the golf season is all year round, those who have played against him state he has natural poker talent so perhaps we will see more of him when he finally hangs up his clubs.
Baltimore’s Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time with a total of 28 medals to his name, including a record 23 gold medals. Phelps also holds the record for the most Olympic medals in individual events (16) and most Olympic gold medals in individual events (13).
Amazingly, Phelps won eight golds at the 2008 Beijing Games breaking the 1972 record of seven set by fellow American swimmer Mark Spitz. It is thought Phelps has earned more than $90 million during his unbelievable career.
Phelps’ competitiveness has seen him sit down in dozens of poker tournaments in Las Vegas over the years and, according to The Hendon Mob Database, Phelps has cashed eight times. His largest prize was worth $5,213 which he received for a ninth-place finish in a $1,570 buy-in tournament at Caesars Palace in October 2018. Phelps’ most recent recorded cash was on December 2018 when he banked $1,116 for a fifth-place finish in a $140 buy-in event at Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.