|Top Five Professional Athletes Who Play Poker
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The Top Five Professional Athletes Who Play Poker By: Chris Watford for NoLuckNeeded.com
Over 10% of the adult population plays poker and it’s not a surprise that superstar athletes want to get in on the action every once and awhile. Even though superstars make tens of millions of dollars a lot of them have shown that they’re not in it for the money, but it’s a great way to unwind and have some fun. Let’s take a look at some athletes who have made appearances or talked about their love for poker.
When he’s not making a splash during the Olympics, Phelps makes appearances to numerous poker events and he’s shown that he’s able to hold his own. In 2013 Phelps participated in a $10K buy-in at PokerStars Caribbean Adventure where he was able to steal the pot after having only an 11 percent chance of winning. Phelps was facing off against Aaron Massey and while Massey had the better hand (Ace-Queen compared to Ace-King), Phelps continued to raise Massey, eventually causing him to fold. Phelps has appeared in seven public poker tournaments over the past ten years and he placed 3rd in August 2017 at the Aria Resort & Recurring Tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Paul Pierce NBA
When Paul “The Truth” Pierce wasn’t hitting big shots for the Celtics he was playing in the World Series of Poker tournament. Pierce said in an interview that he loves the game of poker and that he enjoys the mental warfare of it so it would make sense that he would come to one of the largest poker tournaments. After earning nearly $200M in his NBA contracts, Pierce wasn’t afraid to throw in some serious money on his bets, and that’s exactly what he did on the first day of the WSOP tournament. Early in the first play Pierce placed a casual 10,000 bet while he had triple queens. His opponent had a broadway straight and made the call and Pierce ended up losing over half of his stack early. On the third day, Pierce’s stack was up to $200K which he would eventually lose to Christopher Smith after going all-in. After the loss, Pierce paused for a moment, stood up, smiled and shook Smith’s hands and exclaimed “Good run!”
With over 100 million followers on social media, I guess you could say that Cristiano Ronaldo is kind of a big deal. Everything that Ronaldo does makes the news, like when he signed with PokerStars in 2015. Ronaldo has gone in interviews to say “Although football is my world, poker has always been my game” and he’s definitely gone on to show is love for poker after playing Breaking Bad star, Aaron Paul in a 2016 charity game. Ronaldo won the first hand with a pair of sixes to which a disgruntled Aaron Paul said “A six killed me!” Paul won the second hand after going all in with an Ace and Queen while Ronaldo did not follow, to which Paul gleefully replies “All I know is I won and it was AWESOME.” Cristiano Ronaldo eventually won the event with two Jacks. It was a fun event for charity but it is still one of the more bizarre crossovers in the past few years.
Richard Seymour NFL
Ten-year player and three time champion, Richard Seymour was a pretty good football player to say the least. He’s also shown that he’s good at things off the field, specifically poker. Richard Seymour is probably the most successful poker player on the list and it’s not very close. Seymour has participated in 15 events in the past four years alone and he has made some serious cash doing it - $529,997. Though the majority of these winnings come from his 3rd place earnings of $376,360 at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure event in January of last year, Seymour has shown that he is an exceptional poker player.
Shawn Marion NBA
NBA champion Shawn “The Matrix” Marion has openly talked about his love for poker and even appeared at the 2011 World Series of Poker event. Marion went on Instagram after placing 4th in the 2016 River Poker Series and seemed rather bummed out. He talked about his fluctuating chip count and how he had the chip lead twice but eventually lost to his opponent who had pocket kings. Although Marion seemed upset about the loss, he claims to still have had a good time and that’s what matters to him.