Poker and soccer have one thing in common: logical thinking. Poker is also one of the most popular casino games in Canada and North America. The acceptance of this classic game came from the fact that winning when playing it is beyond luck; it requires deep thinking and valuable strategies.
Over the years, there have been several tournaments like the WSOP, Super High Roller Bowl, and Grand Tour, where poker players compete for bragging rights and to win the grand prize. Of course, enjoying this game isn’t limited to large tournaments and big game nights. In Canada, where many provinces have favorable online casino laws, poker players and enthusiasts can find several real money Canadian poker sites and sign up with them for a fun and rewarding gaming experience.
Professional soccer players are one of the sets of people who have caught the poker bug. While it might seem unbelievable that football players would have time to compete at poker tournaments and wager real money on online sites to play this classic game, they actually do.
Famous Soccer Players Who Love Poker
While playing football differs from casino games, these five soccer athletes have merged the two worlds. They have shown that even the richest and most popular people can enjoy the game of poker.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t only one of the best football players globally; he’s also an excellent poker player. The Portuguese superstar is adored worldwide for his unwavering dedication and goalscoring talents on the football pitch, but Ronaldo’s prowess at the poker table is also remarkable.
Ronaldo was once quoted saying, “Football might be my world, but poker is my game.” The famous football star joined Team PokerStars in 2015 and has since won substantial amounts of money playing in tournaments. The interesting part is that Ronaldo donates these winnings to different charities.
2. Neymar Jr.
The Brazilian football player is one of the shining stars of the Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) team. However, he has also been the celebrity rising star of the famous PokerStars team. Neymar participated in a Brazilian tournament under this team and won a sum of €20,000.
Although the football player was recuperating from leg surgery at the time, it didn’t stop him from attaining victory for his team. In an interview, Neymar was asked about his next career plan after he retires from soccer; and he said he’ll be playing poker professionally. The gambling community might welcome a new gaming idol once the PSG player retires.
3. Teddy Sherringham
Edward Paul Sherringham is a former soccer athlete that played for prominent football clubs like Manchester United, West Ham United, and Tottenham Hotspur. Teddy Sherringham is undoubtedly a rich athlete but has also made significant money in the gambling world.
During his playing career, Teddy Sherringham also engaged in the gambling world. However, he didn’t pursue poker professionally until his retirement. After his retirement in 2008, Teddy Sherringham competed in several tournaments, like the 2009 WSOP Main Event, where he finished 14th place and was awarded $66,738.
He also competed in the 2012 WSOP World Championship and received $28,530. Teddy’s biggest win yet was at the 2010 European Poker Tour (EPT), where he finished fifth and earned $118,346.
4. Gerard Pique
The FC Barcelona defender is regarded by many as one of the greatest defenders of his generation. However, apart from defensive prowess, Pique is also an impressive poker player. In 2011, he played at the EPT, and he returned to compete in 2013 and 2016. His most recent appearance at the tournament was in 2019, where he finished as a runner-up and won €352,950, a substantial amount of money. Pique isn’t only in it for the money though.
In a 2016 interview, the Spanish soccer star said that football and poker had one thing in common; you might know how to play, but you never know the cards you’ll be dealt, teaching players how to adapt to every unexpected situation on the field. Pique also reads and studies poker with expert players, showing his dedication to the game.
5. Ronaldo Nazario
Before his retirement, Ronaldo played 98 matches for Brazil and scored 62 goals for the Selecao. The legendary number 9 was a household name during his soccer career, where he was awarded two Ballon d’Or prizes. Many regard him as the greatest striker in football history.
There were rumors about him during his playing days, including news of panic attacks, depression, and many more. However, if one rumor was true, it was Nazario’s love for poker games. Ronaldo competed in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in 2015 and won $42,000, showing his prowess in the tournament just as he did on the football field.
These famous players have sought and found the thrill of soccer in poker tournaments. They probably love this game because of its uncertainty, strategic thinking, and pure drama. As Gerard Pique once said, you might know how to play, but the cards you’ll be dealt are uncertain. This looks like the events on a soccer field, and it’s why they all love poker and do great at the game, or perhaps football stars are just great gamblers.