5 Sports Legends Who Love To Play Poker

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5 Sports Legends Who Love To Play Poker

They’re famous, wealthy and have all excelled at their chosen professions. However, there is one passion that a lot of big name sport stars share – poker. Some of them have even taken to playing poker in live tournaments. Maybe the adrenaline they get from their sports can be likened to the adrenaline you experience from playing poker.


After all, some of the world’s largest poker tournaments create some truly exciting moments that rival even the biggest sports events.

Let’s have a look at five poker-playing sports legends:

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal is not only one of the greatest tennis players in the world today, but he is also probably the best known poker-playing sports star. It is believed that Nadal started playing poker during a period of convalescence for a knee injury in 2012/2013.

For Nadal, however, poker isn’t just a pastime and he recently (December 2013) won a major poker tournament – the €100,000 EPT Charity Challenge. This tournament boasted a wealth of famous sports stars, as well as legendary poker players. In fact, Nadal knocked out professional poker star and current world number one poker player Daniel Negreanu on his way to victory. That just goes to show that the element of luck in poker can make for fantastic competitions.

Ronaldo

Not super hunk heart-throb Cristiano Ronaldo, but his older Brazilian namesake and all time World Cup finals top goal-scorer Ronaldo. The Brazilian footballing legend is an avid poker player who was part of the same charity tournament in December that Nadal won. Poker is hugely popular in Latin America and Ronaldo became interested in the game after he started his own entertainment and sports agency.

Shane Warne

He had a glittering cricketing career and is still regarded as one of the best bowlers of all time, but nowadays Shane Warne spends a large proportion of his time playing poker in Las Vegas. He’s been pretty successful at it too! It is thought that Warne has accrued over $50,000 in live tournament winnings and even won over $35,000 for a third place finish in the Victorian Poker Championship in Melbourne in 2010.

Gerard Pique 

An enormous salary, dashing good looks and a Colombian pop princess girlfriend is what Gerard Pique can boast. The Spain and Barcelona centre-back is also very fond of playing poker, competing in the 2013 World Series of Poker. Even though he failed to cash in at that tournament, Pique has seen significant highs in his poker career like his 19th place finish at the 2013 EPT Barcelona Main Event. He is proof that you can be a superstar footballer and also enjoy poker in your spare time. 

Georges St-Pierre

Current UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre loves to play poker. It’s hard to see how he finds the time with his ridiculously intense training regime, but he does. Furthermore, his physical presence and reputation for being one of the best mixed martial artists on the planet must make him an extremely intimidating person to face at the poker table for obvious reasons. Full Tilt Poker’s Viktor Blom is another extremely formidable force at the poker table but in a more strategic manner.

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