The game of poker is said to have an adrenaline rush that can be equivalent to that of footballers playing in front of 90,000 screaming fans. As such, it is no surprise that several footballers have tried their hand at poker with some former footballers becoming full time poker pros.
The most popular footballer turned poker pro is former Manchester United, Tottenham and England striker Teddy Sheringham. Sheringham began playing poker during the later years of his football career and then went on to play full-time after retiring. He impressed many in the poker world in 2009 after finishing 14th in the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event. Since then, Sheringham has a couple of high profile EPT final tables and has won over $298,000 in poker tournaments.
Gigi Buffon, the goalkeeper for Juventus, is a successful poker pro despite having an active football career. Gigi joined the ranks of Daniel Negreanu and Chris Moneymaker when he signed a contract to join Team PokerStars and has been involved in many high profile events on the European Poker Tour.
Another football player turned poker pro is former Republic of Ireland international Tony Cascarino, who turned his lifelong fondness for gambling and cards into poker success. He started playing professionally in 2006 and won his first major title at the 2009 Grosvenor UK Poker Tour Grand Final for a $283,000 payday. His latest success is at the 2011 European Poker Tour finishing 71st with over $14,000 cash prize, his total poker earnings so far are $589,000.
As far as success in poker is considered, Odense BK’s Jan Vang Sørensen takes the crown as the most successful among the former football players. He won his first World Series of Poker Bracelet on 2002’s WSOP $2,500 Limit Omaha Event earning over $185,000 in cash as his prize. In 2005, Sørensen won his second WSOP bracelet when he defeated Keith Sexton at the final table of the $5,000 Limit Seven Card Stud Event. He then continued his poker success with a win on the 2008 Master Classics of Poker main event and has earned over $2 million from playing in poker tournaments.
Professional poker has been growing in popularity for nearly the last decade and stars from various sports have taken the plunge into the game. It provides a way for former athletes to still be competitive and potentially win a lot of money for their efforts. Don’t be surprised to see more footballers try their hand at the poker tables and even take down a few events.
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