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May 11, 2015

Weekly Flop: Pacquiao Poker Habits, Antonius Cash Games, Neymar PokerStars

By RTR Dennis

Manny Pacquiao has had a rough time lately, after losing a unanimous decision to Floyd Mayweather and answering lots of questions on why he never disclosed his pre-fight shoulder injury. But as a Sports Illustrated report claims, he may have had even rougher times at the poker table...Patrik Antonius couldn't be more excited about the 2015 WSOP. However, it's not the tournaments that he's excited about...It's been covered a million times, but here's one million and one on PokerStars signing Neymar. Let's discuss what Neymar can do for Stars in this edition of the Weekly Flop.

Pacquiao the Poker Whale?

Famed boxer Manny Pacquiao has an estimated net worth of $175 million, which is worth about a gazillion Philippine pesos (or 7.82 billion to be more accurate). So this is a guy who can afford to splash a little money around at the poker table. But according to Sports Illustrated, the 36-year-old has lost more than a little playing poker.

SI's Chris Mannix writes that Pacquiao would "routinely drop $100,000 at the poker tables," which put him at a "crossroads" in life. And this crossroads didn't phase him as he often took on some of the world's best poker players. One good account of this was when Pacquiao was playing against Justin 'BoostedJ' Smith; the latter forced a fold with rags and a $100k bet. Pacquiao then got up like he was going to fight Smith, only to shake his hand and laugh.

For a guy who's done everything from serve in the Philippine House of Representatives to play professional basketball, it's little surprise that Pacquiao's competitive spirit has found the poker tables too. And while he might not yet be ready to beat top high stakes players, it's admirable that he's at least willing to try.

Antonius looking forward to WSOP...Cash Games

Any time that there's a big poker event happening, you can bet that there'll be some accompanying cash games too. The WSOP is certainly no exception because Vegas is filled with major cash action. And it's solely for this reason why Patrik Antonius is looking forward to the 2015 WSOP.

"If you look at my last four years, I have not really played any tournaments at the WSOP. It's more of a cash game thing for me, and it looks like it will be the same this year," Antonius told PokerNews. "Mixed games have not been so good, I have not had such good results with them in recent years and I find them a little boring. I like to play big bet games where you can make big decisions."

The last comment is in reference to a $4,000/$8,000 Limit 8-Game table that was running. However, it appears that Antonius is instead hoping for big NL Hold'em and PLO games. As for what he said about not playing many tournaments, well, this is definitely backed up by his results. Antonius' last WSOP cash was a 9th-place effort in the 2011 WSOP Europe Main Event (€90,000). So it seems likely that he'll stay close to his word and mainly play cash games this summer in Vegas.

Neymar yet Another Strategic Add by PokerStars

PokerStars made their biggest signing since Rafael Nadal after inking a deal with Neymar. The Brazilian footballer, who also has a penchant for poker, will represent Team SportStars, with the exact details (i.e. live tournament participation) being somewhat murky. Regardless of how many live events Neymar attends, his association with PokerStars figures to be huge, given his massive social media following. The FC Barcelona forward boasts over 51 million Facebook followers and another 18 million Twitter subscribers. Just Neymar's name recognition and sports background alone could pay big dividends for Stars. However, when you add in the social media factor, it's even easier to see why PokerStars signed him. The financials of this deal are under wraps, however, we can only imagine that it was a massive sum. After all, they were willing to give Swedish footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic "€3-4 million" annually, and Ibrahimovic doesn't quite have the following of Neymar.