Sep 03, 2015
7 Footballers who Play Poker
By RTR Dennis
Poker and football are both very competitive games that require skill and an intense focus to win. So it's not surprising that some great football players have managed to cross over and achieve success in poker too. That said, let's look at 6 different footballers who can handle themselves on both the pitch and felt.
Neymar Jr. may not be the most-successful player on this list - in fact, he has no live cashes that we're aware of. But the guy definitely loves poker! Neymar first began sharing his joy of poker to his 30 million+ Instagram followers with highlights from home cash games. It wasn't long from here until PokerStars inked the FC Barcelona star to a sponsorship deal. Now Neymar participates in some of the biggest poker events in the world like EPT Barcelona, and he once proudly displayed a rare royal flush hand that he was dealt online.
2. Jan Vang Sorensen
A former player for Denmark's Odense BK, Sorensen isn't the best-known player on this list. And his football career was cut short when he suffered a serious knee injury at age 30. However, one important skill that the Dane did pick up during road trips was how to play poker. After starting out in live tournaments in the mid-1990s, Sorensen experienced his first big success by winning a 2002 WSOP $2,500 PLO event ($185,000). He captured a second gold bracelet in a 2005 WSOP Seven Card Stud tourney ($293,275) - his specialty game. Sorensen also won the 2008 Master Classics of Poker along with €623,100, which helped boost his career winnings over $2.1 million.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo
With over 300 career goals in the English Premier League and Spanish La Liga, Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest footballers of all time. And the amazing thing is that he probably has several good years left to continue adding to his legacy. But when he's not busy being a living legend, Ronaldo also enjoys playing poker. So it's little surprise that the Barcelona star joined his teammate, Neymar, on Team PokerStars as well.
4. Teddy Sheringham
Still known today for scoring Manchester United's famous equalizer in the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final against Bayern Munich, Teddy Sheringham was also part of three Premier League winners. Once his football career ended in 2008, Sheringham turned his attention towards poker, a game that he'd often played with teammates over the years. He experienced quick success after finishing 14th in the WSOP Europe Main Event (£40,481), followed by a fifth place finish at EPT Vilamoura ($118,347). His career live tournament winnings equal $329,477 to date.
Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima, simply known as "Ronaldo," is another football icon on this list, having scored 247 total goals while playing for the likes of Barcelona, Inter Milan and Real Madrid. He also netted 62 goals in 98 international appearances for the Brazilian national team and won a World Cup title in 2002. Aside from being one of the greatest strikers of all time, Ronaldo enjoys playing poker has been into the game for years. Preceding Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar, Ronaldo is also a member of Team PokerStars.
6. Tony Cascarino
Cascarino is the second most-successful poker player on this list, with $589,429 in live tournament winnings. Cascarino's career includes two Grosvenor UK Poker Tour titles - one in the 2008 Bolton Main Event (£52,850) and another in the 2009 London Main Event (£168,800). As for his football career, the Irishman played for two decades while amassing 248 goals on clubs like Millwall, Aston Villa, Celtic, Chelsea and Marseille. He also played in two World Cups (1990 and '94) for the Republic of Ireland and scored 19 international goals.
7. Gerard Piqué
Piqué is still in the heart of his playing career and currently mans the centre-back position for FC Barcelona. And with he, Ronaldo and Neymar all on the same club, we can only imagine that there are some competitive poker games on the team bus. He's also an important cog on the Spanish national team, having made 70 appearances for the squad. As for poker, Piqué has been a regular at EPT Barcelona and experienced great success there. He finished third in a 2011 Six-Max Turbo event (€40,950) and also took 19th in the 2013 EPT Barcelona High Roller (€21,150).