The popularity and respect for poker is growing rapidly around the world. The card game is no longer perceived as entertainment. In many countries, poker is considered a sport and tournaments and championships are organised regularly. Not surprisingly, many professional sportsmen take up poker. Most of them are football players. Some sports stars even excel at poker, achieving big victories in prestigious tournaments. Find out which football celebrities love poker.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
This Portuguese player is adored around the world. He is respected for his professionalism and hard work. Therefore, Ronaldo is always associated with success. It’s not for nothing that PokerStars has invited the footballer to join the ranks of its top ambassadors. As might have been foreseen, numerous football fans were quick to connect to poker and gambling in general. It was Ronaldo’s credibility that popularised numerous gambling sites like https://www.nongamstopsites.co.uk. Fans started playing slots, poker and making money from sports betting, which is also very relevant in the case of football matches.
It also turned out that Cristiano Ronaldo is an excellent poker player himself. He has participated in numerous competitions, although he hasn’t had any serious wins. The footballer admits that he regularly plays poker with his friends. It is one of his main hobbies.
2. Gianluigi Buffon
The famous Italian goalkeeper, who plays for Parma, has distinguished himself by his scandalous reputation. For him, excitement and a professional footballing career have become one. Gianluig has been a PokerStars ambassador for over four years. He’s heavily involved in promoting the card game and regularly attends high-profile tournaments himself. But the craving for gambling doesn’t end there.
Twice the Italian goalkeeper has been embroiled in scandals linked with match-fixing. Gianluigi Buffon, as a goalkeeper, can easily influence the outcome of a football match. And in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Buffon was accused of being involved in illegal betting. And he was allegedly facing €1m for his part in the arrangement. The second time an identical scandal broke out was in 2012. Once again Gianluigi Buffon was accused of deliberately conceding a goal to his team.
3. Ronaldo de Lima
This was the first footballer of international fame to openly promote the card game. After all, Ronaldo himself just loves poker and you can regularly meet him in gaming rooms. In one interview Ronaldo said that he does not always have free time to visit the gaming establishment or go to a tournament. Then he plays poker at an online casino.
Ronaldo has been the official face of PokerStars for more than eight years. But the footballer is also a successful professional poker player. He first became acquainted with this game in 2000. The football team was lodged in a hotel with a casino. Deciding to have some fun, Ronaldo went down to the room and stayed there for almost a full day. Since then, he has been constantly improving his playing skills. In 2015, the footballer even won prize money of $45,000 by participating in a poker tournament in the Bahamas.
The real star of the Paris Saint-Germain club, and one of the best wingers in the world. This athlete is at the height of his fame. He has enormous fees and, consequently, the opportunity to play to his full potential. But in a year, Neymar will turn 30, and that is the age of the beginning of the end of his football career. And when asked by journalists what he wants to do after he retires from big sport, Neymar replied that he opted for professional poker.
The footballer has been spotted at the gaming tables more than once. He even participated in a Brazilian tournament in 2018 and earned €20,000. Experts have done an analysis of Neymar’s poker game and stated that he has a huge talent in this field. Neymar could indeed manage to break into the world rankings of the best poker players.
5. Tony Cascarino
This is a footballer who can safely be described as the most successful poker player. The Irish striker has played about 90 successful matches for the national team. He managed to take part in the World Cup twice, replaced 5 top European football clubs. But in 2007, Cascarino was touted as a rising poker star. He attended a London tournament and won prize money of $45,000.
Exactly one year later the player went to a poker tournament in Bolton and won $98,000.
In 2009, Tony Cascarino announced his participation in the Grosvenor United Kingdom. The player won it and received a $293,000 bonus for taking first place. Experts estimate that the Irishman was able to earn a total of about $600,000 for all his poker victories. He is currently the most prolific footballer in the field of gambling entertainment.
6. Gerard Pique
This Spanish footballer has always been valued for his high intellectual abilities. He is an excellent strategist and has a well-thought-out tactic on the field. This has also enabled him to enjoy success in the gambling world. Pique admits that poker has become a real passion of his. He reads specialised books on gambling and even studied poker with professionals. Peake’s biggest tournament success is on the European Poker Tour. The Spaniard came second in Barcelona and received a €355,000 prize money.