Did ex-footballer Thomas Gravesen lose £54 million in one night of poker?

Jon Pill
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Posted on 02/21/2021

According to recent reports Thomas Gravesen, the ex-soccer player, has won tens of millions of pounds at poker. That’s on top of investments he made using his salary as a soccer player.

After leaving Denmark for the U.K, he earned himself the nickname “Mad Dog” in a game where tackling too hard can put you on the bench for a season. Even in retirement, he seems to have kept that energy up.

After retiring in 2009, Gravesen moved again, this time heading to Vegas. His new competitive outlet is poker. And he’s good at it — according to him at least. In an interview with BT, a Danish magazine, Mad Dog claims to have made over £80 million ($112 million) from poker.

The rumor mill

Gravesen’s winnings sound like a lot until you realize the stakes he plays at. Unverified claims from TwoPlusTwo suggest he lost £54 million in just one night of poker. This makes Bilzerian’s unverified (and probably spurious) claim of winning $50 million in a year look embarrassingly unambitious.

Like Bilzerian, the claims about Gravesen’s poker prowess are widely contested, and nothing short of his IRS filings are likely to clear that up. Gravesen might be a more reliable narrator than Bilzerian, but that’s damning with the faintest of praise.

He is certainly bankrolled for the nosebleeds. Unlike many sports stars, he was a canny investor, putting money aside and not just feeding his salary into the woodchipper of romances and totaled Lamborghinis. Though he’s had a few of the former, including at least one porn actress and the Czech model Kamila Persse.

He married the latter and moved with her to Vegas. Tennis star Steffi Graf and thespian Nicholas Cage are both now neighbours of Gravesen, though no one can confirm if he invites them to his home games.

Footballers on the felt

Gravesen is not the first soccer player to take to the felt.

Neymar De Santos Silva Junior (better known as Neymar) signed a deal with PokerStars last year. In fact, Stars has had a long-running series of sports personalities patched up and shilling for them.

As well as other soccer players like Ronaldo and Gianluigi Buffon, Stars has also hired tennis players Boris Becker and Rafael Nadal, plus field hockey players, cross-country skiers, and racing drivers.

Gravesen certainly isn’t the first competitor to change lanes and take up poker, but he might be one of the most successful. Though the real question is how one gets an invite to one of his games.

Featured image source: Twitter