10 world-class athletes who are also poker stars
Published by: Jon SofenPosted on: February 22, 2021 2:11 pm EST
You know these athletes for their prowess on the field of play, but you may not realize that they also have a passion for poker. There are 10 sports superstars who also know how to get a triple-barrel bluff through. Some of them might come as a bit of a surprise. They are sneaky good poker players, many of whom play for the highest stakes. See if you can guess the 10 top athletes who are also poker stars.
1.Richard Seymour (NFL)
You probably remember Richard Seymour as a fierce defensive lineman for the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. But you may not realize he’s turned out quite an impressive poker career since he retired from pro football after 12 seasons. In 2012, he turned his poker hobby into quite a career. The former Texas A&M Aggie has over $600,000 in live tournament cashes, including a 3rd place finish in the 2018 $25,000 PokerStars PCA High Roller.
2.Boris Becker (Tennis)
Boris Becker is one of the greatest tennis stars of all-time, and also one of the greatest German athletes in history. But did you know that he’s served as a brand ambassador for two major poker sites? The six-time Grand Slam tournament champion signed as a PokerStars Team Pro member in 2007 and then moved on to GGPoker in 2020. This poker star athlete loves the game a lot more than paying off debts, however. The German tennis sensation filed bankruptcy in 2017 over a £3.3 million debt he refused to pay off.
3.Paul Pierce (NBA)
Paul Pierce, who retired from the NBA in 2017, is a lock for the Basketball Hall of Fame. He spent 15 seasons with the storied Boston Celtics franchise, and averaged 21.8 points per game during that span. The future Hall of Famer has since taken up poker as more than just a hobby. He’s appeared on shows like “Poker After Dark,” and even came close to reaching the money in the 2015 WSOP Main Event.
4.Allen Iverson (NBA)
What are we talking about? Practice? We talking about practice? No, we’re talking about one of the NBA’s all-time most feared scorers who also loves to play some cards. “The Answer” was a fierce competitor on the basketball court for 17 seasons in the NBA, 12 with the Philadelphia 76ers. That competitive nature has boiled over to the poker table since retirement, as he showed in a 2021 Poker Kings video with poker G.O.A.T. Phil Ivey. This poker star athlete, alongside Ivey, took his shot at the 2021 WPT Spring Festival Main Event.
5.Michael Phelps (Swimming)
Michael Phelps is the Phil Hellmuth of the Summer Olympics. Like Hellmuth, who easily has the record for WSOP bracelets (15), Phelps has 23 gold medals in swimming, 14 more than any other Olympian in history, in any sport. Away from the pool, he’s a regular in high-stakes poker games around the U.S., and has become a staple in Las Vegas during the WSOP.
6.Orel Hershiser (Baseball)
Orel Hershiser, who was a Los Angeles Dodgers ace starter in the 1980s, was as close to a Hall of Famer as one can get without getting in. He had 204 career wins with an impressive 3.48 ERA over 18 seasons, a mighty fine career. The long-time starting pitcher has played poker for many years. He’s been a regular athlete turned poker star in Hollywood high-stakes home games, and was a competitor in the televised NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship.
7.Terrence Chan (MMA)
Terrence Chan is perhaps the most talented gambler and poker player on this list. He could also beat up probably anyone else on the list. Chan was a star in mixed martial arts before he took up poker as a career. He’s been successful in high-stakes online games and is even a co-host on the DAT Poker Podcast with Daniel Negreanu and Adam Schwartz.
8.Shane Warne (Cricket)
Shane Warne, who hails from the Land Down Under (Australia), is without question one of the greatest cricketers of all-time. He took after his fellow countryman, Joe Hachem, on a path to a career in poker following retirement from cricket. Although he hasn’t won the WSOP Main Event like Hachem did in 2005, this poker star athlete has over $38,000 in World Series of Poker cashes and previously served as an ambassador for the 888poker poker site.
9.Cristiano Ronaldo (Soccer)
If you polled 100 soccer fans about who they think is the greatest soccer star ever, a large chunk of them would choose Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese forward is pretty much unstoppable on the pitch. On the felt, he’s not so bad either. In 2015, he joined fellow footballer Neymar Jr. as a brand ambassador for PokerStars, and has shown some poker skills on the virtual felt over the past few years.
10.Alex Rodriguez (Baseball)
Alex Rodriguez hit 696 homers in his brilliant big league career, third most all-time. He won three MVP awards and dominated the game of baseball during the 1990s and 2000s, perhaps with a bit of help from performance-enhancing drugs. A-Rod, who is worth nine figures and married to pop sensation Jennifer Lopez, is known as one of the regulars in the highest stakes underground poker games in the world in Hollywood and New York City. The athlete turned poker star even played in the famous games portrayed in the real-life movie “Molly’s Game.”