Although you may not think it straight away, there are certainly similarities between the games of football and poker. Both games require their players to be strong, both mentally and physically. Once this connection is made, it doesn’t seem so surprising that numerous stars of professional football have moved on to the poker table once their primary career has come to an end. Here are a few examples of well-known footballers who have had success in professional poker.
Goalkeeper Gigi Buffon is a rare example of an active football star who maintains a presence in poker. He was signed to a “sports star” contract with Pokerstars.com in 2010, and since then has appeared at events all around the world. Buffon apparently loves the challenge, and it is predicted that he will really excel at the game once he has retired from football.
Jan Molby, former Liverpool player, has also had some significant success in the poker world. Finishing 45th in the EPT Copenhagen main event caught the attention of online poker site Bet24, who offered him a contract. Like Buffon, Molby now plays for the site at major events worldwide.
Teddy Sheringham is one of the most recognisable former footballers who now play poker successfully. Whilst Sheringham began playing poker in US casinos towards the end of his football career, he seriously adopted the game when he retired in 2002. His breakthrough performance came at the 2009 WSOP Europe, where he finished 14th.
Sheringham may be the most easily recognised, but his relative success does not compare to that of former Irish national Tony Cascarino. Cascarino’s largest career win was at the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour Grand Final in London, 2008, taking home $283,412 and his first major title.
Poker and football are both intense games that require high levels of concentration, spot on decisions and a commitment to improving one’s performance. Skills from one are transferable to the other, and this paves the way for a highly lucrative future for players of both.