There are several retired footballers who play poker on a professional level but there are also some guys who do the two things simultaneously.
Though soccer players are not always considered to be smart guys by those who bet on sport in the EU, there is a long list of former professional footballers who play poker on a high level. You can think of Ronaldo aka Il Fenomeno, the World Cup winning Brazilian genius of Barcelona, Inter, Real Madrid and AC Milan, or the former Tottenham and Manchester United star Teddy Sheringham. Republic of Ireland hero Tony Cascarino is also a good example, as well as Swedish legend Thomas Brolin.
And there is also a list of active footballers who play poker. Portugal and Real Madrid ace Cristiano Ronaldo and Brazil and Barcelona star Neymar Jr. are the most obvious examples. Both of them have affection for poker and they are also the ambassadors of Poker Stars. And there are several other footballers who play poker on a high level and amongst them Max Kruse headlined the news recently.
Max Kruse, one of the silliest footballers who play poker
VfL Wolfsburg Max Kruse must be obsessive with poker. And he is also quite good at it, having appeared in World Series of Poker events and also doing well, but this affection was costly for him. He is pushing for a place in Joachim Loew’s squad for the UEFA Euro 2016 tournament in the summer. However, after he won €75,000 ($83,000) – probably in cash games – and with a Nicklas Bendtnerish move he left all of it in a taxi in October, he was warned and fined by his club for playing poker without permission.
National team coach Loew also warned the player for his unprofessional behavior. However, the 28-year-old failed to improve his attitude and he was dropped from the German squad after his most recent off field incident. Not long ago he grabbed the mobile phone of a Bild reporter and he deleted the pictures that she had taken of him. Jogi Loew threw him out of his squad instantly, saying that he only needed professional, fully committed and focused players for the Euros who are also able to act as role models.
There might still be a way back for Kruse to the Germany squad before the Euros, but if he failed to make it, he can still spend the summer amongst other celebrities and footballers who play poker.
Gerard Pique, one of the definitive celebrity footballers who play poker
Being a World Cup winning and European champion centre back for Spain, a three-time Champions League winner for Barcelona, living with the ultimate celebrity wife Colombian singer Shakira and appearing in poker rooms regularly definitely qualify as a celebrity lifestyle. But the point is that Pique is also good at poker. Okay, he is not on the same level as a football player but whenever he has time to do that, he appears at the poker table – for example at high rollers tournaments and he is also able to make a considerable profit on the already big buy-in. Sadly for Kruse, his potential playing buddy would be representing Spain during the Euros.
Gianluigi Buffon, the online poker hero
The World Cup winning Italian goalkeeper of Juventus started his poker career as an unknown player at online poker sites in Italy. But it turned out soon that his poker skills are spot on, as he had won several online poker tournaments before Poker Stars offered him a role as an ambassador. Since then he regularly appears in poker tournaments and widely known as one of the best footballers who play poker. At 38 he is still the first choice goalkeeper for Italy and he is expected to stand in goal for the Squadra Azzurra this summer too.
Francesco Totti, the Gladiator of poker
The World Cup winning living legend of AS Roma just loves poker, nearly as much as football and his club. He also became an ambassador for Party Poker in 2010. On that occasion, he emphasized that similar mental skills are needed to become successful in football and poker, like patience, rationality and belief in victory. This can be a good advice for any footballers who play poker and also anyone who tries himself at online poker rooms.
Totti will turn 40 this September and hadn’t been representing Italy in ten years, so he might be one of the footballers who play poker with Kruse if he fails to make the Germany squad…