Professional football players turned professional poker players? Why not? Check out the list of top 7 poker playing footballers.
Being a professional footballer pays well, that is if you’re good and playing in the right league. But what happens when it’s time to call it a day? The most common career paths for footballers are coaching or media, and less common ones include business ventures and in some cases a complete change of direction.
Top 7 footballers successful in poker
• Retired and current footballers enjoy playing poker under British gambling laws
• Check out the list of the seven most successful names
• Ronaldo and Buffon are serving as PokerStars brand ambassadors
However, recently more and more professional footballers are transforming into poker players. The trend can be seen all over the world, but the largest number of former football stars can be seen playing at British poker rooms.
While some footballers will join an occasional live poker tournament for fun, but others consider playing at live and online poker sites in the United Kingdom as a full-time job. There’s also a large portion of football pros regarding poker as a way to kill time while traveling to away matches or in between seasons.
Why do professional footballers turn to poker?
A renowned online poker expert had the following to share on the topic: “It’s definitely about the competitive nature of poker. If age or injury have stopped you getting that on the football pitch, a lot of former players opt to play poker for the same buzz – the highs, lows and banter.”
Let’s take a closer look at a selection of top seven football professionals that have turned to poker and managed to achieve notable success.
Top 7 footballers successful in poker
1. Jan Vang Sorensen
Jan Vang Sorensen was a renowned Danish player forced to retire from Odense at the age of 30 due to injury. While the Danish football league may not be a lucrative place for a coaching career, Sorensen has quickly found a brand new occupation – poker. He even said that he got hooked on poker while traveling during his career as a footballer. Sorensen’s life-time poker earnings are currently well over $2,000,000, not bad for an amateur.
2. Tony Cascarino
Cascarino has enjoyed his time as a striker playing for Shelsea, Millwall and even Marseille. Tony has also put in a number of appearances for the Irish national team. When it was time to hang up the boots, Tony Cascarino has ventured into media and has been commenting football matches and providing expert opinion ever since.
However, Cascarino has also become a semi-professional poker player. His most notable achievements include over $500,000 winnings in live tournament poker, featuring a famous GBP 168,800 first place in the GUKPT Grand Final held under British gambling laws.
3. Teddy Sheringham
Tony Cascarino had a friend in his Millwall days – Teddy Sheringham. Well he still does, and has even named his son Teddy in Sheringham’s honor. Teddy played for Tottenham and Manchester United, also appearing in England squad. Just like Cascarino, Teddy has also joined the world of poker when his football career ended.
Sheringham has collected over $300,000 at poker tables during his career as a card man. The most memorable win came in 2010 at a European Poker Tour event, when he finished first and took home $127,000. He also managed to finish 14th out of around 3,000 at the world’s top poker tourney – the World Series of Poker Main Event.
4. Jan Molby
His Liverpool years may be over, but Jan Molby is now enjoying quite a success on the international poker arena. After his retirement from playing he had some time taking part in managing Swansea, Kidderminster Harriers, and Hull, but poker seems to be where he managed to achieve more success. He participated in a number of renowned tournaments and can still be seen at poker tables worldwide.
Former Real Madrid and Brazil star striker, Ronaldo, has been signed onto the PokerStars team last year. His football skills cannot be doubted, but he’s still to achieve major success at the poker tables. His signing is mostly regarded as a publicity stunt, but the man can play, and he does enjoy participating in various tournaments.
Here’s what he had to say about joining the world’s top poker operator: “I always look to give my best in everything, in football and in life. Poker is another challenge that excites me.”
6. Gerard Pique
Playing poker is not only for the retired footballers. Several renowned professionals manage to shine both on the green football pitches and at the green poker tables. One such example is the Barcelona defender Gerard Pique. Shakira’s boyfriend manages to combine his two passions and is pretty successful at poker too.
Pique, who’s also an integral part of Spain’s national team, has been on top of the leaderboard at the 44th World Series of Poker Main Event for a while. But his luck has disappeared and he busted out. His other memorable achievements include a nice $56,000 paycheck at one of the EPT Barcelona events in 2011. Luckily he didn’t have to travel far to play there.
7. Gianluigi Buffon
Gianluigi Buffon may transfer fear into the eyes of opponent strikes defending Juventus and Italy’s goal. However, he’s unique eye contact is also intimidating poker players at various live tournaments. It all started a few years back when Buffon was invited to participate in a charity poker event. He recalls that he immediately fell in love with the game and now plays every chance he gets.
He proceeded to play online for a while before being noticed by PokerStars team after picking up a couple of sizeable pots. He is now their brand ambassador, managing to combine marketing with actual play. Once his career is over Buffon hopes to become a real poker professional.