When PokerStars inked Rafael Nadal to be a brand ambassador back in June, a lot of people wondered whether the partnership was more a marketing ploy or something that could lead to bigger things. After all, Nadal has never been known to be as good a poker player as he was a tennis player, a place where the King of Clay and the fourth ranked player in the world earned his stripes as one of the best to have ever played the game.
But poker? Yeah, you could say that there are a few interested people waiting to see how good Rafa’s going to on the felt
All these questions are about to be answered after a recent report by Poker10.com said that Nadal has registered for the Spanish Championship of Online Poker Main Event, which will be held on December 9. The “ESCOOP” tournament series will run on PokerStars’ Spanish website, PokerStars.Es, with a buy-in of €200. The tournament is open to Spanish residents only.
Expect to see heavy traffic on the site when the tournament is being played as a lot of people will be curious to see how Rafa handles his first exposure to an online poker tournament series. He won’t be the only member of PokerStars’ “Team SportsStars” who will be competing; Tennis legend Boris Becker and Olympic gold medalists Fatima Moreira De Melo and Marcus are also scheduled to be part of the tournament. Make no mistake, though, all eyes are on Rafael Nadal where everyone wants to see if all those months training under “coach” Mayolas Issac has paid of.
Give the guy credit, too, because his putting his money – ok, maybe not his money – where his mouth is by competing in a tournament featuring some of the best online poker players in Spain. He’s got a huge bulls eye on his back now, but ever the competitor that he is, Nadal’s raring to serve his own ace and put the rest of the field on notice.
Rafael Nadal wants to make a name for himself in a different kind of surface. It’s not a clay court, it’s a felt table. And if you ask him, he probably wouldn’t mind being called the King of Felt, in addition to his King of Clay title, down the road.