Last week, we told you about five European footballers who became poker players when they hung up their boots. Before that, we introduced five stalwarts of British football who swapped the football pitch for the poker felt. But what about those from further afield?
We’ve scoured the globe and found five more footballers who love to mix it at the poker table. They are some of the biggest names in the game and could be playing in a poker tournament near you. Well, some of them, that is…
There’s no doubt that the poker world loves a Ronaldo playing poker. But while we’re choosing to look the other way from Cristiano’s efforts in a stagey showdown against Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul, the original Ronaldo may have been a slightly different proposition on the football pitch, but he has proved his poker chops at the felt in two separate tournaments.
While Ronaldo’s most recent cash was a 7th-placed finish in the 2016 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $1,100-entry Six-Max event at the Atlantis Resort, bubbling the final table, that event only had 77 entries. The $10,000 2015 PCA Main Event saw the Inter Milan and Real Madrid legend finish 26th out of 816 entries, earning an impressive $42,180. As so many commentators said of the Brazilian legend during his career, a lovely finish.
Hipólito ‘Poli’ Rincón can lay claim to many highlights in his life, among them 10 goals in 22 appearances for Spain at International level – including at the 1986 World Cup – and 78 in 223 for Real Betis. He even played for Los Blancos, a.k.a. Real Madrid as a youngster.
But in Spain, Rincón has been known as an online poker player for many years, and has performed well at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and on the Estrellas Poker Tour too. Pinpoint accuracy.
3. David Levi
Sure, David Levi only played professional football for Hapoel Ramat Gan, who play at the Ramat Gan Stadium to a maximum of 13,370 fans (weather permitting). But he was a professional footballer, and the Israeli player more than deserves his place on our list thanks to his prowess at the poker table.
Having cashed an incredible 37 times at the World Series of Poker, Levi has won a humongous $4 million in live tournament winnings, including his biggest cash of $229,540 for coming 3rd at the 2007 Mandalay Bay Poker Championship in Las Vegas. To date, Levi has won an immense 32 ranking tournaments on the Hendon Mob. Top corner.
4. Vikash Dhorasoo
French player Vikash Dhorasoo has excelled at the live felt, winning over half a million dollars. Admittedly, some of those cashes of those cashes are in his homeland of France (OK, 10 out of the 11 cashes he’s had) but the other was a very respectable 37th place finish at the EPT Berlin Main Event in 2010.
Having played for Paris St. Germain, Le Havre and Lyon, Dhorasoo was also an unused A.C. Milan substitute in the 2005 UEFA Champions League Final, when Liverpool beat the Rossoneri on penalties. If only they’d gone with the Frenchman, who would have been all-in and committed.
It may seem slightly unfair to other former footballers to have included Neymar in this list. After all, the Brazilian star striker has only cashed in one live event, the 2018 High Roller which formed part of the Brazilian Series of Poker (BSOP) in Sao Paulo.
The reason we’ve highlighted Neymar Junior’s power in poker is not only for his present, but the future. It’s quite possible that the good friend of Felipe Ramos takes to the felt in a more serious way once his career, which has included long spells at Barcelona and Paris St. Germain, is over. We certainly hope so!