The main event of the World Series of Poker is currently taking place at the Rio in Las Vegas Nevada. The main event is arguably the most prestigious event on the poker circuit and draws poker professionals from across the world. However, the last few years the tournament has also started to be a major attraction for some of the biggest celebrities and sportstars in the business.
This year the WSOP has played host to some of the most popular professional athletes in the world. Shane Warne, ex-Australian cricketer and legend, Spain and FC Barcelona’s star footballer Gerard Piqué, NASCAR driver Jason White, Richard Seymour from the National Football League’s (NFL), Martin Kampmann from UFC’s, Earl Barron and Paul Pierce from the NBA are just some of the big name sportstars that have decided to compete at the WSOP.
One thing all of these sportstars have in common is that they are extremely competitive and love the fact that they can get to play and complete with professionals from different backgrounds, ethnicities and countries. The fact that the prize money is in the millions is an added advantage as all of these professional athletes are multi-millionaires already.
These professional athletes have trained themselves over the years to be patient, persistent and mentally strong. All these attributes are critical when it comes to playing poker and the transition just seems natural. Professional athletes also use poker as a chance to socialize and relax as unlike their respective sports, they do not run any risk of injury, making the game of poker a very compelling proposition to decline.
In an interview, Paul Pierce said
I have grown to love the game over the last seven to eight years. It is very competitive and mentally challenging. It helps with my patience, because in poker, you have to have a lot of patience, and that translates to the court where it helps me make the right decisions at the right time.
While some of these professional athletes play the game to relax and have fun, most of them are serious when it comes to playing poker. Stars like Shane Warne and tennis ace Rafael Nadal is part of Pokerstars have hired professional coaches to train and mentor them. Both players and spectators who watched Spain’s Gerard Piqué playing could tell that he has spent time learning and playing the game. The game of poker is such that anyone can win at any given time and from the look of things, it may not be long before a professional athlete wins the WSOP main event.