Sports

7 Sports Stars Who Are Talented Poker Players

Few fans realize when a favorite former athlete finds a new sport, of sorts. Retirement from pro sports brings athletes to all kinds of places in their lives, and some end up at a poker table. In fact, more former pro athletes from the NFL, international soccer, and even cricket are into the game. These seven players are especially good at playing poker.

7. Ronaldo aka “Brazilian Ronaldo”

Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima, better known as Ronaldo, is a retired pro soccer player who achieved 200 goals before he turned 23. His career includes two world cup victories and a Golden Boot award for being the leading scorer for the 1996-97 season. After retiring, his friend André Akkari taught him the finer points of poker playing.

Ronaldo eventually caught the eye of PokerStars and was signed on for a whole new career. He’s earned decent change in most of his matches, but he won over $42,000 in the 2015 Caribbean Adventure event. Ronaldo’s live earnings currently lie around $45,700.

6. Orel Hershiser

Dodgers fans remember pitcher Orel Hershiser as a three-time All-Star player during his career, which lasted from 1983 to 2000. Another notable record came in 1988 when Hershiser finished the season with 59 consecutive scoreless innings pitched, surpassing another famous Dodger, Don Drysdale.

After retirement, Hershiser became an early ambassador for PokerStars. In 2008, he came in fifth place at the NBC National, winning a whopping $75,000. He’s also made $23,000 more playing poker circuits over the years. His live earnings fall within the $98,600 range.

5. Boris Becker

Former international tennis star Boris Becker had a great career. Turning pro at age 17, he won the Tennis World Young Masters singles title as well as a Wimbledon title before turning 18. Becker retired in 1999 with six Grand Slam titles and over $25 million in winnings.

Not long after that, he gained sponsorship from PokerStars. Becker won some decent pots over the years, but the most notable was the 2009 Diamond World Poker Championship. He came in 40th place and earned over $40,000. Becker’s poker earnings add up to about $111,416.

4. Shane Warne

A pro cricket player from 1992 to 2007, Shane Warne’s personal bests include a test score of 99. In the 1994-95 season, the Australian had an impressive bowling figure of 8 of 71 during a game against England.

After retirement, Warne showed his competitive side at the poker table, winning a nice amount of money mostly on the Australian circuit. His most notable achievement came in 2010 when he played at the Victoria Poker Championship. He won over $35,000 for placing third. So far, Warne has earned over $137,000 as a pro poker player.

3. Gerard Piqué

This Spanish defender has a World Cup and several Champion league titles under his belt. Gerard Piqué plays center back for Barcelona, whereas most of his poker-playing colleagues are retired from their respective sports.

Barcelona is also the home of the European Poker Tour. Piqué makes quite a lot of money playing there and even scored $150,400 in 2017. He also pocketed $391,000 by placing second in the tournament. This brings Piqué’s career winnings to $668,155.

2. Audley Harrison

From 2001 to 2014, Audley Harrison enjoyed a long and lucrative career as a boxer. He’ll always be most known for his time at the 2000 Summer Olympics, where he won a gold medal in the super heavyweight class.

Harrison got into poker before retiring. He made a splash in 2007 when he won $76,895 for placing runner-up in the Bellagio III event. In 2019, Harrison came in third at a Venetian event, winning a total of $90,298. His career winnings currently total $259,430.

1. Richard Seymour

A three-time Super Bowl champ, Richard Seymour has played in seven Pro Bowls. Considered one of the best draft picks of all time, the defensive tackle began his career at the University of Georgia and was drafted by the Patriots, where his football profession really took off.

Seymour played poker for many years, but his winnings really showed up in 2014. He’s played in World Poker Tours and the World Series of Poker. In 2018, Seymour made big news when he placed third at a Roller event and won $376,360. His winnings, so far, come to $640,843.