Poker is known as one of the most popular card games in history with players ranging from the Average Joe to world-class athletes. There have been plenty of stories of the latter, which have also become urban legends, with many professional athletes transitioning to poker once retiring from their sport.
When tennis comes to mind, the last thing that’s thought about is poker; however, these athletes have lives outside the sport and it turns out that there are a few players that have the skills and confidence to sit down and play a high-stakes game of poker.
We’ve taken the liberty to connect with our poker expert, Kevin Cochran, (check out his profile on https://casinocanada.com), who has provided us with the following information regarding the poker habits of famous tennis stars.
Why Would They Play Poker?
It would be easy to assume that poker and tennis have nothing in common; however, the two have a few similarities. For example, a singles tennis match requires the player to make important decisions in a short timeframe and the same happens in poker. This means that players need to have strong analytical skills, which is also a requirement in poker.
According to psychological reports, the change in activities allows tennis stars to recharge and return to the sport as better players. Poker is also quite popular amongst male tennis players, with many of the best of them partaking in the activity and even finding some success at major tournaments.
The following players enjoy both poker and tennis.
Boris Becker is a tennis legend with the German player claiming the Wimbledon championship three times. Since his golden years, he has directed his attention to poker and has had no trouble adjusting to the pressure and the level of concentration that’s needed when it comes to playing the game.
Since making the transition to poker, Becker has claimed C$111,000 in total earnings and this includes his largest win of C$40,855 when he finished 40th in the Five Star World Poker Classic in 2009 that had taken place in Las Vegas.
Becker had also managed a 49th place finish in a Berlin tournament in 2013 – which is incredibly impressive.
Rafael Nadal is the greatest clay-court player of all time, but he also enjoys poker. However, the tennis legend is yet to claim his spot as one of the poker greats. Nadal has no live results, but this is expected as he’ll likely have more time to perfect his poker skills once he retires from the game.
Patrick De Koster
The Dutch former tennis player has had an unfortunate career that has been plagued with injuries; however, this may have been a silver lining as he had found his love for poker during this period. De Koster had managed to win C$282,544 while playing poker, with his biggest win coming from his win of the WPT National Series that had taken place in C$196,652.
This saw him take home C$196,652 while beating Pete Linton and he had also cashed in over C$40,000 at the 2010 WSOP Main Event while finishing 247th.
Gus Hansen was deemed an impressive player during his early years; however, after claiming a championship in his youth, he opted to trade tennis for backgammon. This was a short-lived phase that saw him make a swift transition to poker.
Much like Patrick De Koster, Patrik Antonius had a tennis career that was filled with injuries as persistent back injuries forced the Finnish tennis player into early retirement. However, this saw him make a transition to poker where he has dominated the game.
Antonius has raked in millions of dollars during the Full Tilt years of poker and this includes a figure of C$12 million in live poker tournament winnings. He is now seen as one of the biggest gains of the poker industry. This is a high-roller that might not be found in the best online Canadian casinos; however, you will be able to see him play live.
The former Russian tennis prodigy had traded his racquet for a deck of cards and has since managed a 9th place finish in the 2005 WSOP Seven Card Stud event. Yevgeny Kafelnikov has managed to make C$193,905 in poker earnings.
David Benyamine is a French former tennis player that had spent many years on the court before switching to poker. Benyamine has preferred the poker lifestyle over strenuous tennis matches and training.