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It’s not just Ronaldo – Other professional athletes that play poker

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Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most famous and successful footballers of our time. The striker has played for some of the world’s biggest clubs, including Manchester United and Real Madrid. It was when playing for the Spanish side that he managed to score more goals (324) than the number of games he played in (292). 

Football isn’t his only interest though. The Portuguese legend has built up a large business empire, using his likeness to promote products for brands like Nike and EA Sports. He’s even had an international airport named after him.

Football is also not his only sport either. He loves playing baseball and riding his bike. The British tabloid newspaper, the Daily Star, even reported in 2008 that he loves playing bingo after he was given a DVD game as a gift. 

This latter one shouldn’t be too surprising. It is well known that Ronaldo also enjoys having a flutter and is an avid poker player. He’s known to play it with his friends as a way to relax after football matches. He’s also taken part in tournaments and promotional games against other celebrities. 

But Ronaldo isn’t alone; many other professional athletes play poker too.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce played in the NBA for almost two decades. Signing for the Boston Celtics in 1998 before moving to the Brooklyn Nets, Washington Wizards, and Los Angeles Clippers for his final few years. 

During that time, he won the NBA Championship with the Celtics in 2008, played in the NBA All-Star game 10 times, and was awarded the NBA Finals MVP. 

Outside of basketball, Pierce loves poker. His favourite game is pot-limit Omaha and he’s been spotted several times playing in games in Las Vegas casinos, most frequently the Rio.

He even entered the Pot-Limit Omaha Championship on several occasions, though he’s never been able to win it. 

MS Dhoni

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (MS Dhoni) is one of India’s most successful cricket players. The wicket-keeper batsman was the captain of the Indian national team between 2007 and 2016, leading it to victory in the ICC World Twenty20 tournament, the Asia Cup, ICC Champions Trophy and the ICC Cricket World Cup. He’s also been a pivotal player in the success of the Chennai Super Kings team in the Indian Premier League. 

Like many other athletes, MS Dhoni is a keen poker player. This can be seen from his role as a PokerStars Ambassador, which has seen him star in several video commercials for the company, including ones where he plays against members of the public online. In one, Dhoni is seen repairing a motorbike while playing poker on his tablet against Roy, a mathematician and rock music fan. 

Richard Seymour

Richard Seymour was a defensive lineman in the NFL between 2001 and 2012 after being a first-round pick in the NFL Draft of 2001. He spent most of his career playing for the New England Patriots, where he helped the team win three Super Bowls. 

He made seven Pro Bowl appearances, as well as playing in a special New England Patriots 50th Anniversary Team. 

After hanging up his helmet, Seymour turned to poker. He has since become a professional player, generating more than half a million dollars while competing in live games. He even took part in the World Series of Poker Main Event, though he only finished 131st. 

Teddy Sheringham

Teddy Sheringham is another former Manchester United player that enjoys poker. During his time at Old Trafford, he helped the club to three Premier League titles, as well as the UEFA Champions League and the FA Cup. Although he left United in 2001, he continued to play professionally until he retired in 2008. 

It was then that Sheringham began playing poker, where he mostly took part in no-limit Texas Hold’em games. While playing, he managed to win a total of around £300,000 before returning to football as a manager. 

He began working at his former club, West Ham, training players on attacking techniques, before getting the job as Stevenage manager and then at ATK in India. However, on both occasions, he didn’t stay in the role long. Perhaps he should have stuck to poker.

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