It’s probably unsurprising to hear that footballers are a competitive bunch, but for some of them, their drive to win doesn’t stop when they take off their football boots. While we’re sure some of them like to play online slots, some of these players love to test their mettle by playing skill-based casino games such as poker.
Join us as we take a look at 8 former and current football players who have made a reasonable amount of money playing this card game, as well as some players who might not have disclosed their winnings but are known to play or be involved in the game.
1. David Levi
Total live winnings: More than $4,000,000 (£2,917,300)
David Levi is definitely not a household name, at least when it comes to football. He is a former player for Israeli team Hapoel Ramat Gan, but this aspiring football player’s professional career was cut short after a devastating knee injury.
Since he would no longer be able to play, Levi decided to move to California, where his roommate, Amir Vahedi, introduced him to poker. It was clear that Levi had a talent for the game as he worked his way up from the smaller games into bigger and bigger poker events. It was this skill that motivated his move to Las Vegas.
In 2019 this polite but talented poker player won Event 2 of the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open, which helped tip his career earnings over $4 million.
2. Jan Vang Sorensen
Total live winnings: Approximately $2,200,000 (£1,604,515)
Jan Vang Sorensen was a professional Danish soccer player until he experienced a career-ending knee injury at the age of 30. However, this former footballer had picked up some poker skills (specifically seven-card stud) during his sporting career and decided to use them to earn a living after he discovered he could no longer play football.
He made his first appearance at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in 1995 and has since gone on to claim two WSOP bracelets, as well as several other WSOP money finishes. He also played in numerous other tournaments, including the Unibet Open, World Poker Tour, and Master Classics of Poker.
3. Gerard Pique
Total live winnings: Approximately $670,000 (£488,647.75)
The current defender for FC Barcelona and Catalonia national football team doesn’t only tear it up on the field, he also has a better than average understanding of poker, having won approximately $670,000 across five major poker tournaments.
This full-time footballer and part-time poker player has played in four European Poker Tour events since 2011, as well as a single Pokerstars Championship event in 2017. His last major win was during the 2019 European Poker Tour, where he claimed a second-place finish and $392,515.
4. Tony Cascarino
Total live winnings: Approximately $595,000 (£433,948.38)
Tony Cascarino is a former football pro who played for various British and French clubs, as well as the Irish national side. He last played for the Irish squad in 1999 and hung up his boots after just two appearances for Red Star Football Club.
With his footie days behind him, he began his career as a semi-professional poker player. He has played in various events throughout his career, including the European Poker Tour, the Caribbean Poker Classic, and the Ladbrokes Poker Cruise. He’s achieved three first place wins across his career, with his biggest prize being $283,412.
5. Vikash Dhorasoo
Total live winnings: Approximately $527,000 (£384,354.28)
Vikash Dhorasoo is a French former pro-footballer who played for various French clubs during his career, including Le Havre, Lyon, and Paris Saint-Germain. He helped Lyon claim two French Ligue 1 championship titles in 2003 and 2004. He also played for the French national squad between 1999 and 2006. After a dispute over his contract with Livorno in 2007, he retired from professional play.
Since 2007 he has played in various poker tournaments, with his largest win being $208,888 in 2009 for Event 11 of the Grand Prix de Paris.
6. Teddy Sheringham
Total live winnings: Approximately $329,000 (£239,947.92)
After a 24-year professional career playing football for various English clubs, including Millwall, Tottenham Hotspur, and Manchester United, as well as 51 appearances for the English national team, former striker Teddy Sheringham took his skills to the poker table. Since 2005 he’s competed in the World Series of Poker, the European Poker Tour (EPT), as well as the Palm Beach Big Game. His biggest win was a 5th place finish in the EPT in 2010, where he took home $118,346. His second biggest prize was a respectable $66,738 at the 2009 World Series of Poker Europe event.
7. Tomas Brolin
Total live winnings: Approximately $78,000 (£56,887.35)
Tomas Brolin is a former professional football player who played as a forward and midfielder for the Sweden national team, as well as various football clubs. He cemented his place in the history books as the player who eliminated the English team from Euro 92. Unfortunately, an ankle injury in 1994 meant he was never able to perform as he did during his peak years, and he officially retired from play in 1998.
He played in various poker events between 2006 and 2008, claiming his career peak $60,129 win at the EPT Grand Final in 2008.
Total live winnings: Approximately $45,000
Does the legendary Ronaldo even need an introduction? This Brazilian footballer captivated the hearts and minds of football fans around the world before health issues forced him to hang up his boots for good in 2011.
However, the former glory of this football player followed him into the poker scene, where, even though he’s only played two major events, he managed to claim a very respectable $42,180 during his first game. He’s also been a brand ambassador for various major poker brands over the years.
There are undoubtedly many other professional and former professional footballers who enjoy poker, but not everyone plays competitively or shares details of their earnings from the poker tables. Here are some other incredible pros and former pros who have been spotted playing or have become brand ambassadors for various poker brands:
- Andriy Shevchenko
- Cristiano Ronaldo
- Francesco Totti
- Gianluigi Buffon
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