Football and poker are two incredibly popular games, mainly because of their intensity, entertainment and good moments, although in both some days are good and some days are bad! That's just the nature of the respective games and arguably what makes people enjoy them so much.
Poker is all about keeping a cool head, not revealing your hand and timing, thrown in with a bit of luck also! Football also contains those same characteristics. For example, if football players start panicking, becoming too predictable in their style of play and show any psychological weakness the other team will capitalise on that and flourish.
With this in mind, it perhaps comes as no surprise to hear that many current and ex-professional footballers, along with other sportsmen, are trying their hand at poker.
Names such as John Carew, Teddy Sheringham, Tomas Brolin, Jan Molby and Gerard Pique have all been seen taking part in various poker tournaments around the world and clearly enjoy playing the game.
Tony Cascarino is another one who's gone on to play poker and, impressively, has done extremely well at it. The former Millwall, Aston Villa, Celtic, Chelsea, Marseille and Republic of Ireland player finished 14th at the European Poker Tour London in 2007 and in 2008 he won the Grosvenor United Kingdom Poker Tour. He also finished sixth in the GUKPT Grand Final and then went on to win it eventually. It's fair to say Cascarino has been just as, if not more, successful around the poker table as he was on the football pitch!
The most standout player though, and not for his footballing abilities because he was relatively unknown, is Jan Vang Sorensen. Having won his first World Series of Poker Bracelet in 2002, he went on to win a second in 2005 and later triumphed at the 2008 Master Classics of Poker main event. He has earned over $2 million from his participation in poker tournaments. Obviously it’s hard to tell why he’s so good, but perhaps being a professional footballer with all the pressures that involved, has helped him become a superb Poker player? It’s hard to rule that theory out completely, but the fact he's been a competitive sportsmen must have played a part in his success and will to win.
Inevitably, it comes down to experience though and knowing your poker hands is key. Throw in the competitive edge footballers have and there's no reason why we won't see more making the switch from football to poker in the future.