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Would Footballers Make Good Poker Players?

Living the playboy lifestyle of fast cars and equally fast women, powered around the world on a network of private jets while bringing in enough income to make a sheikh blush, the lives of professional Football players and poker playing high rollers have plenty in common. Ok, even Raheem Sterling would struggle to match the excess of Dan Blizerian but it’s still a pretty sweet deal those guys have got.

As far back as George Best, footballers, young working class men generally, have enjoyed their new found stardom and wealth. Ok, if David Beckham was the most famous Footballer of his generation, then we may conclude that the modern game might be lacking in the great amusing characters of yesteryear.

But, for the supremely talented, there is still an enormous slice of the world’s wealth there for the taking.  Lionel Messi, picked up almost £50m in 2015, while Cristiano Ronaldo, who pocketed £52m, last year opened a museum back home on Madeira, dedicated to, err, Cristiano Ronaldo. It’s an ego centric game awash with money, is the deduction here.

That’s why, when they are permitted to do so, footballers regularly head over to the casino to splash the cash, something that many of us like to do. Even online many of us enjoy a flutter and even when we don’t have as much money as a Premiership footballer. And if you have been smart enough to invest in crypto such as Bitcoin then you might want to spend in an online casino many of whom now accept BTC. This is why WildCoins casino’s popularity is growing.

Beyond that, there are other similarities with Poker and much valued personality traits that would almost predesignate a Footballer’s success should he choose to switch from pitch to table. It set me wondering, how do the games compare, and which Football players would fare well, and which would bust out pre-flop.

So, would a Footballer be any good at Poker?

Well, anyone who has witnessed England and Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney – himself no stranger to a game of Poker – during an on field, ref-induced explosion will testify that this a man unable to bury his emotion.

Not that emotion is a bad thing of course. Both sets of players – Poker and Football – need to keep their focus and concentration in check which inevitably brings out and exposes the emotion within. The key difference being simply that Poker players need to not let it show. Beyond that, the connection between the two games is actually quite strong with many of the skills required for success in one, relevant to the other. Although Poker players are less likely to fain as many injuries.

Skills and gameplay

Real success in both games needs to be harnessed by extensive practising. Footballers, half decent ones anyway, obsess over the game and often stay behind after training to perfect their skills. Poker players too, need to spend many hours at the table preparing for all eventualities their game might throw up and seizing on any mistakes made by their opponents.

Both games require patience although poker players generally have it while footballers don’t. At times taking their cue from the crowd, another set of patience lackers, footballers often possess little-to-no patience, which can lead to their downfall. In poker, patience regularly wins the game.

Both sets of players need a game plan, however dishonest. In poker, players study their opponents and devise traps to beat them. In Football, a coach may spend a good deal of time drilling instructions into his team. Instructions that might include, defending deep, getting the opponents sent off, diving for a penalty or berating the referee.

Winners and losers

Footballers can certainly take a seat at the table knowing that they’re well financed. After all, we live in a world where Tottenham have recently paid Emmanuel Adebayor £5m just to go away, so we can safely say that they all bring a decent fund to the pool. But what about when they get there.

At the table, as outlined above, Wayne Rooney’s lack of patience and the volatile nature of his game would be problematic. He is unquestionably focused on the task at hand but one wrong card is all you feel it would take before his anger consumes him and he blows up. Similarly, Diego Costa, might not be easy to read (or look at) but is angry about everything, presumably even with a good hand.

Then there’s Joe Hart, not only does he share his name with a suit (sort of), he also demonstrates the benefit of a strong hand as does Manchester United goalkeeper David DeGea who, when attempting to engineer a move to Real Madrid this summer, remained cool throughout, even when the move collapsed.

Mad Poker

But if we were to hypothetically engineer a winning poker champ, fashioned from Football player parts we should take a look at defining characteristics of some modern day names in the game. A poker player must possess confidence, the ability to bluff or lie, coolness in a sticky situation and an emotionless facade.

What we’re looking for essentially, is someone who is impossible to read. Someone whose face reads the same when he’s excited in triumph as it does when he’s bust out. Someone who, dare we say it, might be construed as boring?

So, in conclusion, if we took the cunning of Ryan Giggs, who maintained an inter-family affair over a long time, while utilising John Terry’s loose definition of the word truth, added the unlimited confidence (however misguided) of Nicolas Bendtner and wrapped it up in the personality of James Milner, we may just have Frankensteined ourselves a great poker champion.

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