From Sports to Professional Poker

Without a doubt, and as we have often seen, the best athletes in their respective fields can count on some lucrative positions in business after their successful career ends. It makes sense that those who miss the action, in one way or another, tend to look for some other, possibly less intense and engaging, sporting activity like croquet, bowling or golf. A little less orthodox, but not that uncommon, game of choice would be professional high-stakes poker.

Perhaps one of the biggest transfers in the history of sports was the moment when Michael Jordan decided to try his luck in baseball. Changing disciplines as he did, he still had to maintain a proper attitude and be at his best in physical efficiency. Most people who happen to retire from a demanding job, however, are more likely to pick something else. Professional poker, which is a growing field with increasing popularity among celebrities and regular people alike, seems close to a perfect solution. First, there is a lot of money involved as far as cash prizes, sponsorship, TV coverage and so on, which makes it a similar business to those of traditional, physical sports. It allows former superstars from other specialties to maintain relevancy and remain at the center of people’s attention. It also makes them work harder with their minds, which is an excellent opportunity to show that they’re mentally intimidating as well as physically.

It’s no wonder that a good number of ex-athletes gravitate to the tables, rugby players especially. Among those who managed to gain some recognition are Shane Williams, Sebastien Chabal, David Susigan and Mike Tindall. Naturally, as someone introduced to the discipline as outsiders — representatives of an entirely different sport — rugby players are not always instant geniuses. Most of them probably treat the game as a hobby or an exciting adventure. Although they may not be able to use their experience to achieve an edge at the tables, like Phil Ivey and other legends do, they can and sometimes do their best to make the most of it to the tune of big wins.

Australian rugby legends are not too shy to take their shot at winning big pots. A couple of names that come to mind when talking about rugby players known for playing or endorsing the discipline typically includes Adam Goodes and Billy Slater (National Rugby League hero). They often engage with the well-represented local poker scene, with a few significant live tournaments conducted throughout the year. The most notable famous tournament is the Crown Australian Poker Championship series in Melbourne, commonly known as Aussie Millions.