Rafa makes his debut in the live poker scene with a win
Current world No. 1 tennis player and 13 Grand Slam titles winner Rafael Nadal has moved his training away from the court and on the poker tables, in preparation for a Charity Challenge as part of the PokerStars European Poker Tour Prague festivities. It marked the debut of the tennis legend on the live poker circuit and while there were other big sport stars and professional poker players at the table, Nadal walked away victorious in Thursday.
The charity event had a minimum contribution of €5,000 and offered €100,000 in prize money for a charity of choice. A variety of celebrities took to the table to help a good cause and also have some fun in what turned out to be a very entertaining poker tournament with a star-studded field that included FIFA World Cup winner and football legend Ronaldo, Italian skier Alberto Tomba, PokerStars SportStar and Olympic gold winner Fatima Moreira de Melo, PokerStars Pro player Daniel Negreanu and Ukrainian football player Andriy Shevchenko; all of which were seated at the same table.
Negreanu gets the lead but busts out in fourth
As the action got underway, the most experienced player at the table was the one to set the pace. Negreanu started by quickly making his way to the top of the rankings and got an early chip lead. He attributed most of his success to the good hands he got but his luck eventually ran out and Negreanu not only lost his lead, but also became the short stack.
The first elimination fell to Negreanu and his pocket Jacks as Tomba was sent to the very crowded rails in sixth place, winning €5,000 for a charity of his choice. Ronaldo then followed quite quickly as he got all his chips in with Kc-8c and lost again Melo’s As-Th. The football star also got €5,000 for charity after finishing fifth.
In a surprising turn of events that not many expected to happen, Daniel Negreanu was out in fourth place. Nadal improved from short stack to chip leader by doubling through the PokerStars Pro twice. On another big hand, Negreanu and Shevchenko went all-in with Nadal joining the fun and winning the pot to send Daniel away from the table.
After this point, Nadal didn’t seem to have any trouble and was in complete control of the game. He went on to eliminate Shevhenko in 3rd and began the heads up match against Melo with a significant chip lead.
The battle for the €50,000 top prize didn’t last long and after the chips exchanged hands a few times, Nadal got down to business and won the trophy as his Ah-Tc held up against Th-6h.
It was another great win for Rafael Nadal as he showed that he is as competitive at the poker table as he is on the tennis court. He secured €50,000 for charity and we are now looking forward to seeing more of him in live poker tournaments.