Soccer Players Known for Their Skill in Card Games

Soccer is a form of entertainment and poker players will say the same about their favorite card game. With entertainment found in both disciplines, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Soccer players have been drawn to the allure of the casino game, however, it seems that most soccer players seem to prefer land-based casinos over the new online casino options available now everywhere for everybody.

The connection between the two seemingly different worlds can be explained by the shared elements they possess — the excitement, thrill, and intensity of poker tournaments resonate with soccer players, reminding them of their native activity on the field.

5. Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)

There are few goalkeepers as passionate as the Italian number 1 Gianluigi Buffon. In 2010, PokerStars extended an invitation to the Italian soccer legend, welcoming him into the esteemed Team PokerStars alongside renowned players like Daniel Negreanu and Chris Moneymaker. For a while, the goalkeeper was also appointed as the official brand ambassador for PokerStars Italy. During his ambassadorship, Buffon made several appearances at live tournaments which were part of the European Poker Tour (EPT). For avid online poker enthusiasts, there remains the thrilling possibility of crossing paths with Buffon on the virtual felts. Buffon is particularly known to join online tournaments instead of live poker events and those interested in online poker might have come across his username Gigi Buffon, The now 45-year-old Buffon currently plays for the Serie B side Parma.

4. Gerard Piqué (Spain)

Barcelona-born Gerard Piqué is widely regarded as one of the best defensive players in modern soccer and only defended his home team FC Barcelona and English side Manchester United. Piqué retired from soccer in 2022 and seems less active in poker as well, after having shifted his attention to The Kings League. This is a seven-a-side soccer league that was founded by Piqué himself and has turned out to be highly successful as it includes teams made up of well-known ex-players, influencers, or other personalities related to the soccer industry with some names such as Kun Aguero (Argentina), Iker Casillas (Spain), and Chicharito (Mexico). As for poker, he is known to compete at tournaments in his city Barcelona. One of his most remarkable appearances was in 2019 when he finished second, which earned him € 352 thousand in cash. Piqué sat on the same team as his then-Barcelona teammate Arturo Vidal (Chile).

3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

Cristiano Ronaldo is not only a skilled soccer player but has also shown to have a somewhat less-known talent; poker. The Portuguese soccer legend who left Premier League side Manchester United for Saudi Arabian Al Hilal has been spotted numerous times participating in pot-limit Omaha sessions with friends, including esteemed players like Daniel Cates. Notably, he even engaged in a head-to-head match against Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad during a charity event and turned out to be victorious.

Back on May 27, 2015, the PokerStars Blog made an exciting announcement about the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo, already a three-time Ballon d’Or winner. The soccer superstar took to social media to share his reasons for joining the PokerStars team.

“Throughout my career, I have always had a preference for playing with winning teams, and PokerStars perfectly aligns with that. As a renowned international poker brand, it continuously strives for improvement and stays at the forefront of innovation, which resonates deeply with me as an athlete. It’s a quality I truly admire and respect.”

Apart from his athletic skills, Cristiano Ronaldo’s philanthropic endeavors are well-known, with him often contributing his tournament winnings to support various charitable causes. In recent years, Cristiano Ronaldo has been less active in the world of online poker.

2. Andriy Shevchenko (Ukraine)

Andriy Shevchenko, the Ukrainian soccer manager, and former Chelsea FC and AC Milan striker, has ventured into the world of online poker tournaments. Notably, he participated in the 2020 edition of the prestigious WSOP Online Bracelet Events, engaging in an intense heads-up battle in Event #79: $25,000 Heads Up No Limit Hold’em against two-time WSOP bracelet winner, Yuri Dzivielevski.

In addition to his poker pursuits, Shevchenko has demonstrated his charitable spirit by partaking in several charity matches alongside former sporting stars and celebrities. His opponents in these charity games have included the likes of Rafael Nadal, Neymar Jr., and poker icon Daniel Negreanu, making for captivating and star-studded events. Shevchenko has worked as the head coach of the Ukraine national team and led the country to the quarter-finals at the Eurocup 2020. He has since not returned to the soccer industry.

1. Neymar Jr. (Brazil)

Brazil-born Neymar Jr. sometimes seems to prioritise poker more than soccer with a lot of time dedicated to representing PokerStars as the official brand ambassador. His affiliation with the renowned poker platform has led him to participate in diverse poker events worldwide, showcasing his skills on the felt. Notably, in 2018, whilst his Paris Saint-Germain teammates celebrated their Ligue 1 victory, Neymar immersed himself in online poker during his recovery from foot surgery.

Recently, the soccer superstar made waves by competing in the prestigious 2022 World Series of Poker (WSOP) $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship. Although his journey ended on Day 1, he secured the 49th spot, earning $3,959 in prize money. In January 2023, the international online casino Blaze announced that they partnered with Neymar Jr, signing the Brazilian winger as an ambassador for at least 4 years. This makes the number 10 of PSG one of the most active soccer players in the world of poker.