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The Connection Between Poker and Football: 10 Professional Footballers Who Became Successful at Poker

You are seated in a dimly lit casino, surrounded by professional poker players, each focused on the game at hand, the sounds of chips clacking and shuffling cards filling the air. Suddenly, a familiar face catches your eye; a footballer, but instead of sporting a kit and boots, he is dressed up in a suit, holding his cards with a determined look on his face. 

If you don’t know better, you would think it is a dream and question the relationship between poker and a professional footballer. In truth, a lifelong connection exists between football and poker. In fact, the benefits footballers may derive from playing the card game are numerous. 

Aside from the financial benefits of the casino game, many articles and studies have explored . It is safe to say that many professional footballers who engaged in poker did so to improve their mental game. Of course, that additional thrill of entertainment and the monetary rewards will also help.

10 Professional Footballers Who Were Successful at Poker

Many professional footballers have played poker and excelled at it in the past. Discover the top ten names that combined both fields below.

1. Ronaldo De Lima

The top name on the list of football players who played poker and succeeded is Ronaldo de Lima, also known as the Brazilian Ronaldo. The retired goal poacher played for the two biggest clubs in Spain, Barcelona and Real Madrid, and also featured for Serie A giants, Inter and AC Milan. 

During his football career, he won the most coveted individual award in soccer — the Ballon d’Or. Yet, he also starred as a poker player, winning several live poker tournaments and earning over $45,000 in his career. 

2. Neymar Jr.

The second player on the list is also a Brazilian, Neymar Jr., who currently plays for the French Ligue 1 giant, Paris St Germain (PSG), having previously played for FC Barcelona in Spain. 

Neymar once made the top 3 list of the best footballers in the world during his days with the La Liga giants, yet he also enjoys playing poker. His passion for poker is beyond the promise of a better financial life as he earns quite a lot of money in his footballing career, being one of the most paid players in history. 

Although he has played in several poker tournaments, including the World Series of Poker, he remains one of the best footballers of his generation, which means playing poker has never been a distraction for professional footballers. 

3. Gerard Piqué

Gerard Piqué is a current footballer who plays for Barcelona and the Spanish national team. He is also a passionate poker player and has participated in several high-profile tournaments, yet it does not stop him from winning titles with his club and national team. He was part of the Spanish side that won the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa. 

Gerard Piqué’s net worth is valued at an estimated $55 million. As a successful footballer, he enjoys playing poker in his free time, during the winter or summer holidays, to keep his mental alertness in check, especially because he plays as a defender. He has also said it is a great way to pass the time.

4. Gianluigi Buffon

The legendary Italian goalkeeper who spent more than a decade manning the post for Juventus, belongs to the list of professional footballers who became successful at poker. Although he did not amass his wealth through casinos, he was able to contribute to his fortune by playing and winning live poker games and tournaments. 

5. Tony Cascarino

Tony Cascarino is another former professional footballer who found success at the poker table. He won over $500,000 in his poker career and even played in the World Series of Poker. The former striker played in several top European leagues, including the English Premier League, where he played for Aston Villa and Chelsea. 

6. Teddy Sheringham

Teddy Sheringham is an ex-professional footballer who played for English clubs like Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. While playing poker, he has won over £330,000 through live games and tournaments. 

7. Tony Adams

Adams is a retired English professional footballer who was also a successful poker player. Although it was reported that the ex-Arsenal player struggled with gambling addiction, the rumor was later found to be baseless. Adams no longer play poker, but the revered defender played the game for many years. 

8. Tomas Brolin

Brolin is a former Swedish footballer who played for several soccer clubs across Europe. He is also a successful poker player, having won several tournaments and earning over $1.2 million from the game.

9. Jan Molby

Jan Molby is a former footballer who played for Liverpool and the Danish national team. Molby was also successful at poker, and he took part in several tournaments, winning substantial returns.

10. JanVang Srensen

Another player on the top 10 list of professional footballers who are successful in poker is JanVang Srensen. He is a retired Danish footballer who has made his mark in Denmark and Germany.


The relationship between football and poker is more than causal. Many professional footballers have found success in poker – the game did not just serve as a pastime or means of additional income, but also contributed to improving their careers in several ways.

The mental skills required to play poker, such as strategic thinking, decision-making, and emotional control, can be translated into football and contribute to success on the field. The ten footballers mentioned in this article have excelled in both areas, proving that playing poker does not have to be a distraction from their professional football careers.