Premier League

Poker an unlikely retreat for stars

Teddy SheringhamProfessional footballers are used to pressure. The intensity when sitting in the changing rooms must be enormous, with lots of expectation on them to achieve, and the need to excel, knowing their livelihood depends on a good performance.

It is of no surprise then, that some footballers finish their careers, and then struggle to settle into the tranquillity of normal life. A requirement to continue a pressure filled life where you yourself determine your future based on performances eases them into a life after football. Poker seems to be a route some have taken, with the requirement of a steady head, and nerves of steel it certainly helps to have had many years experience at this practice, and it is surprising how successful some of these ex-footballers have become at the game,

Teddy Sherringham is a household name in England, some of his performances for the national team were stupendous, and how can anyone forget the goal he scored against Greece in the World Cup qualifier, with what was his first touch of the game?

Well, it appears his skill on the pitch is nearly matched by his ability with the deck. In 2009, he surprised everyone with a scintillating performance in the 2009 World Series of Poker Europe. His steady face and calm demeanour meant he managed to reach the final two tables of the tournament. A fellow striker also converted to the card game is Tony Cascarino. Having amassed over $500,000 in his relatively short stint in the game, he clearly possesses the skills required for the game.

So are all footballers gifted with the skills and techniques required to build a sustainable career in the game of poker?

Not necessarily to the extent that Sherringham and Cascarino have achieved. Gianluigi Buffon became involved in the world of poker back in 2010, fronting Poker Stars new campaign, but despite his safe hands on the pitch, he is yet to cause a scene in poker. It is still early on for Buffon, who has yet to finish his illustrious footballing career, however with his unquestionable concentration he is certain to become more prominent once dedicating more time to the game.

Clearly, some footballers do possess the criteria needed to become a professional player. The concentration, and patience required is essential, and some footballers certainly do possess this, but certainly not all.

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