It may not seem so at first, but the game of football and high stakes tournament poker have more in common than you might think. Both require the player to have a high level of mental agility, be fast thinkers, decision makers and flexible in their play. Both also require nerves of steel and the ability to keep calm under pressure and not allow opponents to see any weak points.
This could be why so many footballers, past and present can be found either playing poker or slots at an online casino site like Intertops, with the intertops slots bonus, or taking part in real world tournaments. And Manchester United players have also caught the gambling bug.
Teddy Sheringham is most likely the most well known former Manchester United player who plays poker. He began his interest in poker when he played in American casinos while still a professional football player but only became a contender when his retirement from football allowed him the time to concentrate on his new interest. In 2009 he took part in the World Series Europe tournament where he finished an amazing 14th, even though he was up against many players of a really high calibre. In 2010 he made it all the way to the final table at the European Poker Tournament Vilamoura Main Event. Here he came fifth and won over $100,000.
But Teddy is far from the only Manchester United to show an interest in casinos or poker. While celebrating their 3-0 victory over Aston Villa to celebrate their 20th title win earlier this year, many of the current team found themselves 235 Casino in Manchester where it’s pretty likely money a lot of gambling was done, whether at the poker tables or perhaps on the slots.
It was also reported in 2009 that Sir Alex Ferguson had banned the then underage Federico Macheda from Manchester casinos The Circle Club and 235. He was unable to party with his team mates who regularly take to the casinos to enjoy their downtime when not playing.
Wayne Rooney is also known for a love of a flutter, although he was reported as losing £65,000 at the 235 Casino, just a month before a dozen Manchester United players collectively lost £250,000 while celebrating Rio Ferdinand’s birthday.
In late 2012, poker star and professional poker player Tony G gave some coaching, advice and poker lessons to six Manchester United team mates before they played in a charity poker tournament. Rafael da Silva, Phil Jonas, Darren Fletcher, Danny Welbeck, Jonny Evans and Tom Cleverley all had poker lessons for the tournament that was arranged by the club and filmed for Manchester United’s TV channel, MUTV. Tony G then provided the commentary for the broadcast. In the end Jonny Evans was victor after winning against Darren Fletcher for the second year in a row.
All in all it seems that poker is a popular game with Manchester United players, both past and present. It’s interesting to wonder how many of the current players will follow in Teddy Sheringham’s footsteps and take it further when they retire. Perhaps there will be a whole swathe of ex footballing poker experts on the professional tournament scene.