Becker Getting Better With Each Stroke

Boris Becker

It’s been almost two years since tennis legend Boris Becker traded in his racquet for a few chips and a chair.

And while his teaming with PokerStars was widely criticized for being more of a publicity stunt than a legitimate move into the poker world when he first sat down to play at the European Poker Tour’s Grand Final in Monte Carlo in 2008, it’s obvious now he’s taking the game seriously.

“I have a better feel for the game and understanding at the table,” Becker told PokerListings at EPT Prague. “It naturally comes with the territory. The more you play, the better you get and I think I’m much better than I was last year.”

Becker fizzled out fast in that first appearance on the felt, but did manage a final table finish at a €500 side event in Monte Carlo that year.

However, his first real sniff at poker success came at the $25,000 WPT Championship in April of this year when he made the money finishing 40th for $40,855.

While he’s enlisted the aid of several Team PokerStars Pros to help him learn the intricacies of the game, there are certain things the former World No. 1 tennis player and six-time Grand Slam champion already brought to the table.

“The mental game is very similar to tennis,” he explained. “You shouldn’t be afraid of big table or the big stage. For me it’s more about learning the details of the game, not so much about overcoming a fear of being on a big table or playing for a lot of money. That’s not something I worry about. It’s more about understanding the game better.”

Learning the game is one thing - having a passion for it another. But if there were ever any doubts Becker has a love for poker, one need only look inside his London home.

Boris Becker

This past summer, Becker moved into a $9 million shrine to the game that brought him worldwide recognition.

The seven-bedroom home sits about 100 steps from Centre Court at Wimbledon, where Becker rose to tennis prominence winning the game’s most coveted title at age 17.

Wimbledon’s indoor practice courts are visible from the yard, but tennis isn’t the only game being played there.

Becker has built a room dedicated to poker inside, complete with a classic table, plush chairs and enough chips to get a serious game going.

“It’s really coming along,” he said. “My wife is a great player and we have many games together with friends. It’s nice because we are at home and it’s a bit more of a relaxed atmosphere. We have a lot of fun and some pretty good cash games there too.”

Becker’s home games are played mostly for fun, but with EPT founder John Duthie and fellow German Team PokerStars Pros Sandra Naujoks, Sebastian Ruthenberg and Florian Langmann having already stopped by to play, he’s been able to pick up a few tricks along the way.

Becker and his wife Lilly Kerssenberg are expecting a baby this February, but the New Year has even more for him to be excited about.

For the past two years, illness has kept Becker from playing the EPT’s annual trek to Germany.

But this year, with rumors the tour will be stopping in Berlin in March instead of Dortmund, he’s hoping to have the chance to show his native country a little bit of what he’s learned.

“I really hope to be willing and able to play,” he said. “I want to show the German fans that there is more to Boris Becker than tennis.”

Becker busted from EPT Prague before the money bubble burst, but the event continues with just 24 players left and Israeli Eyal Avitan holding a massive chip lead. For comprehensive coverage click through to PokerListings' Live Updates.

It’s been almost two years since tennis legend Boris Becker traded in his racquet for a few chips and a chair.

And while his teaming with PokerStars was widely criticized for being more of a publicity stunt than a legitimate move into the poker world when he first sat down to play at the European Poker Tour’s Grand Final in Monte Carlo in 2008, it’s obvious now he’s taking the game seriously.

“I have a better feel for the game and understanding at the table,” Becker told PokerListings at EPT Prague. “It naturally comes with the territory. The more you play, the better you get and I think I’m much better than I was last year.”

Becker fizzled out fast in that first appearance on the felt, but did manage a final table finish at a €500 side event in Monte Carlo that year.

However, his first real sniff at poker success came at the $25,000 WPT Championship in April of this year when he made the money finishing 40th for $40,855.

While he’s enlisted the aid of several Team PokerStars Pros to help him learn the intricacies of the game, there are certain things the former World No. 1 tennis player and six-time Grand Slam champion already brought to the table.

“The mental game is very similar to tennis,” he explained. “You shouldn’t be afraid of big table or the big stage. For me it’s more about learning the details of the game, not so much about overcoming a fear of being on a big table or playing for a lot of money. That’s not something I worry about. It’s more about understanding the game better.”

Learning the game is one thing - Having a passion for it another. But if there were ever any doubts Becker has a love for poker, one need only look inside his home.

This past summer, Becker moved into a $9 million shrine to the game that brought him worldwide recognition.

The seven-bedroom home sits about 100 steps from Centre Court at Wimbledon, where Becker rose to tennis prominence winning the game’s most coveted title at age 17.

 

Wimbledon’s indoor practice courts are visible from the yard, but tennis isn’t the only game being played there.

 

Becker has built a room dedicated to poker inside, complete with a classic table, plush chairs and enough chips to get a serious game going.

 

It’s really coming along,” he said. “My wife is a great player and we have many games together with friends. It’s nice because we are at home and it’s a bit more of a relaxed atmosphere. We have a lot of fun and some pretty good cash games there too.”

Becker’s home games are played mostly for fun, but with EPT founder John Duthie and fellow German Team PokerStars Pros Sandra Naujoks, Sebastian Ruthenberg and Florian Langmann having already stopped by to play, he’s been able to pick up a few tricks along the way.

Becker and his wife Lilly Kerssenberg are expecting a baby this February, but the New Year has even more for him to be excited about.

For the past two years, illness has kept Becker from playing the EPT’s annual trek to Germany.

But this year, with rumors the tour will be stopping in Berlin in March instead of Dortmund, he’s hoping to have the chance to show his native country a little bit of what he’s learned.

“I really hope to be willing and able to play,” he said. “I want to show the German fans that there is more to Boris Becker than tennis.”

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