Canucks’ Roberto Luongo Antes Up in 2012 WSOP Main Event

Roberto Luongo
Roberto Luongo

In the midst of a potentially life-changing offseason, NHL goaltender Roberto Luongo decided to take some time off and play some cards in Las Vegas.

A poker enthusiast, Luongo took a seat on Day 1a of the 2012 $10,000 buy-in WSOP Main Event amidst rampant speculation he will be traded from the Vancouver Canucks.

“To be honest with you this was a good change of scenery for me to get my mind off it a little bit and do something that I love,” he said.

The 33-year-old goalie started playing cards when he was a kid and developed his passion over the years.

“During the NHL lockout in 2004-05 I had a lot of time on my hands,” explained Luongo.

“I started playing more and reading books about it. I also started playing online. I was fascinated and wanted to learn as much as I could.”

Last year Luongo signed with British Columbia’s regulated online poker site PlayNow.com as an ambassador. This summer PlayNow.com offered Luongo the chance to play the WSOP Main Event and he jumped at the opportunity.

“I’m so excited to play,” he said. “This has been a dream of mine for many, many years.”

Roberto Loungo
Roberto Luongo
 

Luongo: Almost Every NHL Team Plays Poker

Luongo is not alone in the hockey world when it comes to poker.

Former Vancouver Canucks player Mats Sundin enjoyed the game and was actually signed by PokerStars at one point. Luongo suggested nearly every NHL team has a game going.

That doesn’t mean every hockey player is good, however.

“There are a lot of fishy NHL players,” said Luongo. “I think a lot of hockey players don’t have the patience to wait for a hand and want to play a lot of pots.

Not all hockey players are clueless when it comes to cards, however, and Luongo mentioned teammates Alex Burrows and Kevin Bieksa as being particularly good.

Luongo also said there were a few similarities between poker and goaltending.

“As a goaltender, you have to have a tremendous amount of focus at all times and you need to have that when you’re playing poker,” he said. “You can’t have lapses or it will cost you.”

The timing of the Main Event presented a unique challenge for Luongo considering NHL free agency began July 1 and there is rampant speculation about where the gold-medal winning goaltender will land.

Despite the situation, Luongo appeared relaxed at the table.

“Obviously it is a nerve-wracking time for me as far as that part of hockey is concerned but I'm not really nervous," he said.

Luongo was one of over 1,000 poker players who joined the action on Day 1a of the 2012 WSOP Main Event. At the point this article was published, just as Level 2 expired, Luongo was still alive in the tournament with close to his starting stack.

For all the action from the WSOP in Las Vegas click through to our 2012 World Series of Poker Live Coverage section, brought to you by 888poker.com.

assets/photos/authors/_resampled/croppedimage6060-arthur-crowson.jpg
About Arthur Crowson

Arthur has been involved exclusively with the poker industry since the 2006 World Series of Poker where he still claims to have captured the first interview with a then-unknown player named Jamie Gold on one of the days leading up to the Main Event final table. Since then Arthur has been working full-time for PokerListings.com writing news stories, covering poker tournaments, interviewing players and capturing it all with his trusty Canon camera.

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canucklehead 2012-07-07 22:04:36

LUUUUUUUUUUUUU !!!