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Hot in Herrre - Nelly takes on EPT
"I've come to play poker!" rapper Nelly told PokerListings.com as he took to the felt at the PokerStars.com EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo.
The multiplatinum recording artist is part of the changing face of poker that sees more and more celebrities and ex-sportsmen nursed into its ranks every year.
Some may have been suspicious about Nelly's reasons for playing in Monaco.
The rapper is inexperienced at the felt, and when Andrew Feldman sent him to the rail early in the day, it seemed fears his appearance may have just been a marketing ploy could have been vindicated.
Nelly, however, was unfazed by his early exit and was upbeat about his future prospects.
"It was cool. Tournaments are always difficult but I had a good time," he said.
"The more I play, the better I get and the more experience I have. I don't have a mentor or anything like that. You just learn to play by playing and watching."
The poker world is awash with sportsmen and celebrities from other arenas aiming to make an impact on the poker world. Rappers have yet to fully storm the poker world, although there are signs that things are changing.
Ja Rule was seen battling it out for a bracelet at the 2008 WSOP, helping to raise the profile of the rap community within the poker world.
This crossover of cultures has fed into the world of TV, where poker shows such as Bring it to the Table and Hip Hop Hold'Em have been geared toward an audience more famililar with rap battles than heads-up battles.
These shows may be slightly tongue-in-cheek, but it may not be long before we see a genuine contender rise up from the rap world.
Whether that man will be Nelly or not is dubious at this stage, though the rap star was keen to stress he was not just a marketing pawn and wasn't taking the challenge here in Monte Carlo lightly.
"I'm taking it seriously as that's what I'm here to do," he told us. "I cashed in a couple of tournaments yesterday so it's going ok."
Regarding his background in rap, Nelly was honest enough to accept that his verbal skills would be of little use to him in his bid to become a credible poker player.
"Some of the best players are the quietest. My rap skills aren't much use at the tables!"
Tune into all of the live coverage from Monaco in the PokerListings Live Tournaments section.