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Danny Mills: Everybody Knows Ex-Sportsmen Like a Bit of a Gamble
The 888poker Live Local Series is taking over Aspers Casino in London again this weekend - a place where they gathered the largest crowd of last season.
Team pros Sofia Lövgren and Dominik Nitsche are of course here, as is new 888 ambassador Kara Scott.
Also in on the action this weekend: Footballers Andy Cole and Danny Mills, two of the latest sportsmen to don the black and blue in support of 888.
Compared to the experienced poker personalities Cole (Manchester United) and Mills (Manchester City, Leeds United) are more or less newbies in poker.
Sure, they've played Premier League football in front of millions of people. But their past doesn’t necessarily mean that eight poker players staring at them intensely doesn't make them nervous.
We caught up with them during the media tournament at Aspers to find out more about their respective poker aspirations.
Andy Cole: I’m pretty much a novice when it comes to poker. You have to ask 888 why they picked me. But it’s a new challenge, and in life many things just happen out of the blue.
I’ve been watching my teammates play for numerous years when I was still in football, but I didn’t play myself. That’s going to change now.
Danny Mills: Everybody knows that quite a few ex-sportsmen like a bit of a gamble now and then. It gives you a little bit of buzz, keeps you sensible.
It’s a good social experience as well, especially when you’re at a live casino around other people, having fun.
They used to play all sorts when I was still active; not necessarily just poker. I have some experience, not too much.
Towards the end of my career Ladbrokes would provide us with poker sets on the bus so we would play poker while we were travelling.
PL: There must have been thousands of pounds on the table.
AC: That’s what you’re guessing, but I wouldn’t say that. It was and is more about enjoyment – especially at my level.
DM: It really was kept sensible, mostly. We mainly played just to kill the time. Most guys played for 10 or 20 quid. Of course, some of the guys played for fortunes.
For us it was less about the money but about beating each other. The competitive spirit. It felt good when you were actually beating someone else.
PL: Will you be present at more 888 live events in the future?
AC: I’m not sure about that. It’ll depend on how I progress, what my learning curve looks like. This media tournament is my first live event.
DM: I definitely will. I’ll be there to show how enjoyable poker is, and you don’t have to put your house on the line.
You can turn up to these events, have a bit of fun, win some lose some, and have a good night.
PL: What’s the best moment of your football career?
AC: For me, it has to be the triple in 1999. A Champions League final is unique and playing in it is phenomenal.
(Ed note: The 1999 Champions League final was unique in more than one respect)
DM: I’d like to say beating Germany 5-1 but I wasn’t playing, so it would be beating Argentina at the World Cup in 2002.
It was a game that we had to win, it was the “group of death," we played inside for the first time ever, in the dome of Sapporo, and it was a very unusual game.
PL: And what are your aspirations in poker?
AC: I don’t know yet.
DM: I’m mostly going to enjoy myself. In my professional football career sports became so serious you didn’t enjoy it anymore. There was just so much pressure at the time.
I don’t want that kind of scenario in poker, as I wouldn’t enjoy it, and fun is the whole point. If I win, it’s a bonus. My main objective is getting people to play, maybe make people play who are scared to get into poker.
Andy Cole played – among other teams – at Newcastle United, Manchester United and the Blackburn Rovers. He also played 15 times for the English national team between 1995 and 2002. Danny Mills played – among other teams – for Leeds United and Manchester City. He also had 19 appearances in the English national team between 2001 and 2004.
Both have been invited by 888poker to join in the fun and share the 888 experience. If you want to play, get your account here.