Ex-cricketer brings A-game to WSOPE


Joining the swell of superstars making their way to London's Leicester Square, former first-class cricketer Shane Warne will play in this weekend's Main Event at the World Series of Poker Europe.

Warne is widely considered one of the best bowlers in Australian cricket history. He retired from international cricket in 2007 after he and the rest of the Australian cricket team laid a beating on the English side, so it will be interesting to see how he is received in Jolly Olde. The tabloid press there have jumped all over the father of three in the past, based on several scandals involving scantily clad women.

Warne makes his start in the WSOPE Main Event on Saturday at 1 p.m. GMT, and will be looking to prove his effort at this year's WSOP Las Vegas was no fluke. There, Warne wound up in the top 15% of a massive field, and even though he failed to cash, that outing has him and his sponsors hopeful.

"I'm really looking forward to going to the WSOPE in London and just hope I can play as well as I did in Vegas," said Warne. "I'm really enjoying my poker and the intensity of Vegas should hopefully stand me in great stead for London and the televised 888 Poker Open in November."


The company that sponsors Warne, 888.com, is also hoping he can have another excellent showing.

"Shane brings his fierce competitive nature from cricket to poker, so we expect him to put some points on the board very soon," said Gareth Edwards, director for poker marketing for 888.com, which operates Pacific Poker.

"Shane's debut at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas was a great performance where he lasted well into day 3, so we know he has game."

Never one to shy away from the limelight, the former cricket great seems to be taking to his new role in the poker world, judging by a recent entry on his blog.

"I'm starting to get used to the intensity, it is still a tough mind game and very draining but after a few long stints at the table I have found that I'm dealing with it much better."

Don't be fooled, though. Warne still knows where his true skills lie, and he'll be using his cricketing past to draw fans out to the WSOPE.

"Before game day I'll be playing in a VIP cricket match," Warne wrote. "It'll be nice to have a few balls with the 888 crew and loosen up before I have to play on Saturday."

Have all the balls you want Friday, Mr. Warne. It's the nuts you'll be after this weekend at the WSOPE Main Event.

Cricket fans who'd like to take on Warne at the poker tables can also find him playing on 888.com's Pacific Poker site where he hones his poker skills in between live events. They can also keep up on his progress at the WSOPE in the PokerListings' Live Tournaments section when the Main Event begins Saturday.

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