Footballer John Arne Riise: Poker More Stressful Than Penalty Kicks

Footballer John Arne Riise is the most capped player in the history of Norwegian football but he’s making his first appearance in the World Series of Poker Main Event.

Currently on holiday after being released from Fulham FC, Riise decided to make the trip to Las Vegas for the biggest poker tournament in the world.

“I thought why not?” said Riise while on break. “I’m a guy who likes to compete and get better. I hate to lose. I had some lessons and started practising before I got here.”

Riise has been playing poker for awhile but has never played an event anywhere near the size of the 6,683-player Main Event.

“I’m really enjoying it,” he said.

“I love Vegas. I love the people. You meet people from all around the world at the WSOP. I definitely want to come back. Hopefully I’ll be back every year.”

Riise: "In Poker I'm Still Quite New"

John Arne Riise

Riise actually outlasted numerous pros by making it to Day 2 of the competition.

“My goal was to play as well as I could and hopefully make Day 2, which I did,” said Riise. “I’m a little short stacked now though so it could be a quick day for me.”

The Norwegian wing-back says he plays a fair amount of online poker but doesn’t get a chance to play much live.

“I know quite a few footballers who play on the plane but we never did that because we wanted to focus on the task at hand,” he said.

Interestingly Riise admitted he felt much more nervous at the poker table, even when compared to taking a penalty shot in football.

“I’m more nervous here,” he said. “I’m really nervous. In football I’m more confident. I know what to do. In poker I’m quite new.

“I’m trying to learn. When something happens at the poker table I can feel my body react differently. The more you play the better you get.”

Riise Interested in Playing Football in U.S., Dubai

John Arne Riise

While Riise is happy to just focus on poker for the time being his future in football is a bit uncertain right now as he’s not returning to Fullham FC.

“I don’t know yet,” he said.

“There are a few clubs who are interested in different parts of the world. I’m going to take my time and see what happens. Now I want to try and just double up my stack.”

When asked if he would return to Barclay’s English Premier League, Riise said he wasn’t sure.

“I’m open to everything,” he said.

“I’d like a new experience. Maybe in Dubai or even the [United] States. I love the States, it’s my favorite place.”

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