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Olympic Swimmer Xuxa Scherer Finds New Rush, Potential in Poker
There's nothing quite like the "rush" you get sitting down at a poker table.
Or actually, says two-time Olympic medalist Fernando "Xuxa" Scherer, there is. Competing at the highest level of international athletics.
It seems like a stretch to compare sitting at a poker table for 12 hours to blasting out of the blocks into the pool at the world's most spectacular athletic event, but if anyone has the experience to compare it's Scherer.
One of Brazil's all-time great swimmers Scherer has a 50m Freestyle bronze medal from the '96 Olympics in Atlanta and a 4x100 Freestyle Relay bronze from Sydney to back his understanding of high-level performance:
"When I retired from swimming I missed the feeling of adrenalin," Scherer told PokerListings at the 2014 WSOP in Las Vegas.
"And in the poker game at the same time you're not racing but you're competing against each other and the adrenalin, the heart rate goes up. And that reminds me a lot of swimming."
Another famous world class swimmer - 18-time Olympic medalist Michael Phelps - has been known to agree.
Ronaldo Got Him In
A chance encounter with Brazilian football legend Ronaldo turned Scherer on to the game and after a revelatory first experience turned his mind to the level of strategy and intense commitment required to play the game well.
Since then, he can't get enough of it - and neither can a lot of high-end Brazilian athletes including the National Basketball team and the current World Cup squad about to play in the semi-finals today:
"Let's say we go to the Olympics and the basketball team they are playing together the swim team they are playing. Everybody's learning how to play poker.
"I think the soccer team right now playing the World Cup they are playing poker ... "
While the perception of poker in Brazil still needs some changing, Scherer says the potential is there for the market to grow exponentially.
Watch the full video - and what it's like to watch a Brazil World Cup game at Andre Akkari's house - below: