Top Ten Sports Pro Poker Players

Top Ten Sports Pro Poker Players

Many athletes are gifted with both mental and physical traits that would give them success in anything. It’s tough to imagine Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Tom Brady, or Wayne Gretzky not succeeding in whichever endeavor they aspired to pursue.

Unfortunately, sports can be done with you physically while you still thrive mentally. Take Doyle Brunson, for example - a knee injury in his college years ended any hopes of a professional basketball career and led him to start playing in some poker games, which were less taxing on his body. The rest, as they say, is history.

Some athletes, whether done with their sports or not, love the competitive element of poker. The fact that they do not have to risk their bodies adds to the enjoyment and mental warfare that resembles so much of the games they made careers in.

Here are our top ten poker players who are sports professionals:

#1 Neymar Jr

Neymar is the second world-class Brazilian striker to take to poker after the original Ronaldo. He has shown a liking for the game for almost a decade now, doing many famous poker campaigns with PokerStars and showing up at their circuit events when it doesn’t collide with his day job.

His day job is currently playing football, and the Brazilian is pretty good at it. The 30-year-old became the most expensive player to join a club after signing PSG from Barcelona in 2017 for €222 million.

Neymar is currently a cultural ambassador for PokerStars, a role he took in 2020. He has played poker for nine years but recently showed his potential at the 2022 World Series of Poker, as he made appearances in the Limit $10,000 Championship and the Turbo KO events.

Neymar Jr.
Neymar Jr

#2 Richard Seymour

Richard Seymour is an NFL champion, and his competitiveness and drive led him to get three Superbowl rings with Tom Brady as his quarterback in New England and make seven Pro Bowls.

He managed to take over that drive to the poker felt, and has shown himself to be one of the better tournament grinders in the United States. In 2018 he made cashes in the World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour events before he made his big splash in the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event, finishing 131st and getting $59,925 for his deep run.

In 2018 he recorded his biggest score, finishing third in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure High Roller event for $376,360. So far, he has earned $643,401 from live poker tournaments, and we expect that to continue this year.

Richard Seymour.
Richard Seymour

#3 Colby Covington

Colby is one of the more underrated sports poker pros who has shown a genuine aptitude for the game. The UFC fighter has been one of the most ferocious battlers inside the Octagon and has taken this aggression and prowess to the poker felt.

He has been a prominent US poker tournament grinder since 2012, when he played a $100 event at the Coconut Creek. This year, he made a huge splash at the World Poker Tour Lucky Hearts Open in Florida when he cashed the $3,500 No-Limit Hold’em and the Championship events.

His most significant moment in 2022 would come just a few months later, when he came 7th in a $400 Deepstack event during the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open, cashing for $48,298. A month later, he would win the $1,100 PLO 8 or Better event for $25,875, showing a talent for other poker games than just Hold’em.

Colby Covington.
Colby Covington

#4 Gerard Pique

Among the best football players of his generation is thought to be the Spanish defender Gerard Pique. He earned 102 caps for his country and contributed significantly to Spain's 2010 World Cup victory.

During his international career, he scored five goals. He has frequently competed in high-roller poker tournaments since 2011, winning four EPT events.

His most significant win to date came in 2019 when he finished in 2nd spot in the €25k No Limit Hold'em Championship tournament at EPT Barcelona and took home nearly €350k.

Gerard Pique.
Gerard Pique

#5 Boris Becker

Boris Becker, a former tennis pro on the world stage, had a successful career. He became a pro at 17, and before turning 18, he won the Wimbledon singles championship and the Tennis World Young Masters singles title. With six Grand Slam victories and more than $25 million in earnings, Becker retired in 1999. Soon after that, PokerStars began to sponsor him. Over the years, Becker has won numerous respectable pots, but the 2009 Diamond World Poker Championship stands out, as he received more than $40,000 and placed 40th.

Boris Becker.
Boris Becker

#6 Terrence Chan

Although MMA may not be as well-known as basketball or football, it is steadily gaining worldwide attention, and anyone intrigued by this sport must be familiar with Terrence Chan.

 He was one of the top fighters and deserving of world recognition, yet he found a way to continue to be active in the industry even after calling it a day by switching careers and choosing to play poker.

He is highly successful at poker, which is further supported by the knowledge that he and two other well-known people from this world co-host one of the best podcasts. He typically favors playing online and picks high-stakes games.

Terrence Chan.
Terrence Chan

#7 Martin Kampmann

The MMA fighter Martin Kampmann goes by the moniker Hitman. He is among the most accomplished MMA competitors in the world. Jason Somerville taught Martin Kampmann how to play poker, and he used these teachings to go and win $52,740 from the Nevada Poker Challenge.

Martin Kampmann.
Martin Kampmann

#8 Orel Horshiser

Orel Hershiser, a pitcher with the Dodgers, is remembered by his team's supporters as a three-time All-Star throughout his career, which spanned from 1983 to 2000.

Another noteworthy achievement occurred in 1988 when Hershiser concluded the campaign with 59 straight scoreless innings pitched, breaking the previous record of Don Drysdale, a well-known Dodger.

Hershiser started working as an early PokerStars ambassador after retiring. He finished fifth at the NBC Championship in 2008 and took home a whopping $75,000 prize money. Over the years, he has also earned an additional $23,000 playing poker tournaments.

Orel Horshiser.
Orel Horshiser

#9 Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce may have shifted on from the fame of being named the NBA Finals Top Valuable Player in 2008 or earning the distinction of being among just three players to have managed to score more than 20,000 points in a career with the Boston Celtics.

Pierce, who is well-known for playing Pot-Limit Omaha games in Vegas, produced a decent showing in the Main Event in 2014 in an attempt to win $10 million. He didn't prevail, but he did advance to Day 3.

He was a familiar face during the 2019 inaugural Poker Players’ Championship in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and reportedly is the host of LA’s top private cash game, only accessible by non-poker pro celebrities.

Paul Pierce.
Paul Pierce

#10 Shane Warne

The late, great Shane Warne is one of the best-ever cricketers and was a larger-than-life personality.

It only made sense that this elite sportsman and likable character would take to the poker felt like a fish to water - he would learn from Aussie WSOP Main Event Champion and tour the poker circuit in Australia when he could, notching an impressive $137,000 in winnings.

His poker prowess would get the attention of 888poker, who had Warne as one of their poker ambassadors.

Shane Warne.
Shane Warne

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