Rugby legends turn to poker in off seasons

Rugby legends turn to poker in off seasons

With poker appealing to so many different kinds of people, it’s no surprise that professionals from lots of other kinds of sports are known to dabble in the odd game of poker.

We know there are plenty of basketball players, athletes and footballers who have been known to hit a casino once or twice, and it’s no surprise that rugby players are also fans of poker. Lots of athletes and sportspeople have played on TV, whether in celebrity poker tournaments or as spokespeople for online casino sites and online poker sites.

An obvious link between rugby and poker is the competitive yet focused nature of both games. One may be physical and one cerebral, but the same kinds of skills are transferable from rugby to poker - you need good instincts, the ability to focus on one goal, and to be flexible with your tactics. So it’s no surprise that rugby stars like former England Captain Mike Tindall, MBE, (who has just signed a new contract as player/coach for Gloucester next season) and Dylan Hartley, who plays for England and Northampton Saints are well-known poker players.

Now that the RBS Six Nations 2013 is over, with Wales stealing the glory for the second year in a row, the question is, just what do rugby union players do in their down time? Post Six Nations, with sorrows drowned or wins celebrated, presumably they can get down to some serious fun, spend time with their families, and indulge their other passions, including online poker or hitting the odd casino.

Life as a professional rugby player isn’t exactly easy, of course, and fitness levels need to be maintained even in the off-season. Such a high level of physical strength and fitness is needed throughout the season it’s pretty much a full time job to keep that up. Many teams keep to strict training regimes, and all that entails, throughout the whole year in order to be ready for the next season’s games.

But some, like previously mentioned Mike Tindall, must take some time out for their favourite hobbies as well. When he was injured in 2005, Tindall came third in the British Open Poker tournament, which was the start of his tournament career. He’s since been seen at many a poker tournament, including the Ante Up for Africa tournament in 2009, in aid of Darfur. According to journalist and fellow poker player Victoria Coren, “Tindall has a knack for confident, aggressive tournament poker and could have a future as a sponsored part time pro.”

Other rugby players with a known interest in poker include Dylan Hartley and David Strettle.A couple of years ago they gave their poker skills an outing at a tournament offering UK and Ireland poker players the chance to go up against them and other England rugby legends. With so many rugby players dabbling in poker, it’s safe to surmise that more than one will spend his off-season hours playing online games to make some extra cash, online as well as offline with websites like Jackpot Capital casino. Visit the Jackpot Capital casino home page to get a welcome bonus if you wish to have a game or two.

As for Mike Tindall, it won’t be many more years until he retires, and, along with family duties, perhaps we’ll see him forging a career in tournament poker. Stranger things have happened.


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