For the average football fan, there’s little to no connection between the beautiful game and poker. One game is played by a team of eleven players in an outdoor pitch. The other is played by two or more people indoors or outdoors.
Surprisingly, poker is one of the most popular card games among footballers. Just take a look at Neymar Jr, Gigi Buffon, and Michael Owen. Not only do they poker and publicize it but some of them also feature partnerships with poker companies.
So, what attracts footballers to poker? What’s the connection between the two games?
A Focus on Individual Skills
Poker, like football, is beautiful to watch only because of the professionals who play it. Watching Daniel Negreanu read his opponents tell with great accuracy is party of the reason people watch his games.
Likewise, one of the reasons football fans adore Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr., and Cristiano Ronaldo has everything to do with their skills. Their ball control, dribbling, passing and scoring skills have earned them millions of fans over the years.
Still on skills, you can improve your poker and football skills. All you need is a will to learn new ways of playing or perfecting the skills you already possess. In football, you can join a team with a coach or practice until you’re better at the game.
In poker, you can practice through free to play apps. Or you can claim an online Poker Rakeback deal to play the game for real money while also saving some of your cash. Of course, you can also join a poker academy to hone your skills even further.
A Proactive Approach
What do successful football and poker players have in common? They have a proactive mindset. World-class strikers like Robert Lewandowsky and Harry Kane are always looking for goal-scoring opportunities.
They read their opponents’ moves, steal the ball and think of ways to score faster than the defenders can respond. On the flip side, defenders are always timing attackers to block shots, dispossess and tackle them.
In poker, physical tackles aren’t allowed. But you can anticipate moves from your opponents and respond accurately. For example, you can fold if your opponent has a strong hand based on their tell, and willingness to increase blinds.
Can be a Pastime or a Career
Another connection between poker and football is that both sports are excellent for passing time or as your profession. For revelers, a trip to Las Vegas isn’t complete without a few hands at a poker table.
These days, you don’t even need to leave your house to play Texas Hold’em. It doesn’t matter whether you want to play the game alone or with friends. Thanks to poker sites, all you need is an iPhone or desktop computer with high-speed Internet.
When you think about it, poker and football are so competitive than only a fraction of people in the world make it as professionals. That’s alright. Unless you have a dream to play poker or football professionally, most people are contented with playing these games for fun.
Poker is particularly convenient among amateurs. You can play the game online and even win money. And you don’t have to look for an outdoor pitch, ball and a team of opponents to play with.
Tournaments with Huge Cash Prizes
Although some people love poker and football solely based on how they work, there’s no denying tournaments make these games more exciting. In poker, the biggest tournament is the World Series of Poker (WSOP).
It attracts thousands of contestants who compete for tournaments that pay winners up to $10 million. Poker tournaments are exciting to watch because they bring together the best players in the world. Additionally, they involve huge betting limits, meaning more risks and more potential for rewards.
When it comes to football, there are competitions for both clubs and countries. Club-based tournaments pit together franchises from the same or different leagues. They also tend to attract the bets players in the world.
National-team tournaments converge the best players from the same country. That means record setting footballers sometimes have to play with less-talented players. Nonetheless, these competitions promote patriotism, bring nationals together and help discover young, talented but underappreciated players.
TV Deals and Sponsorships
If you think poker isn’t a true sport because it’s not as physically demanding as football, think of their similarities in generating revenue. At the big competitions held in Las Vegas, London and Macau, TV networks and brands compete to sponsor top players.
In all fairness, poker attracts only a small fraction of money from broadcasting rights in comparison to football. But it’s still millions of dollars, often more than some small outdoor sports attract.
Top-performing players have similar deals with brands. In many cases, poker players get sponsored by major poker websites. Footballers attract sponsorships from all sorts of brands, hence why they make more money. Sometimes footballers also get sponsored by poker websites to legitimize the game to potential gamblers.
If football is the most inclusive outdoor sport in the world, then poker is the most accommodating card game. Think about it. Poker attracts both male and female players from all corners of the world.
Football is equally inclusive. Kids from low-income families play football in the street without jerseys. On the other hand, willing poker players play the game at their hangout spots for little to no money.
The bottom line: the most connection between football and poker is that both sports attract players regardless of ethnic, geographical or economic status. And due to this, they’ve been growing over the years while other sports lose fame.
No one can confuse poker and football. They are entirely different sports with different rules. But when you think about it, they have numerous connections. For starters, they both reward skills and styles.
Skilled poker players earn loads of cash by winning tournaments. Skilled footballers win millions of pounds. For non-professionals, both poker and football are excellent games to leisure play.