PSG star Neymar makes World Series of Poker debut in Las Vegas
12: 36 PM ET
Chris WrightToe Poke writer
Neymar took his first major step toward a secondary career on the professional poker circuit when the Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil forward made his first in-person appearance at a World Series of Poker (WSOP) event in the US.
The 30-year-old, who became the world’s most expensive signing ever when he joined PSG from Barcelona in 2017 for EUR222 million, took a seat at the $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship which was fittingly being staged at the Paris Las Vegas Casino.
Neymar originally earned his WSOP seat back in June 2016 after winning a preliminary PokerStars tournament in Vegas but was unable to take part in the main event the following month because of it clashing with his involvement with Brazil at the summer Olympic games.
Just six years later than scheduled, the 30-year-old was finally able to take his seat for the WSOP event and certainly seemed to enjoy himself at the table as one of the 74 entrants to take part on the first day of the three-day competition. Having won numerous accolades as a player, Neymar was trying to add another kind of gold to his record with the coveted WSOP Winner’s Bracelet.
Unfortunately his tenure at the tables was short, with him eliminated before the end of Day 1. According to on-site reports from PokerNews, the footballer was extremely active, playing a wide variety of starting hands which can potentially lead to risking chips in undesirable situations. The Brazilian has been a representative of PokerStars for many years. He was most recently promoted by the company as a cultural ambassador.
Through PokerStars, he has played in a number of events around the world, with his biggest live cash coming in a sixth-place finish at a Brazilian Series of Poker event worth $21,072. The event continues at the resort/casino on Tuesday with Marco Johnson as the chip leader.
Although his involvement was cut short, Neymar will have seen a glimpse of the professional poker circuit. He has admitted that he would like to become a regular player once his football career is over.
“It’s true! [Pro poker] is one of the things I love doing the most,” the Brazilian told French website CNEWS last year.
” I feel very comfortable. I believe that after playing football, I will be able travel and participate in tournaments that I have always wanted but have been unable to due to my schedule. “
Not that his focus has already begun to shift from football toward life at the table, but Neymar was once revealed to have been playing poker while the rest of his PSG teammates were busy wrapping up the Ligue 1 title in 2018.
In fairness, Neymar was recovering from surgery on his fractured metatarsal and took to social media immediately after the final whistle to thank his teammates for their victory. This proves that he had at least one eye on it!
ESPN’s Andrew Feldman contributed to this report.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.