Poker is a hobby that is on the rise, both online and offline.

Across the United States, laws around online poker are being relaxed, whilst physical poker venues begin to open their doors once again. Having experienced a lack of real tables over the last two years, poker players are flocking back to casinos, and revenue from online gaming is also on the up, hinting at a second poker boom.

That’s always helped by some famous figures getting involved. When Tony Parker qualified for the WSOP, casual fans had a reason to pay interest when the cards are finally dealt in the Fall. That tournament will be available on your TV sets with significant engagement expected, and not just because of Parker. Over the years, many celebrities and athletes have taken part in the showcase event, helping keep it popular not just amongst card players but also as a spectator sport.

Richard Seymour

Credit: Jeffrey BeallRichard SeymourCC BY-SA 3.0

Former Patriots defensive tackle Seymour might be waiting for his Hall of Fame spot, but he wasted no time in getting around the WSOP tables upon retirement. He finished in the main event of the 2019 tournament, earning $59,295 as a result. His variant of choice is the universally popular Texas Hold’em, and doubtless, his involvement saw cards flowing down the river in basements across the US. Parker will be hoping to emulate Seymour this Fall.

Paul Pierce

Credit: Keith Allison, Paul Pierce Shooting BasketballCC BY-SA 2.0

Paul Pierce is a controversial character, a former NBA star who has made a few friends and more enemies after playing due to his controversial commentary and punditry calls. He has also made a name for himself around the felt at the WSOP, although his game of choice was Pot Limit Omaha, rather than Texas Hold’em. He’s rumored to have been working on his game as he looks to find the highs of his Boston Celtics NBA spell around the Las Vegas tables.

Shane Warne

Credit: Tourism Victoria from Australia, Shane Warne February 2015CC BY 2.0

In the US, cricket doesn’t make much sense to us; this is a single game that can go on for five days and still end in a draw, where bad light can stop play. Whilst it seems nonsensical, it is insanely popular worldwide, and one of the biggest players of all time was Shane Warne. He was a daring bowler and a daring poker player: he finished 597th from an original field of 6,420 in 2015 at the $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em World Series of Poker Main Event.

Thomas Gravesen

Credit: RobertoEstadio Santiago Bernabéu (Lateral Oeste)CC BY-SA 4.0

Gravesen might not have competed at the WSOP, but he did help raise the profile of poker merely by his involvement. The Danish soccer player appeared for Real Madrid, Celtic and Everton during his career, one in which he often courted controversy. He tried his hand at poker after retiring and found he was good at it; so good he is thought to have won $54m in one hand and even moved to Vegas to pursue the career more seriously.

Audley Harrison

Credit: Photo by Lawrence Lustig, AforceonePc pics 1073a, marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia Commons

The British boxer punched his way to the WBF Heavyweight title in 2004, having secured Olympic Gold at the Sydney Olympics. In 2008, he fought in Paradise, Nevada, beating Jason Barnett, and he must have liked something about the area, as he became a fixture at the WSOP after that. He cashed in four bracelets events in 2019, improving upon the 2006 and 2007 performance of fellow Brit Lennox Lewis, another high-profile player.

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