Here is something you probably didn’t know about Michael Phelps: he is also a pretty good professional poker player. The best swimmer in the Olympic history started playing poker for fun in high school. For Phelps, poker is a long-term hobby and a passion he still carries today. If you are wondering what all the fuss is about and would like to experience the thrill of gambling that made Phelps fall in love with poker, first make sure to unlock a great promotion for new players with Bitstarz Bonus Code.
Since 2008, Phelps participated in several professional poker tournaments in Las Vegas and his former roommate and close friend is Jeff Gross, a very talented professional poker player. Gross said for CardPlayer that Phelps and he became friends at the university because they shared a lot of common interests, poker being one of them. „Mike is easily one of the best celebrity poker players around. Overall, I’d say he treats the game seriously and loves the competition, but it’s just a hobby. Once he finishes up his career at the 2012 Olympics in London, I think you’ll be seeing him competing more in live tournaments.“
Phelps made some decent winnings, proving that he can excel at the tables. According to the Hendon Mob, Phelps played 6 pro live tournaments so far, for total earnings of $8,383. Back in 2008, he won $ 5,213 at the $ 1,500 + 70 No Limit Hold’em event in Las Vegas, his biggest winning so far.
The most famous photo of Phelps playing poker comes from 2016 Summer Olympic Games, when he was caught on camera playing poker on his phone right before the semi-final of the 200m butterfly event. Perhaps poker has a calming effect on Phelps since he finished the race second and won gold in the final.
Although Phelps has retired last year, he still doesn’t have as much time for poker as he would want. In fact, he is busier than ever, running his foundation and promoting water safety for children. Still, he manages to find time for an occasional poker tournament.
Last year he participated in the World Series of Poker at Las Vegas together with Gross and two more professional players: Antonio Esfandiari Brian Rast.
“I’m just learning more from what these guys do on a day-to-day basis and trying to just figure different things out,” Phelps said for Review Journal. “It’s always fun. It’s a challenge, but it’s entertaining for me. It’s something I’ve always liked, and my wife (Nicole Johnson) plays as well, so it’s in the family.”
Phelps is also using his passion for a good cause. He hosted the Big Game Big Give party to raise money for the Giving Back Fund, by participating in a VIP poker tournament with Jamie Gold as his partner. Together with other participants, they raised hundreds of thousands for charity.
Who knows, next time you are in Vegas, you might find yourself sitting next to Michael Phelps!