Off the Record (OTR)

Transitioning from professional sports to poker

BorisBeckerThe career of many professional athletes is not long lasting, especially those which require being at the peak of physical fitness to keep on top of their game and ahead of the rest. The time comes, all too soon for some, when going out of the game gracefully is the logical thing to do, leaving a void to be filled where there was once fame, admiration, competition and money. But, the reality is that – as our buddy G. Cobb says all the time – Father Time always wins.

Many sports stars continue to look for that competitive atmosphere after their careers are done, and they end up turning to the world of poker. Poker provides the need for competition, thrill, and the love of winning that a retired sports star has experienced during his professional career. It’s intense competition without the intense pounding.

One particular sports personality is Paulo Rink, a former German International soccer player who began playing poker in 2008, after he was invited to appear in a tournament in South Africa. Rink played for Bayer Leverkusen in the German Bundesliga, and represented Germany in various international competitions.

Many of the attributes needed in successful poker players are those demanded in professional athletes, like high levels of concentration, focus and determination. Boris Becker, the former World Number One tennis player from Germany, best exemplified the following traits. Becker was the ultimate competitor during his tennis career, and is regarded as one of the greatest professional tennis players of all time.

In a career that spanned more than 15 years, he won 49 major titles including six Grand Slams. He also won an Olympic gold medal for Germany in the 1992 Barcelona Games. He’s been playing poker for the past few years, becoming a regular fixture on the live scene. Like most sports personalities, Becker started to hone his skills while playing online poker after his professional career was done.

Online sites like provide the venue for poker enthusiast to play the game in the comfort of their own home. Partypoker simply offers the best online poker experience, and they provide the biggest rooms with tremendous player action, anytime of the day. Partypoker is also known to organize and sponsor tournaments for charitable events. Marvin Rettenmaier, the 2012 WPT World Championship winner from Stuttgart, Germany is among those players under the Partypoker team that is also involved in charity and other humanitarian projects. Sucks that we can’t play here in the U.S.!

Professional sports and poker both require intense concentration, good decision making, stamina and constant improvement to one’s game. Although some people may argue, poker is now considered as a sport by some people whom with we don’t agree. It is a sport that requires little physical activity, but the adrenaline rush that it provides the player is what makes it such a great sport. This is probably the reason why so many sports personalities shift to playing poker once their respective sport careers are over. You get the rush without the torn ACL’s.

Athletes from different sports disciplines like former undefeated World boxing champion Sven Ottke of Germany, football star Thomas Helmer, and Rugby Union’s Raphael Ibanez, are among the name of athletes who excelled in their field and have now taken their skills to the poker arena. As they continue to improve, these stars should continue to make waves in the world of poker.

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