Gerard Pique has it all. The Spanish football (soccer) star has dashing good looks, is married to pop sensation Shakira, has a beautiful family and is regarded as one of the best defenders in the modern game. He’s also a dab hand at poker.
Pique plays his club football for Barcelona so when the European Poker Tour rolled into town, Pique simply had to head to the casino and get in on the action. Doing so turned out to be a good decision because Pique finished third in a €2,150 no-limit hold’em hyper turbo tournament for €31,700.
Shortly after his final table appearance, Pique made himself available for a Q&A session where he drew comparisons between poker and football and revealed which football players in the Spanish camp are also solid poker players.
When asked about what he thinks about English youngster John Stones, who recently transferred from Everton to Manchester City for an initial £47.5 million, Pique said: “I think he’s a great player, he’s the best centre back right now in England. Pep will make him take some risks at the back, playing the ball like you do in poker, you have to take some risks, but as a defender, you have to control those risks, again the same as poker.”
Pique revealed that there are a core group of 15 or so players who regularly play poker at Barcelona and during international duty, and said Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea and Manchester City playmaker David Silva are among those who are considered to be the best poker players.
The centre back said that playing poker and soccer gives him the “same feeling in your stomach, a little bit of nerves,” because in poker and soccer “you know how to play, but you never know how the cards will be, so you have to adapt to each situation.”
One thing that is apparent, Pique loves playing poker and playing against the best players in the business.
“I love to compete in many situations and like to compete against the best players in anything, in this case, poker. So when I sit down at a table and know some of the players, and I know them because they are really good players, I really enjoy it.”
Before the Q&A session ended, Pique claims he will not turn to poker full time when he eventually retires from soccer because he likes to play poker as a hobby, and “when you have family and kids you don’t have time to fly around the world playing poker.”