The world of poker has drawn many competitive legends from the world of sport over the years, with the long list including soccer players Neymar Jnr and Cristiano Ronaldo, tennis stars such as Boris Becker, and cricketing celebrity Shane Warne. A love of the game has even enthused some stars from the British snooker scene to compete in various tournaments, with Jimmy White, Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry springing to mind.
Seven-times World Champion Hendry, 48, retired from professional snooker back in 2012, but his competitive spirit has not subsided and the Scot is now hoping to taste victory once more, this time at the poker tables. Hendry said he originally developed a fondness of the game during the “Poker Boom” era of the early 2000s, with the card game being an entertaining way to pass the time with fellow pros between matches.
The stakes were always low, though, although on the competitive poker tournament scene he did win £6,000 from an event in Wales. That may not seem much for someone who has earned around £9 million playing snooker, but recently Hendry took part in the PokerStars Festival London in which the eventual winner walked away with an £89,320 ($111,638) prize, a sum comparable to many first place snooker tournament payouts.
Talking about the snooker qualities that may help him at the poker tables, Hendry stated his ability to perform at his best under pressure, his self-belief, and his ability not to give away his emotions. In the meantime, Barry Hearn, snooker’s biggest promoter and an avid poker player with $115,484 in winnings, said that Hendry would be classified as a “rock” at the poker tables, and that he would have to mix up his playing style if he is to ever succeed in the game. As Hearn explains:
“When you play people like that and you’re fearing the worst, you are probably accurate. Because if they are in a pot they are not playing around. But they are not risk-takers, they are percentage players. If you take that into account, you can work them out. They are never going to win anything big. The entrepreneurial spirit, the risk-taking spirit lives in classic poker players, but not in snooker players.”
In the past, Hendry has proven that he always enjoys a good challenge, and proving Hearn wrong would certainly be one the snooker legend might now find hard to resist.