You might think that a man who’s broken countless world records, has more gold medals in one Olympic Games than any other person, has more golds in his career than any other person ever, and who is undoubtedly one of the greatest sportsman ever to have lived might have had his fill of ambition. Apparently not. After his unprecedented 8-medal haul in Beijing, Michael Phelps has told journalists that he’s now set his sights on poker’s most coveted prize: first place at the World Series of Poker Main Event.
Nonchalantly announcing that “I think it would be cool to play in the World Series of Poker,” may have come as a surprise to Olympic journalists, but those in the poker fraternity will recognize that both top poker players and sports stars share a burning competitive instinct. That kind of fighting attitude that might just see Phelps become a force to be reckoned with at a future WSOP. Poker has been his main hobby away from the pool over the last few years, Phelps having previously stated that he’d also like to win a WPT event. He should, at least, have no trouble finding the money for the entry fees – his agent recently predicted that he could earn up to $100 million in his lifetime.
Not that he’s getting ahead of himself: “My game is a little off right now, so I’ll have to start improving it a little bit. But I think that would be cool, and it would be cool to meet some of those poker guys.” A deferential attitude that resonates with those players who’ve been fortunate enough to sit at the tables with him over the last few years. The Canadian press have recently reported that, after finishing his grueling Olympic training schedule, Phelps often hopped the border into Ontario to attend the Caesars Windsor casino.
It seems very likely that Phelps will someday, at least, jump the first hurdle in accomplishing his dream – registering for the main event. Who knows, perhaps once his exploits in the water are over and done with he will become a regular on the circuit. One thing’s for certain: if he’s even half at good at poker as he is at swimming the rest of the poker playing world had better watch out.