Neymar definitely seems like one superstar athlete who’s interested in poker beyond just securing a PokerStars deal. The FC Barcelona star recently won €17,810 (approx. $20k) while playing an online poker cash game.
As SBNation pointed out, if you look closely, you can see that this isn’t just any $20,000 win, but rather a royal flush hand as well. Considering this, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the 23-year-old to continue his online poker play.
Of course, if Neymar does keep playing, it will be purely for his own enjoyment. After all, the star Brazilian footballer makes €12 million with FC Barcelona alone, and his endorsement deals are estimated to be worth around $31 million per year.
The one question that’s up in the air is how much his PokerStars contract is worth. As we reported before, Stars offered Zlatan Ibrahimovic €3-4 million per year to represent them in some tournaments and promotions. The Swedish footballer ultimately said no, but the point is that given how Neymar is more recognized around the world, we can only imagine that he commands an even larger fee.
In any case, this $20k pot story is likely to draw some mainstream attention to poker, which is exactly one of the benefits to having somebody like Neymar involved with the game.
The World Series of Poker has drawn its fair share of celebrities over the years, like Ray Ramano, Paul Pierce, Jason Alexander and Brad Garrett. However, Stars has been able to recruit more celebrities with an international presence in recent years, like Neymar, Rafael Nadal and Ronaldo. Assuming they get into the U.S. market, it’d be interesting to see what kind of American athletes they can sign to their team.