Over the years, there have been a fair amount of poker players who’ve also played chess professionally. Two-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Dan Harrington is the most notable chess/poker player. Jeff Sarwer and Almira Skripchenko are a couple of other pros who’ve crossed between the two games. Now, we can add one more very notable person to the list in Magnus Carlsen.
The Norwegian just became the 16th world champion in chess after defeating the incumbent, Viswanathan Anand. In addition to collecting a $1.5 million prize, Carlsen also fulfilled his destiny by becoming a world chess champ.
He’s been on the international chess radar ever since becoming a grandmaster at the age of 13. Thanks to some mentoring from the legendary Gary Kasparov, Carlsen achieved a 2872 rating, which is the highest in chess history.
Since becoming a world champ, the 22-year-old has been getting even more attention than ever before. Carlsen recently did an interview with Chasebase, where he discussed his affinity for poker.
When asks if he ever goes out for a drink during tournaments, Carlsen said, “Rarely. I prefer to chat with friends on the Internet or play poker online.” He added that he likes to play for real money.
The interviewer also asked Carlsen if he wins in poker games. To this, the young Norwegian said, “If I take a game seriously, I do. If not, I sometimes lose. But that doesn’t matter. What is important is that I have a life beyond chess.”
Well, judging from this answer, it’s unlikely that we’ll see Magnus Carlsen trying to win WSOP gold bracelets like Harrington any time soon. This is especially the case, given that he just won the 2013 World Championship. But it’s still interesting to know that the best chess player on the planet also enjoys poker too.