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Heads-Up Poker Match Between Ronaldo and Rafa Set for Nov. 6

Brazilian football star Ronaldo and worldwide tennis champ Rafa Nadal are set to compete in a heads-up poker contest on Nov. 6 in London.

The two sports stars are both PokerStars ambassadors and the upcoming match, dubbed “The Duel” by PokerStars Blog, came about after Ronaldo issued a challenge and Rafa gladly accepted. The event will be live and broadcast on

I challenged Rafa to a rematch after finding out he was preparing for another live poker game,” said Ronaldo. “The last time we played together Rafa won the match and it was a lot of fun. This time it will be different, though, because I have been improving on my own poker strategy and will be more prepared.”

That last match occurred in December in Prague as part of the European Poker Tour Charity Challenge. The six-handed event included Fatima Moreira de Melo and Daniel Negreanu and resulted in Rafa taking home the title, which he also does quite frequently on the tennis court. The staging of that event raised €100,000 for charity.

Rafa’s poker game is improving

This time around, Rafa believes he may be an even tougher foe for Ronaldo, considering that he has been able to put in a few more hours on the felt. That is, when he’s not winning Grand Slam tennis titles.

It was my first live poker tournament when I last played against Ronaldo and one year later I’m more confident with my skill level,” the affable Nadal said. “I really enjoy playing poker and the challenge of learning as quickly as possible, so I can’t wait to get back to training on my game and to play against Ronaldo.”

Players and fans can compete against Nadal at PokerStars

In order to sharpen his game, Rafa will be putting in some time at the play-money tables at PokerStars. Players are invited to compete against the tennis champ on the six-max Zoom Poker tables today at 19:00 CET. Players in the U.S. can access PokerStars’ play-money offerings.

Questions can be asked of the tennis pro and up-and-coming poker star similar to the last time that PokerStars staged such an event in March. During that Zoom Poker session, Negreanu sat alongside Rafa as he took on the world and won, raising funds for Care International in the process.

“A lot of times you will have someone who is number one in the world, and they develop an ego,” Negreanu said while mentoring the ‘King of Clay.’ “He’s just very humble despite his success.”

Another Zoom Poker play-money session with Nadal is scheduled for Oct. 14. Players and fans who would like to ask questions of the Spaniard either today or next month can do so via Twitter using the hashtag AskRafa.



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Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.