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Rafael Nadal Loses Heads-up Poker Match to Vanessa Selbst

Rafael Nadal has come a long way in the almost two years that he has been playing poker. In recent months, the top-ranked tennis star won a live poker tournament and a couple of Zoom Poker sessions that all greatly benefited charity.

But the latest charitable event held Friday in Monte Carlo was the first in which Nadal played a heads-up poker match. The tennis pro could not overcome the poker talents of the all-time leading poker tournament money winner among females, Vanessa Selbst.

Seated on the live felt at the Casino de Monte Carlo where both players are in town to compete in their respective chosen professions, Selbst at the EPT in San Remo and Nadal at the ATP Monte Carlo Masters, Selbst managed to accrue more chips than Nadal.

Rafa played a great game, but the format and the cards were in my favour,” Selbst told PokerStars blog. “I was able to win by using aggression in good spots and I also made a number of strong hands. I had an excellent time with Rafa and I’m looking forward to the re-match!”

PokerStars donated €5,000 to Care International upon staging the heads-up exhibition, the same worthwhile cause that received a similar amount when Nadal took on the world in a one-hour online poker session last month and won.

:It was a great honour to play against a strong competitor and although I lost, I had a lot of fun,” Nadal said.;


Nadal is quite a competitor himself and will now get to work on his ninth tennis title. Selbst, meanwhile, has her sights set on eclipsing $10 million in career earnings.



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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.