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Rafael Nadal Zooms to Victory for Charity at PokerStars

Action on the tennis court can often become fast and furious for the world’s top pro, and Rafael Nadal used that experience to his advantage while taking on the world at fast-fold poker on PokerStars.

In a one-hour session seated alongside commentator Daniel Negreanu, Nadal managed to outplay his opponents at six-man Zoom Poker tables while answering questions from fans and players. The handsome and affable Spaniard responded to player queries in humble fashion, all the while concentrating intently on poker as he was whisked from one play-money table to the next.

“A lot of times you will have someone who is number one in the world, and they develop an ego,” said Negreanu of the top-ranked tennis pro. “He’s just very humble despite his success.”

That success in yesterday’s action was highlighted by a hand in which Nadal received hole cards of pocket Queens and managed to scoop the pot after getting all his play-money chips in the middle. After 60 minutes of poker play had ended, the tennis champ had 20 points, while his opponents throughout the world had 18.

Since Nadal had to face five players at each Zoom Poker table, he was given two points for each hand won. Any of his five opponents were given one point for taking down the pot against the tennis star. The event was aired via live webcast on PokerStars’ Facebook application, YouTube, and

Prior to the event, PokerStars had offered to donate $100 to a charitable cause for every Zoom Poker hand in which the “King of Clay” claimed victory. The world’s leading poker site upped the ante after all was said and done, sending $5,000 to Care International.

Players and fans are wondering, does Nadal have a future in poker after his tennis playing days are over? A new career may be in the cards considering that the tennis champ did win an EPT charity tourney in Prague and has now emerged victorious in two other charitable contests hosted by PokerStars.

“In terms of him being successful in poker, that’s not surprising to me, because guys like him that are so driven, they don’t like to lose,” Negreanu told PokerStars blog. “He takes it pretty seriously.”

Nadal will now take that seriousness and competitive spirit to the Sony Open this weekend.



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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.