The Intersection of Poker and Basketball: Top NBA Players Who Enjoy Playing Poker


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Poker is the most famous card game globally – it is so popular that many regard it as a sport. Although poker is not a sport and doesn’t provide players the opportunity to compete physically, it provides a different form of mental competition and can help people stay alert. This is probably one of the numerous reasons many professional athletes cherish the game.

Speaking of athletes who enjoy the game of poker, players from the National Basketball Association (NBA) make up a considerable percentage of them. Ideally, this shouldn’t be surprising because both games share quite a good number of similarities. For example, both require much concentration and the ability to quickly turn the play around to beat your opponent.

While many sports superstars enjoyed playing casino games, many were reluctant to visit physical casinos for many reasons. There are many reasons why this is the case. To begin with, some athletes try to stay off public places like gambling houses to avoid media scrutiny, and others just can’t find the time to visit physical gaming houses due to their busy schedules.

The rise of online poker has changed that, and many NBA players now sign up with their preferred online poker platform to play real money games. If you are an athlete who wants to sign up with a credible poker site for real money games, regardless of your location, you can visit Top10PokerSites to discover the top ten poker sites for each part of the world. Moving forward, let’s take a look at some top NBA stars who enjoy playing poker below.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest NBA player and one of the most famous athletes in the world. Many regard him as the face of the NBA, but only a few know he also engages in other activities outside sports. Apart from playing basketball, Jordan also enjoys gambling. It’s often said that he spends a huge chunk of his income on casino games.

While he engages in various forms of gambling, poker is one of his favorite gambling games. Jordan, who started playing basketball when he was 14, enjoyed a highly successful career. His job took him to different parts of America. Therefore, it wasn’t surprising when he started embarking on private trips to locations he had discovered during his travels to relax and enjoy some poker games.

Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook III is another NBA star with a poker connection. Although he currently plies his trade for the Los Angeles Clippers, he’s mostly remembered for his days at the Oklahoma City Thunders, where he spent over a decade and broke many records to earn various individual awards to add to his trophy collection. Westbrook has featured in nine NBA All-Star games and won two consecutive All-Star MVPs in 2015 and 2016. Impressive feats.

However, apart from his amazing basketball skills, Westbrook is also notable for his love for a good poker game. Due to this love, he has partaken in many official poker events and made his footprint in the industry. He once defeated Tiger Woods in a WPT event supported by the golf player. That moment was one of the highlights of his poker career, and it was a pivotal moment for the card game and athletes because it featured two highly successful professional athletes facing themselves on a poker table.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce will forever be remembered in Boston Celtics folklore, having helped them win the NBA championship title in 2008. He also featured in ten NBA All-Star games before retiring after his stint with the Los Angeles Clippers. Although Pierce has always loved poker, he faced it squarely upon retirement.

After his retirement, he was spotted playing poker everywhere and anywhere – on the TV show, Poker After Dark, where he walked away with the pot of $40,000, on the WSOP event in 2014, where he made it to the third day before making a burst, among many other appearances. Overall, ‘The Truth’ has proven time and time again that his audiences should expect nothing short of impressive stuff, whether as an NBA star or a poker player.

Seth Curry

Seth Curry comes from a family where basketball runs deep in their blood. His father, Dell Curry, is a former NBA player. His elder brother, Stephen Curry, is also an NBA superstar playing for the Golden State Warriors. Seth is the current shooting guard for the Brooklyn Nets.

Seth has always been vocal about his love for playing poker because he believes it’s a fun way to pass the time. That’s why whenever he’s not found shooting hoops, you’d likely find him in any of the various Las Vegas and Los Angeles casinos. He particularly enjoys playing cash games at “The Bike,” also called the ‘Bicycle Casino’ in Los Angeles.


So, there you have it, some top NBA stars who enjoy playing poker. It is also important to note that this list only features a few of the numerous NBA stars who love poker. Essentially, poker can be a fun and exciting way for NBA stars to pass the time as long as they play responsibly. It can also offer an avenue to stay mentally alert with the incentive to win some cool cash.

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