A number of established poker players can point to a career in tennis as a precursor to their poker playing days. Both Gus Hansen and Patrik Antonius were star tennis players as young men, before discovering poker to be their true calling. Someone who has been able to excel in the tennis world before taking on the challenges of poker is multiple Grand Slam champion Boris Becker.
Boris Becker and Tennis
Becker, of West German descent, made history in 1985 when he became the youngest man ever to win Wimbledon, at the age of 17. His victory proved no fluke, as he repeated the feat in 1986, defeating number one ranked Ivan Lendl to do so. In 1989, he nearly completed the elusive full Grand Slam, winning Wimbledon, the French Open and the U.S. Open. Becker has won over $25 million dollars playing tennis, making him the fourth highest tennis earner of all time. In addition, he won a gold medal in tennis in 1992 for his doubles performance with compatriot Michael Stich. Becker retired from Tennis in 1999 at the age of 31.
Boris Becker and Poker
Like many tennis players and other athletes before him, Becker’s retirement from tennis did not quell his competitive drive. Fortunately, Becker found gambling, and the PokerStars online poker site. Becker made a deal to represent PokerStars, and was introduced with much fanfare, with freeroll tournaments that bore Becker’s name and promotion of the opportunity to play Becker on the site. Becker is officially a member of “Team PokerStars,” a group of players and celebrities that are sponsored to play in various tournaments by the site. The team includes several former world champions such as Joe Hachem and Greg Raymer. As part of the team, Becker will be playing a number of stops on the European Poker Tour wearing PokerStars gear. He has also appeared in commercials for PokerStars.
Boris Becker’s Tournament Record
To date, Becker’s main tournament achievements have been a 7th place finish at the EPT 500 Euro No Limit Hold’em event at Monte Carlo in 2008, and a 40th place finish at the World Poker Tour Championship $25,000 main event, good for a $40,855 payday.