Blood runs warm like mulled wine.
Claret coloured sand.
On one side of the Coliseum stand the high stakes heroes. The best in the business.
Facing them are the titans of entrepreneurship, philanthropy and celebrity. The best in their business.
It’s time to do battle.
36-hour sessions are the norm.
And they dare call them whales!
You can spot a high stakes hero of the future a mile away.
But what about the people who keep the game running?
Poker to Get a Hayemaker
David Haye is hitting the dirty green baize. The former Cruiserweight and Heavyweight World Boxing Champion announced his move into poker during a press conference held at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry during the Grosvenor United Kingdom Poker Tour (GUKPT), GOLIATH.
“I don’t know the rules,” said Haye.
Help comes in the shape of Joe ‘The Elegance’ Beevers, Jeff Kimber and Katie Swift. The Grosvenor Poker Ambassadors have the exciting task of transforming Haye from ring monster to rail monster.
“I’m a complete novice, so it’s a huge ask, but I am looking forward to the challenge and getting my teeth into something new,” Said Haye.
Haye has 12-months to learn the ropes before making his debut in the 2019 edition of THE GOLIATH; the GUKPT hit that holds the record for the largest attended poker tour outside of Vegas.
— David Haye (@mrdavidhaye) August 3, 2018
“I don’t want to embarrass myself in a year’s time,” said Haye. “That’s not why I’m here. I want to sit down with confidence and will enter the tournament to win.”
He’s picking a difficult tournament to win.
A few days ago, Florian Duta defeated a record 7,584 entrants, banking the £101,400 first prize in the £125 buy-in event.
It’s not exactly high stakes poker, so why am I even writing about it?
Haye is worth an estimated $20 million, and at his pomp commanded a £10 million purse for his WBA, IBF, WBO unification bout against the mighty Wladimir Klitschko (Haye lost on points, and blamed a broken toe for his loss).
If the Grosvenor Poker trio does a bang-up job, one doubts the man who believed he would be a heavyweight champion of the world from the age of three is going to be interested in playing £125 buy-in tournaments.
With a bankroll that deep, why wouldn’t he venture into deeper waters looking for a challenge?
And Haye is a winner.
The only other boxer in history to win Cruiserweight and Heavyweight World Championships is Evander Holyfield, and it’s not only the titles that the pair have in common. Word on the street has it that Holyfield spent most of his £150 million fortune, gambling.
Can Beevers, Kimber and Swift turn a champion of one field into someone capable of sparring with the best in the business?
Erik Seidel did.
The New York Times Bestselling author, Maria Konnikova, approached Seidel to teach her how to play the game for a book project, and the Poker Hall of Famer agreed. Konnikova went on to win the $1,550 buy-in National at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) for $84,600 and later joined PokerStars as a member of Team Pro.
Haye retired on June 2017, after losing back-to-back fights against the Liverpudlian, Tony Bellew. His pro record reads 28-4 (26 by KO). He had been boxing since the age of 10.
Haye isn’t the first boxer to find poker. Manny Pacquaio can be seen playing high stakes cash games in the Los Angeles card rooms. Floyd Mayweather is the frontman for the play money poker app Wild Poker, and the multiple world champion, Carl Froch, is an ambassador over at partypoker.