Neymar Jr’s first official poker engagement as a PokerStars brand ambassador has resulted in a $100,000 win, according to recent reports. The Brazilian soccer superstar, who currently plays for Barcelona FC, signed with PokerStars back in May, and since that time he’s been building a name for himself in the poker community as well.
A few home games and an appearance at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) to rail his friend and mentor Felipe Ramos have now been followed by showing up at the Brazilian Series of Poker (BSOP) event in Sao Paulo.
Flying in ahead of pre-season training in Spain, Neymar Jr was mobbed by the local media as he made his way into the casino for the charity “home game”.
The event, which is the first in a long line of poker-themed duties for the Brazilian, was a huge success and despite being outclassed by the likes of Ramos and Andre Akkari, Neymar Jr appeared to be having fun.
Also reaping the positive benefits of the charity poker tournament was the Neymar Jr Institute (an organization that helps the underprivileged in Sao Paulo). In fact, thanks to 80 entrants and a further 40 rebuys, $100,000 will now be used improve the lives of those in need living in Brazil’s most populated metropolitan area.
Where we’ll see Neymar Jr next is unclear, but if PokerStars is able to align each of its sporting stars, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Rafa Nadal, then it could create one of the most stacked and competitive charity poker events in history.
Poker’s Charitable Side: Which Pros Raise the Most?
For his first charity poker event, Neymar Jr’s $100,000 tally is hugely impressive. However, if he wants to surpass some of poker’s biggest sporting contributors, then he’ll have to keep on pushing.
Of the sports stars that have anted up for charity in the past, Tiger Woods and his foundation have done some impressive things. In fact, his latest event in the US not only attracted a slew of celebrities, including Ed Sheeran and Mark Cuban, but raised more than $1 million for charity.
Another heavy hitter in the charity poker stakes is human circus impresario Guy Laliberte. The French-Canadian billionaire helped form the One Drop series of events at the WSOP and has since brought a new level of interest to the poker/charity genre. Comprised of super high stakes tournaments and more affordable options, the One Drop series has raised more than $2 million since it was formed.
Although Neymar Jr has a global following, it won’t be easy for him to surpass the current charity kings of poker. However, if he can manage such a feat, it would certainly be a great advert for the game and everyone involved.