David Haye Left Battered After First Poker Sparring Session

November 7th, 2018 | by Brian Corlisse

David Haye has come out of his first sparring session with Team Grosvenor Poker looking confused and a little worse for wear.

David Haye poker

David Haye has received his first proverbial beating at the felt courtesy of Team Grosvenor Poker. (Image: GUKPT)

Three months on from being announced as the latest sportsman to take up poker, the former cruiserweight and heavyweight boxing champion recently had his first serious lesson.

Linking up with Grosvenor Poker’s Joe Beevers, Jeff Kimber and Katie Swift, Haye was put through his paces ahead of next year’s David vs. Goliath Challenge.

Mammoth Task Ahead of Goliath Challenge

As part of the agreement to play in 2019’s GUKPT Goliath, Haye will receive tutelage from three pros. However, the kicker is that he hasn’t played poker before, something which is evident in the recent video released by Grosvenor (see above).

In recounting the first bootcamp, Beevers said that Haye wasn’t sure if jokers could be used or not. By his own admission, the ex-boxer then went on to say that he often gets clubs and spades confused.

Whether or not it was first-time nerves or one too many blows to the head, the pressure is certainly on Team Grosvenor but that won’t stop them from trying. Ever the optimist, Swift is putting her faith in the champion’s mindset of Haye.

“He’s got a long way to go, but I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think he could do it,” Swift said in the first episode of Haye’s bootcamp diary.

Grosvenor Exploiting Poker’s Sporting Connections

Boxers crossing over into the poker is certainly nothing new. In 2015, high stakes pro Justin Smith recounted a high stakes session he played against Manny Pacquiao.

The same year, former world champion Carl Froch became an ambassador for Partypoker. Despite being in a lighter weight class than Haye during his boxing career, Froch has become a comparative heavyweight in poker at this point.

As well as playing online, the Englishman is a regular at Nottingham’s Dusk Till Dawn card room where he has two recorded tournament cashes.

Away from Haye’s credentials at the felt, David vs. Goliath is a chance for Grosvenor Poker to reach new demographics. As PokerStars has done in the past with Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr, Grosvenor will be using Haye’s mainstream appeal to launch a series of social media campaigns.

The question now is whether Haye can make as much of an impact at next year’s GUKPT Goliath as his public profile will have on Grosvenor’s PR efforts.


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