Michael Phelps Beaten By Wife in $1 Million Charity Poker Event

February 6th, 2017 | by Brian Corlisse

Michael Phelps might be the best poker playing swimmer in the world, but he’s not quite as good as his wife Nicole it seems.

Michael Phelps Big Game Big Give poker event.

Michael Phelps couldn’t beat his wife Nicole in the inaugural Big Game Big Give charity poker event. (Image: reddit/@WhoJedi)

With the Super Bowl presenting the perfect opportunity for celebrities, business owners and poker pros to come together and do something for charity, Phelps was out to prove his skills on February 4th.

As part of the inaugural Big Game Big Give charity event, 28-time Olympic medalist Phelps joined forces with Jamie Gold to host an exclusive poker tournament.

Celebrities Take Aim at Golden Prize

Costing $2,000 to enter and with a bundle of prizes up for grabs, including private poker tuition from 2006 WSOP Main Event champ Gold, the tournament quickly sold out. With 160 wealthy amateurs grinding away inside the Houston home of Lisa and Michael Holthouse, it looked at one point as if the Phelps couple would be taking on each other in a heads-up showdown.

However, for the sake of their relationship, Michael busted just short of the final table while his wife made it into the top three according to a source at PageSix.com.

Although the event’s organizer, The Giving Back Fund, hasn’t released the official tournament results at the time of writing, The Houston Chronicle has reported that it managed to raise in excess of $1 million.

Half of the money raised from the poker tournament and various donations and auctions made throughout the event will go to the Giving Fund, while the remainder will be divided among four charities: Lemonade Day, the Epidermolysis Bullosa Medical Research Foundation, the International Rescue Committee and the Michael Phelps Foundation.

Despite missing out on another gold medal in the poker tournament, Phelps did receive the “Legendary Athlete of the Year Award” from the charity for his services in and out of the pool.

On top of becoming one of the greatest Olympians of all time, Phelps works with his own charity as well as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, BID 2 BEAT AIDS and ONE DROP among others.

Phelps Connecting Poker and Charity

In fact, it’s Phelps’ connections with the poker community that’s led him to take an active role in ONE DROPS money-raising efforts. The charity, which was started by Cirque de Soleil founder and poker enthusiast Guy Laliberte, is behind an annual selection of tournaments at the WSOP.

The inaugural WSOP Big One for ONE DROP in 2012 featured a $1 million and attracted 48 entrants. On that occasion, Antonio Esfandiari beat the UK’s Sam Trickett to win the $18,346,673 top prize and since then the ONE DROP series has become a regular feature at the WSOP.

Although Phelps hasn’t yet taken a shot at a tournament with a buy-in as large as the Big One for ONE DROP, he has taken part in a number of WSOP events.

Unfortunately, in his latest outing at the felt, he wasn’t quite good enough to prove he was the best celebrity player in the world.


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