In the lead up to the European Poker Tour (EPT) Grand Final which will take place in Monte Carlo, Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Selbst and PokerStars Ambassador and tennis superstar Rafa Nadal played a special heads-up charity match hosted by PokerStars at the Casino de Monte Carlo.
Nadal's live poker tournament career ran into one of the world's toughest poker opponents when he sat down to a heads-up match with Selbst. Nadal got his first-ever live tournament win in December 2013, when he battled it out with players that included Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu and Brazilian football legend Ronaldo. Although practice does work in all sports, including poker, Rafa will have to practice longer and harder to take out Selbst after he "finished with slightly fewer chips than Selbst," according to the PokerStars Blog.
“It was a great honor to play against a strong competitor and although I lost, I had a lot of fun,” Nadal said.
Selbst had this to say: “Rafa played a great game, but the format and the cards were in my favor,” said Selbst. “I was able to win by using aggression in good spots and I also made a number of strong hands. I had an excellent time with Rafa and I’m looking forward to the re-match!”
Alfonso Cardalda, Nadal’s poker coach added: “Playing against Vanessa was a very important part of Rafa’s poker journey. After winning in Prague, this was his next big step and he played very well against one of the best poker players in the world.”
A prize of €5,000 will be donated as part of this charity event to Care International.
A few highlights from the match:
Both Nadal and Selbst are well known for being extremely focused and determined competitors who possess the strategic and technical abilities to succeed. Their coming together was a great battle of minds.
Selbst is on her way to Italy for the EPT Sanremo and Nadal is in search of breaking a record — title number nine — when he competes in the first round of the ATP Monte Carlo Masters, in search of a record ninth title.
*Image courtesy of PokerStars.