By now we all know there’s virtually no stopping Neymar on the football field. In his last international appearance he scored two goals against the United States, helping Brazil to thrash the Americans, and at the club level his Barcelona squad is once again leading the way in La Liga. Per ESPN’s scoring tables, Neymar is off to a top-10 start in goal scoring in the league—to be fair it’s still very early, but Neymar has two of his club’s eight goals thus far. And let’s not forget: he’s still only 23 years old.
But in recent months, Neymar has shown us a skill that has nothing to do with his otherworldly football talents. Evidently, the football star is a pretty great poker player.
According to an SB Nation article from August, Neymar recently notched a $20,000 win playing online poker. The article focused on the incredible fact that this single winning hand, which could be life-changing for a lot of online poker players, will represent less than 1 percent of the money Neymar will make in 2015. But really, this shouldn’t come as any great surprise. The footballer has a lucrative contract with Barcelona, not to mention endorsement deals that over time will make him one of the wealthiest athletes on the planet.
The surprising thing about Neymar’s $20,000 win was that it came by way of a royal flush: the rarest hand in poker and, as any online card player knows, one of the most difficult ways to win in any casino game. And to be clear, there are a ton of ways to win! Betfair’s card page alone, which represents most every popular card gaming option for online players, can give you an idea of just how many games there are and how many ways to win in each of them. That should put things in perspective: over a dozen popular card games, with a slew of winning hands and possibilities per game, played by millions of people all over the world… and somehow a world famous footballer lands a royal flush.
Naturally a lot of luck is involved in something like this happening, and it certainly seems as if the odds of a $20,000 royal flush going to someone who’s already recognized as a celebrity certainly seem low. But Neymar has also demonstrated over time that he devotes a certain amount of time to honing his poker skills. Before the royal flush even happened, Mirror reported earlier last month that Neymar had joined teammate Gerard Pique (a known poker enthusiast) at a high-stakes tournament that was part of the official European Poker Tour. Neither of the players made the final table, but Neymar held the chip lead at one point, and even knocked out high-level pro Davidi Kitai.
Certainly Neymar’s talents on the poker felt can’t match what he does on the football field, but every now and then a young person comes along who just seems to have a special touch in every arena. Perhaps Neymar’s poker talent is an indication that his prodigal ability is ultimately multi-faceted. Or perhaps it’s just another way to net $20,000 more for his massive bank account!