The results of an interesting study came to light few days ago, detailing the alarming prevalence of high stakes card games including poker on football team buses, and how poor performances were linked to financial losses. 34 current and former professional footballers were interviewed by Graeme Law from the University of Chester. The study covered international players, along with those in the premier league, and lower leagues. The results of the study concluded that losing gambling sessions shortly before a football match significantly affected the performance of the losing players. “Players were unable to function to the level expected, and this leads to resentment in the team about their gambling,” said Law
Not renowned as one of the great thinkers of our age, perhaps Wayne Rooney’s poor form over the last 8 years finally has an explanation. Whatever the true scale of this link between poker losses and poor footballing performance, you might be inclined to wonder why a footballer would spend 90 minutes during a game thinking about a 50,000 Euro loss….when he’s earned another 100,000 Euros in the time it took for him to think about it. Going by Leicester City‘s form this season, you’d have to think that they’ve all been winning on the team bus, or perhaps they’ve simply set the cards aside and focused their competitive instincts on what they’ve been paid mountains of cash to do – win football matches.
In many ways, this report lifts the lid on where the juiciest poker games in the world are. Sixteen men, mostly of limited academic ability, all millionaires, travelling up and down motorways playing horrendous poker in buses. The only catch of course, is that you have to be amazing at football to be invited onto a team bus. I can almost hear Tom Dwan practicing his free kicks from here.
Article by Craig B.