Neymar Jr is one of football’s most decorated megastars. He was part of a legendary Barcelona team, and won two La Liga titles, three Copa del Rey’s and the Champions League in 2015, completing the treble for Barça.
He later switched to Paris Saint Germain, where the Champions League may have eluded him, but the trophies haven’t. He won another 10 for the French outfit, including the league title in all but one of his seasons there.
Besides football, Neymar also has a long-standing passion for gambling and casinos, which is well documented nowadays. The Brazilian superstar loves gambling, both online and in person.
Most of all, he’s a poker fan. He has made a bit of a name for himself on the circuit. This is partly thanks to regularly streaming his ups and downs on Twitch. Some fans were worried that his big losses earlier this year may have slowed him down. They can rest assured though, as this is certainly not the case.
Love of the game
Neymar claims to have fallen in love with poker back during the 2014 World Cup in his home nation, Brazil. He enjoyed early successes, and in 2016 won a PokerStars event in Las Vegas. This earned him a seat at the World Series of Poker.
However, he was unable to participate, as his football career took him to the Olympics with Brazil. Six years later though, he got his chance. Neymar took part in the first day of the 2022 event.
He may not have made it to the second day, but it nonetheless made for a major step forward in what the striker hopes will be his career after football.
According to Pokernews, he has won over $32,000 in live events, he named his dog ‘Poker’, and his favourite hand is pocket 10s, after his shirt number for Brazil.
Down on his luck
Neymar’s bad luck started not in the casino, but on the football pitch. In February 2023, he underwent ankle surgery, which saw him miss the entire final third of last season.
His preseason was also disrupted by muscular problems as he missed another month of football. This didn’t stop him making the switch from Paris Saint Germain to Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal for a whopping $100 million back in August, however.
If he thought that the change in team would bring about a change in fortunes though, he was sadly mistaken. In October, he tore his cruciate ligament, an injury which is expected to keep him out for the entire 2023/24 season.
Hitting the tables
For Neymar, casinos are the perfect way to get some downtime. He loves to play online, and has been spotted at several high-profile casinos, often with other stars, such as ex-Barcelona teammate Gerard Pique.
He has occasionally been criticised for his lifestyle, including from fellow superstar, and teammate at the time, Kylian Mbappe. His boss at PSG however, Cristophe Galtier, defended his right to play on his days off.
The big loss
Despite having enjoyed his fair share of success in the casino, Neymar the gambler is best known for suffering a massive defeat. This parallels his football career, where he is often remembered as much for what might have been, as he is for his many outstanding achievements.
In March 2023, he lost $1 million while playing in an online casino. Just as famous as the loss, is his comical reaction: half laughing, half fake crying, before pretending to play the flute along with the background music. He certainly saw the funny side, and uploaded the video to YouTube for us all to enjoy.
Neymar was, understandably, less affected by most after his huge loss. He was reportedly making around $1 million every week at PSG, and that figure has climbed to almost $2.5 million now he plays in the Saudi Pro League. It’s no surprise then, that it’ll take more than one loss to put him off one of his favourite hobbies.
Monte Carlo bound
Indeed, only a couple of months after losing such a vast amount, Neymar shunned PSG’s celebration of their title win to head off to Monaco for the Grand Prix.
As well as enjoying the race, and cheering on Red Bull, he made sure to find time for Monte Carlo, one of the most famous places for casinos on Earth.
A future bracelet holder?
With so much time on his hands for the foreseeable future, we may see a lot more of Neymar in the casinos this year. Brazilians are also more famous for explosive, rather than lengthy, football careers.
Might we soon see Neymar make the switch to the poker table full time? With money, talent, and a fiercely competitive nature, it could be a mistake to bet against him reaching the very top one day.
Stay in the game
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