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“Professional athletes have an innate desire to win”

It’s safe to say that professional athletes have an innate desire to win. You don’t work your whole life to be the best — and at the top of your game — if you don’t want to push it to the limit and win as often as possible. Athletes are more often than not, natural competitors. They love the adrenaline that comes with competing against opponents.

It makes sense, then, that so many athletes thrive in activities outside their main sport. This includes, of course, gaming — which requires some of the desire to win and love for competitiveness that so many athletes have. Casino games have become particularly popular with some of the world’s top athletes across a variety of professional sports over the years — especially as so many casino games have gone online.

Many pro players have signed on to endorsement deals with casino brands and venues. Sports stars like the NBA’s Michael Jordan and Major League Baseball’s Alex Rodriguez have been seen out playing at casinos. Rugby players are known to love playing casino games too, as it becomes an exercise for their brain that is different from the physical exercise they get while playing their main sport.

The top rugby players that love casino games

David Susigan

While he’s not the most well-known rugby player on our list, David Susigan was a former professional player from Portel Sur Garome in France. But a series of injuries including repeated shoulder and knee accidents forced him into an early retirement. Since leaving rugby, he’s become a pro gambler — and one of the most successful rugby players who has gone into poker. Earning over $317,653 in live poker competitions, his big win came in 2015 at EPT in Monaco where he won the Grand Final.

Shane Williams

Best known as a union player for Ospreys, the Welsh Winger is fourth on the international list of union try scorers. He’s also a huge fan of poker, having appeared at a major two-day poker event recently at Principality Stadium in Cardiff. He learned his love of poker playing on tour with Neath rugby team — often with the likes of other rugby legends like Brett Sinkinson, James Storey and Duncan James.

Sébastien Chabal

Famous throughout his rugby career for his heavy tackles, he played lock position in rugby union for Bourgoin and the Sale Sharks in England. He’s also played in several online tournaments and major live events. And while he’s not had any major wins – so far. But he’s still made a name for himself as a rugby player who loves a game of poker.

Mike Tindall

One of the most famous names in the rugby world, Mike Tindall is the retired captain of England, having played outside centre for Gloucester and Bath and currently playing for Gloucestershire division two side Minchinhampton. Having seen England through the 2003 World Cup and played in 11 Six Nations Championships, Mike Tindall is definitely at the top of his game — and also enjoys a game of poker. He’s played in numerous no-limit Texas Hold’em tournaments with total live earnings of over $5,000 and has played in a celebrity poker club series.

The benefits to casino games for rugby players

The accessibility of online casino games has made it more convenient for players to play their favourite games at any time. Due to the huge variety of gambling providers now available online, players can sometimes be unsure on which site to choose. This is where it is useful to use sites such as Gambling.com who list and review casino sites to help players make sure they choose a casino site that is right for them. Not only does it help the player choose the correct site, it also informs them of any promotions and bonuses the player will receive for signing up to a site, more of a reason to try a new site out!

With so many people owning smart devices like mobile phones (including iOS and Android) as well as tablets, more people than ever are entertaining themselves while on their commute, at work, or at home with casino games. And with so many fantastic games now available to play, it’s a great time to get into this fantastic form of entertainment — which is one more reason why so many rugby players are taking them on board.

But there is more to casino games than just playing for fun. In fact, there are so many benefits to playing casino games for professional rugby players — and even those of us who aren’t athletes.

Being able to focus while playing casino games, particularly in tense situations like poker, can help athletes to keep away from distractions while on the field. The strategies involved in games like poker are also applicable while playing again — defeating your opponent is not just about the cards, or situations, you’re dealt. You need to think it through and create a plan in order to succeed. The life of a pro rugby player is incredibly demanding — even during the off season. Playing games like card games, that help stimulate the mind, can keep a player’s competitive edge, which they can bring into their future games.

And the long tournaments can help build endurance — while it may not be the same level of physical exertion, there’s certainly a huge mental aspect involved.

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