It’s one thing to buy into a tournament and find yourself seated next to a WSOP bracelet winner or to walk the hallways of the Rio Convention Center in June and catch a glimpse of Annie Duke or Layne Flack as they head back to the tables after dinner break. It’s another thing entirely to get the opportunity to not only soak up their poker knowledge, but to play against them in a cash game and then knock back a cocktail afterwards. Now add in over two dozen of the greatest professional athletes to walk the earth, give them a few racks of chips, throw in a golf tournament, a televised no-limit hold’em tournament, and set the whole shebang in the Bahamas in September. Is that something you’d be interested in?
Here’s the thing: it’s actually happening. The first-ever PokerNews Sports Legends Challenge will unfold at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in the Bahamas from September 14-17. Twenty-five top poker pros including Annie Duke, Johnny Chan, Layne Flack, Gavin Smith, Men “The Master” Nguyen, Cyndy Violette, Kenna James, Antonio Esfandiari, Jamie Gold, and Mike Sexton are scheduled to attend along with NFL greats Troy Aikman, Emmit Smith, and Hershel Walker, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, skateboarding guru Tony Hawk, and golf master Rocco Mediate.
As if you needed any more convincing than the once-in-a-lifetime nature of this event, here’s our top five reasons we think you should play:
5. You might actually learn something
Have you always wanted to go to one of those poker training camps but it all seemed a bit… academic? During the first three days of the Sports Legends Challenge, poker pros will be offering training sessions several times a day for all SLC participants. Is betting on the Sunday games more your cup of tea? Top professional handicappers will be offering a workshop on sports betting techniques and you can test your mettle at the Atlantis’ Pegasus Race & Sports Book.
4. Play both cash games and sit ‘n goes with poker pros and world-class athletes
At the Sports Legends Challenge you’ll have ample time to sit down with both the poker pros and the pro athletes in a casual setting at the tables. No-limit hold’em SNGs and both poker and blackjack cash games will run throughout the SLC, giving participants the opportunity to interact with the pros in a small group setting.
3. Learn, Play… and Party with the Pros
Not only will you be “drafted” onto a team featuring one athlete and one poker pro but you’ll all strategize together throughout the week when it comes to how you’ll approach the series of no-limit hold’em tournaments offered during the SLC. Then, after a long day of playing, you’ll all get to relax together in a social setting at one of the nightly parties. On tap are an NFL tailgating party, a “Cocktails & Cigars” event, and individual team gatherings.
2. You might get to be on TV
Should you go deep in the no-limit hold’em tournament portion of the week, the top finishing players will each be paired up with one pro athlete and one poker pro “coach” to play in a tag-team, $1,000,000 winner-take-all finale that will be televised nationally on Fox Sports.
1. The Bahamas has a lot to offer
A Sports Legends Challenge package includes round-trip airfare and five nights of accommodations at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort. Not only do you have all the poker and casino gambling your heart desires right at your feet but it’s also a perfect destination for a family vacation. While you’re schmoozing with Sugar Ray Leonard or check-raising Gavin Smith, the rest of the family can swim in one of the spectacularly landscaped pools, ride the water slides, hit the beach, or check out the Dolphin Cay.
Stamping your ticket to the Bahamas doesn’t have to put a dent in your bankroll either. Head over to Absolute Poker, where there are a slew of satellite pathways to your Sports Legends Challenge package. Try the STEP tournaments, starting at only $0.10, the daily qualifiers for 500 Absolute Points, or the $215 super satellites running every Wednesday.
For more information check out SportsLegendsChallenge.com