On Thursday, tennis superstar Rafael Nadal made his live tournament debut at the PokerStars European Poker Tour Prague. As part of the EPT Charity Challenge, €100,000 was up for grabs to giveaway to a charity of choice, with the minimum contribution set at €5,000 and the highest at €50,000.
Nadal was joined by FIFA World Cup winner Ronaldo, Ukrainian footballer Andriy Shevchenko, Italian skier Alberto Tomba, Dutch Olympic field hockey gold medalist and PokerStars SportStar Fatima Moreira de Melo, and Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu, all playing a one-table sit-and-go event.
Negreanu set the pace for the tournament, making his way to the chip lead early on. According to the PokerStars Blog, he was quoted saying, “I’ve had so many good hands.” Not long after, though, the table was flipped when Negreanu became the short stack after the others chipped up and doubled.
Tomba was the first to go, busting in sixth place for €5,000 after his pocket sixes failed to survive against Negreanu’s top pair of jacks on a flop. Following Tomba’s departure was Ronaldo out in fifth place, collecting €5,000 for charity. His was the losing hand against de Melo’s .
Quickly thereafter, Negreanu was out. Nadal jumped from short stack to the chip lead after doubling through Negreanu with the catching a queen against Negreanu’s . Nadal then doubled again with the against Negreanu’s pocket threes. Then, he won a three-way all-in against Negreanu and Shevchenko to move to 80,000 in chips and send Negreanu to the rail to collect €5,000.
It was a joy ride from then on as Nadal’s heater continued. He eliminated Shevhenko in third place for €10,000, leaving Nadal and de Melo heads-up for the top prize of €50,000 to be given to their charity of choice. After some back-and-forth action, Nadal took back the chip lead and eventually the trophy and title after getting it in with the against Moreira’s short-stack shove with the .
Rafael Nadal can now add PokerStars EPT Prague Champion to his list of accolades while securing €50,000 for a good cause that will go to the charity of his choice. Congratulations to Nadal, and hopefully we see much more of him on the felt.
For more coverage from EPT Prague, check out the PokerNews live reporting pages.