For years, some of basketball's biggest stars have been drawn to the allure of major poker tournaments. We've seen NBA players like Paul Pierce, Shawn Marion and Jordan Farmar compete in events at the World Series of Poker. Pierce even made a deep run during last year's $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha event.
This week, three-time NBA All-Star Gilbert Arenas is taking his own shot at glory on the poker felt. Arenas made the trip to the Bahamas to compete in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) Main Event. On Monday the 32-year-old was seen playing high-stakes cash games with players like Jason Mercier and Scott Seiver, and on Tuesday he participating in Day 1a of the $10,000 buy-in Main Event.
Just last month, Arenas told TMZ that he was going to change his plans for retirement and instead train to get back into the NBA where he spent 12 seasons playing for the Golden State Warriors, Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic and Memphis Grizzlies. Poker pro Tristan Wade informed us this week that Arenas flew his trainer down to the Bahamas to continue his training, but most of Arenas' focus this week will be on the $10 million guaranteed prize pool in the Main Event.
According to PokerNews Editor in Chief Donnie Peters, who is covering the Main Event, Arenas doesn't appear to be a newbie to the game. Says Peters, "He handles his chips well and can be seen paying good attention to the action at his table."
This doesn't come as a surprise to us. Arenas has been associated with card games going back to his time in the NBA. In fact, it was a card game that resulted in a run-in with the law for Arenas in December 2009. Arenas was involved in an argument with former teammate Jarvaris Crittendon regarding a poker debt, and he brought unloaded guns into the team's locker room. Arenas pled guilty to a felony gun charge and was suspended by the NBA for the remained of the 2009-10 season.
Arenas has been all smiles so far at the PCA, chatting and even taking photos with some of his tablemates. We'll keep a close eye on his progress throughout the tournament, so keep your browsers locked to the PokerNews Live Reporting page for updates!