The European Poker Tour (EPT) Grand Final in Monte Carlo is just around the corner, but leading up to it PokerStars decided to host a special heads-up charity match at the Casino de Monte Carlo between two of its most notable team members – PokerStars Ambassador and tennis superstar Rafa Nadal and Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Selbst.
Nadal, who won his first-ever live poker tournament in Prague last December against players that included Brazilian football legend Ronaldo and Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu, held his own against Selbst, but he ultimately finished with fewer chips when the match expired.
“It was a great honor to play against a strong competitor and although I lost, I had a lot of fun,” Nadal said after the match.
Likewise, Selbst had nothing but good things to say about her opponent. “Rafa played a great game, but the format and the cards were in my favor,” said Selbst. “I was able to win by using aggression in good spots and I also made a number of strong hands. I had an excellent time with Rafa and I’m looking forward to the re-match!”
Both Nadal and Selbst are well known for being extremely focused and determined competitors who possess the strategic and technical abilities to succeed. Their coming together was a great battle of minds.
Alfonso Cardalda, Nadal’s poker coach added: “Playing against Vanessa was a very important part of Rafa’s poker journey. After winning in Prague, this was his next big step and he played very well against one of the best poker players in the world.”
The charity event will see €5,000 donated to Care International. Selbst will now head to Italy for the EPT Sanremo, while Nadal will be competing in the first round of the ATP Monte Carlo Masters, in search of a record ninth title.
Here’s a look at some of the highlights from the match:
*Photos courtesy of PokerStars.