Michael Phelps Dives into the WSOP

31 May 2013 | 01:20 Author: Seth Shafer

Swimming legend Michael Phelps is now looking to make a splash in the world of poker.

The 2013 World Series of Poker (WSOP) is underway and it didn't take long for a celebrity to take their seat among a sea of poker players looking to win millions on poker's biggest stage. Swimming star Michael Phelps made his debut at the WSOP when he took his seat in one of the early preliminary events last Wednesday.

Phelps would make it to Day 2 of the tournament before bowing out, not a bad showing after butting heads with some of the world's best poker players. It might be the first WSOP event for Phelps but he's been active at the poker tables since retiring from competitive swimming, with his best tournament finish a 9th place showing worth $5,213 in a Caesar's Palace tournament.

That's chump change for an Olympic star who has made millions in endorsements but like a lot of ex athletes who turn to poker, the real thrill for Phelps is the competitive nature of the game and proviing he can hang with the pro players.

Phelps has also been spotted in the past at high stakes cash games around Vegas, counting several pros as friends who've helped him sharpen up his skills at the felt. The 18-time gold medalist will face long odds in winning a WSOP gold bracelet that goes to all event winners, especially in his first ever foray into the WSOP action.

He won't have to look far for encouragement, though, as plenty of other athletes have traded in soccer balls (Teddy Sheringham), field hockey sticks (Fatima Moreira del Melo), and wickets (Shane Warne) and found success at the poker table.

Hockey player Roberto Luongo was the last athlete standing in last year's $10,000 buy-in Main Event, where he would eventually finish 634th for a $19,227 payday.  

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