Arsenal Legends and Misfits: Would they have what it takes to play poker with the world’s elite?

As Arsenal fans, we’ve all enjoyed witnessing Lukas Podolski stick it to Spurs this week when he offered a riposte to a BBC tweet that suggested he may be on his way to White Hart Lane. If anything it offered a little light-hearted comedy for a season of indifferent results, thus far.

So, with Podolski’s jibe in mind, we thought we’d offer a feature with a slice of light hearted comedy itself and look back at some of Arsenal’s legends and see if they have what it takes to mix it in the world poker.

It has been well publicised the amount of ex-professional footballers who have ventured into the professional ranks of poker once they hung their boots up. Ex-England striker Teddy Sheringham had a stint on the European Tour circuit, former Leeds United flop Tomas Brolin briefly flirted with poker after his premature retirement and also Dwight Yorke, not one to avoid flashy events, tried his luck too.

But maybe one of the most interesting stories was that of Gerard Pique this summer when he played at the World Series of Poker event in Las Vegas. Following Spain’s early exit from the competition, Pique decided to go up against the world’s elite to combat the disappointment of his national team’s performance in Brazil.

Although there aren’t many notable ex-professionals from Arsenal that have made a name for themselves in the world of the poke, it could possibly be only a matter of time. After the poker boom pre-millennium, the launch of the first online portal InterCasino followed which transformed the sport into a more mainstream and accessible hobby for many sports fans. Since then retired sportsmen and women have seen poker as an opportunity to continue in professional and competitive sport.
But which of the Arsenal legends to we think would excel in the world of poker? However, throwing the legends into the mix may be a little mundane, so we’ve thrown some wildcards in there, too.

Robert Pires – The flashy French winger was known for his flair and trickery and this would no doubt transcend to the poker table. Fearless when faced with his opposition, Pires would fit right in with the grandeur lifestyle a poker professional leads.

Sol Campbell – Calm under pressure, Campbell would be at home in heads-up situations where he would be cool and calculated. Methodical behind every move, Campbell would have the temperament to perform among poker’s elite.

Niklas Bendtner – Erratic, mischievous and completely unpredictable, Bendtner would be the European equivalent of poker loudmouth Phil Hellmuth. His annoying behavior would no doubt upset his opposition and he would be a nightmare to read.

Ian Wright – Loud and boisterous, Wrighty would definitely be fun to play against. However, would he use such patter to distract his opposition? Wrighty was underrated by many in the game during his stint at a pro, so maybe people would be foolish to do the same at the poker table.

Thierry Henry – Much like Pires, if anything Henry would bring class and confidence to the table. Never intimidated by opponents and always willing to take risks to accomplish his goals, you’d expect Henry to throw a few bluffs in with some uncompromising play.

What Arsenal players past and present do you think would perform well in the world of poker? Leave your comments below.

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