French rugby fans refer to the somewhat arresting-looking number eight Sebastien Chabal as “L’homme des Cavernes” – the Caveman. With his bushy beard, long hair and intimidating demeanour it’s easy to see why. In a different light he can also look like a young Father Christmas however, and his charity work shows that appearances can indeed be deceptive. He’s also one of the many sportsmen and celebrities that form the new poker generation.
In the last fifteen years poker, and more specifically Texas hold ‘em, has become an international phenomenon, with millions of people taking up the game both online, round the kitchen table and in live casinos. Film stars, royalty and sporting heroes like Chabal are frequently pictured practicing their poker faces round a card table, The more successful of them often sign sponsorship deals with the big online poker companies, as Chabal did for a while. While fans often like to emulate their heroes, it’s important to practice first if you’re going to take up a game like poker. Find the best online casino games in the UK at GamingClub.co.uk, where you can play poker for free while you decide whether it’s for you or not.
Chabal has appeared on French television paying poker, and was interviewed on the subject while still playing for his national team. Asked why he enjoyed poker, he replied:
“I like the fact that I’m alone at the poker table, unlike in rugby. I do not have a buddy who can help me when things get difficult. It teaches me to stay focused, patient, and not to question everything after a setback.”
Chabal highlighted the difference between rugby and poker, in that poker helps him decompress after the physical challenges of the pitch. “Poker is mentally challenging,” he explained. “While we’re travelling with the team, we often organise a table”.
The 6’ 3”, 17.5 stone wildman has played for French sides Bourgoin, Racing Metro and Lyon. He’s best known to UK fans for his time at Sale Sharks, for whom he made 101 appearances between 2004 and 2009, as well as his 62 caps for the French national side.
Fit For The Tables
Chabal claimed that the physical fitness gained from playing professional sport was an advantage at the poker table. “I can tell you that sitting at a table for five days playing 12-15 hours a day is tiring.” Asked if he wanted to go from being a Sale Shark to a poker shark, he replied: “Just being a good poker player would be enough!” (For the original interview in French, click here.)
(Images courtesy of listal.com, purepeople.com, severinkoller.at, huffpost.com)