From Scrums to Bluffs – Rugby Players That Enjoy Poker


In reality you could probably not imagine two games that look more opposite to each other. First you have the highly physical game of rugby that is a real man’s game and something that is not for the faint of heart, and then you have poker which consists more of just sitting around and playing cards.

However, there does seem to be some sort of crossover here as many rugby players often have a passion for poker when they are not running at each other on the field. When you do have a bit of a closer look at poker, you can actually start to see the reasons why they do.

Firstly it is a very competitive game – not physically of course, but mentally – giving players a way to scratch their competitive itch away from the field. Secondly, the game is very tactical like rugby and requires players to try and outfox their opponents, which again is something that rugby players are always trying to do on the field of play.

It seems that rugby players just love to compete whenever they can, so when they are resting up after a hard game, they can simply log on to an online poke site or head to their local casino to relax and compete in a different way than that of their paying day job. They have simply swapped cracking skulls on the rugby pitch to that of cracking aces on the poker tables.

There are many rugby players that regularly play poker but the biggest names among them are the three that we will talk about below.

Mike Tindall – You cannot get many bigger in rugby than Mike Tindall, the former England captain that has a rather high profile wife in the royal family, Zara Phillips.

Ever since he retired from rugby he has become somewhat of a successful tournament poker player. His best finish was an impressive third place in an event in Britain back in 2009 and has since travelled the globe to take part in tournaments. He has played at longstanding poker venues in Europe and has been to far flung places such as Africa. He, like many tournament players, prefers to play Texas Hold’em rather than the many other poker variants that are available, as it is not only the most popular poker game in the world, but also the most easy to learn.

Sebastien Chabal – Many a rugby professional comes out second best when they face this giant of a man and we can imagine that he also puts fear into the players on the poker felt too. Though he plays poker mainly in live events, he does also play his fair share online and is an ambassador for the online poker room PokerStars.

He has proved to be quite successful on the felt, though not yet quite to the standard of success he earned on the rugby pitch.

Dylan Hartley – Hartley is good friends with Mike Tindall and it was through his friend that he found a love for the game of poker. They actually took part alongside each other in a competition against online qualifiers and it was here that the New Zealand rugby player first got a taste of a game that he is now found playing more regularly both online and live.


So there are three massive rugby names from three different countries that are regular poker players. You can be sure that the further you look, you will find even more players that have become attached to a game that really tests their competitive streaks against other poker players across the globe.

You can also bet that the future generations of rugby players will also find comfort when playing at the poker tables, no matter whether they are online or in live events.