Formula One Drivers Who Share Our Passion for Poker

22 Feb

There are few sports or games that can rival Formula One for pure excitement and adrenaline. The best drivers on the planet compete at speeds in excess of 200 mph / 322 kph within a few centimetres of each other—but what pastimes do they enjoy during their time off the track?

It turns out that poker is popular among Formula One drivers. Of course, there are no poor drivers at this level and with money to burn high stakes card games are a great outlet for any stress that has built up.

Poker is also a great leveler—one man against another. Sure there is luck but essentially there are no excuses. And in a sport where the car is more important than the driver this is a perfect way for them to stroke their egos if they are disadvantaged on race day.

Not a New Pastime

Card games are not a new pastime during Grand Prix weekends. Alain Prost and Jacques Laffite were known to run a game during the 1980’s.

There aren’t any stories of drivers getting together to play during the 1990’s, but the last 20 years has seen a lot of poker being played during downtime. 

Michael Schumacher: The seven-time world champion is known to be a huge fan of poker. Not only did he play games during spare time in the evenings during race weekends but he was also a fan of charity tournaments.

The Big Game: Twenty years ago we had ‘The Big Game’ in Bobby’s Room at the Bellagio and then Formula One started their own version. Headed by billionaire F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, the game attracted star drivers such as Fernando Alonso, Robert Kubica, and Giancarlo Fisichella.

In fact, following his massive crash in Canada in 2007, Kubica was handed a lot of poker related gifts to keep him occupied during his recovery. This led to a passion for the game that is still going today.

Fisichella was even picked up as a brand ambassador for partypoker. The Roman was delighted with his new role, saying:

“Poker has become a very popular pastime in the paddock in recent months with many of the drivers. I have joined two new teams recently and am delighted to be in pole position as a new ambassador for!”

Jaime Alguersuari: The man who once broke the record for the youngest driver ever to compete in a Grand Prix was another partypoker regular before Black Friday. The Spaniard unexpectedly quit motor racing at the age of 25 and now plays live poker alongside his new DJ career.

Lewis Hamilton: The superstar Brit is another seven-time world champion who has shown interest in battling over the felt. Last year he was spotted playing an event during the WSOP Online—$10,300 High Rollers Week event number #7.

It is unknown just how much poker experience Hamilton has, but if this was the start of his card playing career he sure couldn’t have found a tougher table.

Having Timothy Adams and Isaac Haxton either side of you isn’t particularly inviting!

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