When tennis legend Rafa Nadal decided to take up poker, he likely knew there would be a learning curve. He'd have to learn the odds, appropriate bet-sizing, and the nuances of the game before he had a chance to compete at a professional level. This weekend, the poker fates took it upon themselves to give Rafa an early lesson in the meaning of "cooler."
That is the kind of grin you see on the face of a happy guy, say, one who fulfills peoples dreams of hanging out with a legend. That picture was--for certain--not taken a few days ago.
If you happened to be following the Spanish Championship of Online Poker (ESCOOP) this weekend, you might have seen that Rafa made his entre into the world of real money championship poker. More than 1,800 players showed up for the €200 main event, and among them sat Rafa (not to mention a very familiar and disconcerting face across his starting table...)
Anyone who has seen Rafa play tennis knows he doesn't take competition lightly. So, it was little surprise when Rafa ran up a stack early. He cracked aces with a set of tens and had his kings hold up against queens. All was going pretty well for the King of Clay. And then...well...then Rafa learned something we all have had had to learn during our time in poker. Sometimes stuff just gets really, really ugly.
In this case, Rafa's ace-king was outflopped in such a disastrous way, it's probably good he didn't have a racquet anywhere near his computer screen.
Witness this screen grab below.
So...yes. That happened.
While it was an unpleasant and chilly end to Rafa's ESCOOP championship hopes, we'll almost certainly see the legend back at the tables soon. He knows he still has a lot to learn, but at least that cooler lesson is out of the way.
Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging