US Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps recently played in the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event at the Caesars Poker Classic; he finished ninth and cashed for $5,213. Phelps’s appearance at this tournament solidified the rumors that he is getting more serious about the game and he has been seen hanging out in Las Vegas with numerous poker pros and icons including Phil Hellmuth and Doyle Brunson.
The $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em tournament that Phelps competed in was the second event of the Caesars Poker Classic, which featured 187 participants. He was knocked out of the tourney despite having better poker odds and a pair of Aces – his opponent hit a straight on the river. Michael Phelps also took part in the fifth event of the Caesars Poker Classic which was a $1,000 No Limit tournament, but he failed to cash in this one since he busted out very early.
The fact that Phelps took part in two different live tournaments should further the excitement created in the poker world when he appeared at the WPT Festa al Lago with Phil Hellmuth. There were also numerous reports about how he was spotted with Todd and Doyle Brunson in Las Vegas; this even fueled speculation that Phelps could be signed to represent the online poker site Doyle’s Room. However, nothing further has been reported on this.
Michael Phelps gained international fame at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece when he captured six gold medals and two bronze medals. Coming off of his excellent performance in Athens, many experts believed that Phelps could break the record for most gold medals won in a single Olympics; Mark Spitz held the 36 year-old record with seven gold medals.
Competing in eight events at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, Phelps won a gold medal in every swimming race he competed in and broke Mark Spitz’s record. He returned home and was immediately flooded with numerous offers asking him to appear on talk shows and make public appearances – quite a few of these offers came from within the poker industry too.
The first noted offer made to Phelps by a poker organization came from an open letter sent by the Asian Poker Tour; the letter was sent to him in Beijing after he admitted to frequently playing online poker and being a regular at Canada’s Casino Windsor. The letter came from the APT’s Marketing Director Jeff Mann and invited Phelps to play at the APT Macau event that was going on while he was in China.
Michael respectfully declined the invitation while saying he still had plans of getting more involved with poker in the future. It appears as if the holder of fourteen Olympic gold medals has made good on those declarations with his appearance at the Caesars Poker Classic.