Elite athletes at the poker table is certainly nothing new. Just a few weeks ago, we covered some of basketball’s biggest stars who sometimes fancy to play a bit of cards.
However, this time, Leicester City and England international soccer player James Maddison got into trouble for taking part in a game of Texas Hold’em.
England Football Star James Maddison Captured Playing Poker While Out with an Illness
The Leicester City midfielder was called up by the England national team to play in two European qualifiers. It’s something that should have been really special for him. The 22-year-old player hasn’t played for the national team yet, this would have been his debut.
However, he couldn’t join the team due to an illness. Most people would think that’d be quite disheartening for a professional footballer. However, Maddison shocked the English football community after he was pictured playing poker at the Grosvenor Casino in Leicester city center.
What made matters worse is that England lost to the Czech Republic 2-1. Thus the fans weren’t really in a forgiving mood.
Sources claim James Maddison was only in the casino for about an hour. That means he either popped in for a short cash game session or he busted a tournament early.
The short duration of the visit didn’t appease the general public.
British newspaper The Sun ran an article with the headline “James Maddison’s casino visit was arrogant and disrespectful to [England head coach] Gareth Southgate”.
The Metro quoted former Leicester City manager Ian Holloway saying this about the James Maddison poker fiasco:
“It’s unbelievably naive, unprofessional as well. He’s a young man, so I wouldn’t like to be him at the minute because he’ll be worried about his England career.”
England head coach Southgate spoke about the issue in a much calmer tone:
Southgate on James Maddison being pictured in a Leicester casino ” Once a players been released from the squad its up to them how they spend their timer ” 👀 pic.twitter.com/aMrD39m5Su
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) October 14, 2019
What Maddison is going through is actually very similar to a scandal a much bigger soccer star, the Brazilian Neymar, stirred up in early 2018.
The then injured Neymar traveled back to his home country for treatment. While his teammates at Paris Saint-Germain were vying for the French championship title, he posted a picture of himself playing a $215 online poker tournament to his Instagram story. The PSG fans weren’t happy.
James Maddison as a Poker Player
James Maddison certainly has a taste in poker rooms, Grosvenor Casinos is one of the best known casino chains in Europe. Also, the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour is the biggest poker tournament series in Britain.
There is a Hendon profile for an English player with the name James Maddison. However, it shows cashes from 2008 when the Leicester City midfielder was only 12 years old. On the other hand, most of the results are after 2015 when he did reach the legal gambling age in the UK, 18.
Therefore it is possible that it’s actually him with a few misattributed poker tournament scores. In that case, James Maddison has cashed for around $5,000 total.
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