Michael Phelps trades the pool for the poker felt

Michael Phelps competing in qualification round

Phelps is widely regarded as one of the best athletes ever and definitely an ace in the swimming pool, with more Olympic gold medals than any of his peers. His remarkable career has ended, at least if we are to take his word for it, as Michael announced his retirement after the London Olympics. So far, he gave no signs that he might return to the swimming pool to compete for medals, but made a brief appearance in Charlotte where he won the Grand Prix.

While some are already talking about a possible comeback, Phelps chose to downplay those rumours and claims that his swimming days are over. It goes without saying that the burning desire to swim and do it at a competitive level is still there, but since London, Phelps found solace in other activities. He played some golf and spent a lot of time in the spotlight with fellow celebrities and even took a jab at poker.

Michael has no intention to make a career in golf, but his competitive nature made him seek the company of the best players. It is the very nature of born champions not to avoid challenges and the best proof is that Phelps challenged the best poker players on their own turf. He could’ve played golf against them in charitable events such as the Tiger Jam, hosted by Woods, since poker pros have a soft spot for golf.

Instead, Phelps decided to raise the antes and lock horns with these remarkable players in their own backyard. He bought in several poker tournaments but the icing on the cake was his participation in the World Series of Poker. This is the most important tournament for poker players and the prohibitive buy-in of the main event keeps aspiring players away, while acting as a magnet for professionals.

Phelps had no hesitations in jumping head first into these sharks infested waters and even though he didn’t emerge victorious, he put up quite a fight. He has a mind for poker and the competitive spirit shines bright in any environment where people are expected to give 100% in the pursuit of victory. Only time will tell whether Michael will turn poker into a more serious activity or relegate it to the status of hobby.