It’s a tough call to perform in whatever your speciality is when all the attention is on you, but for Rafael Nadal, it’s all in a day’s work. Surrounded by eighty digital cameras with CGI-Technology, the spotlight was on Rafa in a €100,000 charity tournament at the EPT Prague, and the pro tennis ace didn’t disappoint.
For once Rafa Nadal was in a tournament where his usual status of favourite to win wasn’t as predictable as his past appearances on camera. Despite him being slightly on the back foot, the tennis ace took down yet another title to add to his trophy cabinet. You can just imagine the obscure sight for visitors to his legendary cabinet of success, because in amongst his growing collection of grand slam tennis trophies will be an EPT Charity Challenge Poker title.
Remarkably, this was Rafa’s inaugural showcase appearance on the live poker scene as Nadal swapped the clay for felt. The competition was tough, as felt specialist Daniel Negreanu and the ex-Brazilian striker and already experienced tournament poker player Ronaldo were also up for the challenge.
As the cards got in the air, you couldn’t help but notice the camera set-up. PokerStars plan to use the footage in a documentary on Rafa. It’s worth noting that PokerStars have taken the quality so seriously that the cameras they are using are the same CGI-technology used to film the Matrix. For the film to capture the slow motion scenes and pull off some of the most exciting fight scenes in movie history, CGI-technology with its ability to take snap shots at 100 millisecond intervals made all this possible. We can only but wonder what PokerStars has in store for us when they launch the documentary sometime next year.
As the cameras were snapping Matrix like footage, the line-up of sports stars proved to be too much for Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu, who exited in fourth place. Arguably, if you put a set of cameras and a good crowd around Nadal, you don’t stand much of a chance and Negreanu found himself the victim of Nadal’s confidence after giving away the majority of his chips to the tennis star. It has to be said that Nadal’s ability to perform under pressure as an individual was never in doubt, so after Negreanu and Shevchenko fell victim to a confident Rafa, there was little surprise when we saw him sitting in the final heads-up battle of the tournament.
Rafa quickly swept aside his foe to make it game, set and match! The €50,000 prize was Rafa’s to donate to the charity of his choice, ending a superb event.
EPT Charity Challenge Final Table Pay-outs
1st – Rafa Nadal (Team PokerStars SportStar) €50,000
2nd – Fatima Moreira de Melo (Team PokerStars SportStar) €25,000
3rd – Andriy Shevchenko €10,000
4th – Daniel Negreanu (Team PokerStars Pro) €5,000
5th – Ronaldo (Team PokerStars SportStar) €5,000
6th – Alberto Tomba €5,000
Check out photos from the event