At last, the NHL is back and the players have returned to the ice. But what did the players do with all of that free time? Some stayed home, tried to stay in shape and waited. Others went overseas. Some turned to poker.

One of the most famous ice hockey pros to turn to the felt was Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo. Luongo has recently been playing on the World Series of Poker Circuit at the River Rock Casino.

Strangely, Luongo says he owes his knowledge of poker due to a previous lockout 7 years ago. It was during that time that he got serious about poker, and since then, poker has been a regular hobby.

Luongo sees similarities between ice hockey and poker, referring to concentration, patience and preparation as being the keys to success.

Like many players, Luongo’s hockey future is not as certain as it once was. This of course is the case with all pro hockey players in the league during the lockout crisis, but few have seen their name in the rumour mill as often as he. However, Luongo stayed calm during his training, and he was ready when the season resumed, getting the call from the bench in the second period of the Canucks’ first game.

During the lockout, fans too found more free time on their hands. Fans of dramatic sports, full of suspense and adrenalin, sometimes find that poker satisfies the craving. It goes well beyond hockey – to mention a few famous sports personalities to have embraced poker: Rafa Nadal, Shane Warne, Gianluigi Buffon, Boris Becker, Teddy Sheringham, Bobby Sura… the list goes on.

These sports personalities and fans had to learn somewhere, and while beginners may find the prospect of learning the rules of poker over facing, it certainly should not be the case. It actually takes very little time to learn how to play, but it usually takes years to master. As with any sport, you usually start practicing with friends or others at similar levels – with poker you can do this at
home or online. Learning to play online is an easier process, as you can play a lot of hands in a short space of time, and the software takes care of calculations and much more.

Playing at home with friends has a few obvious advantages especially when it comes to body language and bluffing. In recent years, poker’s popularity has exploded, mainly due to the growing popularity of online poker. Even more recently, we have seen a growing number of young players qualifying for major events such as the World Series of Poker or the PokerStars European Poker Tour. What’s more, some of these young players have gone on to win.

With its 49 million registered members, the worlds most popular online poker destination,, is a great place to learn. It is also the home of tournament poker, so you can be rest assured that the choice there is second to none, whether you want to play or learn Texas Hold’em, Omaha, HORSE or Stud.

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