Shane Warne was a huge loss to the world cricket when he retired back in 2013. Warne added an extra dimension to the popular sport and revolutionised the bowling game that was once dominated by fast spin bowlers.

The Australian cricketer is notorious for reviving the long forgotten art of leg-spin bowling; through this, he was rated as the fourth best cricketer of the 20th century by the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. With his style and influence carrying on through generations of cricket players, he would forever be remembered as one of the best bowlers to ever exist.

Unfortunately, his personal life was nowhere near as plain as cricket.

It was the spotlight that Warne often found himself under, and not for the right reasons. He was, aside from a fine cricketer, subject to seven books telling stories of his womanising, failing drug tests and even more women. His charismatic approach to cricket and life alongside his genius may have not been appreciated then. But, as often occurs when viewing things in hindsight, Shane Warne wasn’t as bad as we once perceived and now it’s clear his genius, much like the cricketers he once faced, completely baffled us. Ultimately, he gambled with his life in the spotlight, and it paid off.

Gambling, it may seem, has followed Warne not only through his career in cricket, but also into retirement, with the cricketer now moving forward through a career in poker. In this article takes a look at some of his high and low moments.

Warne Signs For First Poker Team in 2008

But this was during Warne’s transformation from sporting star to celebrity – a Beckham-esque morphing from sportsman to front cover material, that truly changed the popular sports star. Warne, the once rough and ready Australian cricketer was quickly transforming into a consistently tanned, make-up wearing, interview ready, run of the mill, corporate star. It was no surprise that a number of poker sites wanted his face associated with their brand. In 2008 Warne signed for his first poker team, leading the Australia division.

Starting off in 2008, Warne likened his new hobby to cricket – ‘I draw many similarities between tournament poker and cricket. Each are long and gruelling events that can be broken down into many smaller contests.’ It was, according to the Aussie, the thrill of the game that tempted Warne, rather than the money. ‘Taking on the best players in the world is an environment that I thrive on the challenge.’ Competition, apparently, was the determining factor when it came to signing up for a poker team.

The Superstar Of World Cricket

Although retired for many years, Warne’s face remains a highly recognisable asset – he was, after all, the equivalent to Lionel Messi of the cricketing world. Whether it was a desire to play poker or a desire to become ‘sell-able’ that spurred Warne on to play poker is all up in the air, but it’s safe to say that he seems to enjoy poker when he’s at the table; although, that could all be a trick as well, fronted by huge lashings of make-up.

It’s not uncommon for celebrities to front products that they aren’t exactly familiar with. Remember Ozzy Osborne’s endorsement of a popular British butter brand. What about Ronaldo endorsing this odd Japanese facial fitness device? Whilst Warne’s move to poker wasn’t as odd as the above examples, it was a career change that not many expected.

The Inexperienced Poker Expert

It was apparent that the cricketer had no professional poker experience, as the on-line casino were hesitant to place him on bigger event tables. But, after a few months on the practice tables, Warne went on to play for a well known poker team, fronting the Australian team for a number of tournaments including the WSOP, Aussie Millions and WSOPE.

You would expect that over the years, Warne has collected a rather tidy sum through his developing poker career. One WSOP tournament win can bring a player $800,000 alone. Well, you may be shocked to hear – or not – that Warne over the seven years of playing poker has only collected $89,163 in total live earnings. The former Australian Captain is, at the time of writing, the 15,277th best poker player in the world.

Warne’s Minimal Impact In The World Of Poker

Warne’s first ever win was way back in 2009 when, at the Joe Hachem Deep Stack Series, with a measly buy-in of $550, Warne finished 15th and took home $2,561 dollars. From there, it took the captain of the Australian poker team 10 months to place in his next tournament, with Warne taking home $8,280 and finishing in tenth place – beating the bubble is fine, but nearly two years and still no first tournament win.

This was Warne’s second prize since signing up back in 2008, going on to win cash in a further 7 tournaments over the next five years. It was looking bleak for Warne as he battled on through tournament after tournament, searching out for that big win. This was until the 27th August, 2010, when Warne picked up $35,899 from the Victorian Poker Championship in Melbourne.

This was Warne’s first significant win and the type of result his sponsors must have been looking for. To have such a big name fronting the brand, finishing third in a relatively big tournament would legitimise the poker brand’s decision to bring in the turbulent cricket star.

Well, if you were thinking this brilliant win would spur the cricket star in his triumphant poker career – you were wrong.

It’s Lonely 15,277 Places From The Top

Over the next five years he never went on to win anything bigger than his pay-check from the 2010 Victorian Championship. He even finished 8th in the Joe Hachem & Shane Warne Charity Even in 2012. Glen McGregor, who has never won any money on the live circuit, or even probably played poker, won the tournament in the end. A disappointing time for Shane Warne indeed – at least Joe Hachem managed third. In fact, Warne was beat by a wave of players who had either never played in a tournament before, or, even worse, had never played poker before.

Warne’s two biggest wins from after this point were $20,346 at the WSOP Asia-Pacific Tournament and $17,282 at the WSOP Las Vegas Tournament, where he finished 22nd and 597th respectively.

The media coverage for Warne’s recent successful foray at the WSOP Las Vegas Tournament was extensive, lauding the retired cricketer for accumulating a vast amount of chips by the third day.

In a tweet entitled ‘big win’, he told his fans that he had amassed a $225k fortune in just three days. Now, if anybody was wondering, that’s not $225k in cash – that’s just the value of the chips he currently has on the table. You can’t just call it quits when you think you’ve got enough. He was so excited at this prospect of winning more than just scraps he tweeted, ‘All in all, I felt like I played the best Poker of my career to [sic] far and am buzzing as I write this…’. It may have well been the best poker of his life, but, sadly, he still finished 597th out of 6,420.

Departing His First Team After 7 Years

Maybe his original sponsors realised Warne was a bad ambassador for a game he’s not very good at, maybe Warne had his sights set elsewhere. It’s rather unclear. His most recent win at the WSOP Las Vegas was under an endorsement deal with a brand new team, and, it seems, they were quite rather excited at the prospect landing a huge prize with their new star.

Unfortunately, his new team forgot who they were dealing with and, unsurprisingly, Warne was out in day four. Possibly saving egg on face, they seemed rather proud of Warne’s achievements.

‘We just lost’ seems to be the knee-jerk reaction from his brand new team, who probably shelled out a tidy sum of money to land the mega star. Warne, it seems, is more of a pull because of his celebrity reputation as opposed to his skill. Which is rather good advertising but does have a lot of punters thinking – why sign a celebrity who is so dreadful at poker?

All Celebs Are Equal, But Some Are More Equal Than Others

Some Celebs Are Actually Good At Poker

Whilst some celebrities need to stick with the video poker – we’re taking to you Shane Warne – there are some celebrities that are rather good at the game. Take Gabe Kaplan, American comedian, actor and poker commentator, he’s taken more than $1.1 million in winnings. Tobey Maguire has taken over $10 million dollars in winnings, although a lot of his winnings are through celebrity invite only games (where’s Warney ‘the poker master’ Warnster’s invite?). Even Teddy Sheringham has taken taken more than Shane Warne, with $200k worth of winnings in the bank. Is it not blatantly obvious that Shane Warne is one of poker’s greatest scandals?

Does Shane Warne Care About Poker?

Take a look at Warne’s twitter feed – nothing poker related. Warne, in an attempt to hide his dismal poker career, only associates himself with poker through the corporate twitter pages. After all, this is all he’s paid to do. His website may talk about how much he loves poker, but this is far from the truth. Everything screams that he’s simply in the game for the money, which is absolutely not the poker spirit.

Warne is probably the worst thing to happen to poker for a long time. What do you think about Warne’s last seven years in poker? Do you rate him as one of your favourites? Let us know in the comments section below.

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