Editor on 05 27, 2011
Poker and MMA have both been growing rapidly in recent year and they actually share a lot of common threads, despite the fact that on the surface they appear very, very different. You won’t see any poker players stepping into the octagon in the near future but the two sports do spill over to one another in many different areas, from online poker sites such as Bodog sponsoring MMA fights to a common home for both in Las Vegas.
While Bodog has shuttered its own MMA circuit that it briefly ran, MMA fights still play a prominent role on the site, as well as on other casino and sportsbetting sites. It has become one of the more popular sportsbetting options, as the nature of the sport can lead to some big upsets that produce big paydays for bettors who wagered on the underdog. Most sportsbooks now offer the chance to bet on every fight at major UFC events, including the undercard action as well as the headline fight.
You’ll also see MMA stars such as Randy Couture and others spending time at the texas holdem poker tables, especially for big events held in Las Vegas such as the World Series of Poker (WSOP). The $10,000 buy-in WSOP Main Event (the unofficial world championship of poker each year) regularly draws big MMA stars as well as other athletes and celebrities, as it not only provides a chance for some publicity and poker fun but the winner typically takes home $7-$8 million — a potentially big payday for anyone.
Las Vegas also plays home to many major UFC events, and still retains its title as the poker Mecca of the world despite the spread of poker around the globe. Many of the worlds biggest poker tournaments are held in Vegas each year in addition to some of the highest stakes cash games running daily at the Bellagio, Aria, and other poker rooms around town.