Paul Pierce is a poker pro

As the Gilbert Arenas fiasco taught us, gambling is prevalent in the NBA. These guys play cards on flights, bet thousands of dollars on shooting contests and just generally do a ton of silly things with money that you would expect from a bunch of young, competitive guys who are well compensated for their profession. They are all Frank Reynolds, looking for action on anything and everything.

But here is a pro-tip for NBA players around the league: don’t play poker with Paul Pierce. He’ll clean you out.


Maybe it’s just one of Paul Pierce’s hobbies. Maybe he’s just trying quench a lingering competitive thirst during the offseason. Maybe it’s for the money. The NBA is locked out, after all.

If you listen to the Celtics’ captain, who advanced to the second day of competition in the World Series of Poker on Sunday, he was drawn to the event because of the lucrative prize that will be taken home by the winner.

Some estimates have the purse at over $8 million dollars, or a little more than half the amount ($15.3 million) Pierce would lose if the NBA were to be locked out for the entire 2011-12 season.

“The prize,” Pierce told ESPN when asked why he was taking part in the Texas Hold ‘Em tournament in Las Vegas. “Who wouldn’t want to try and come and win that?”

Second day of the World Series of Poker Main Event is nothing to sneeze at, that’s for sure. At the very least, he already beat Shawn Marion, who went bust on Day 1. I don’t know if this means we can call Paul Pierce the best poker player in the NBA, but that seems like a fair assessment since he’s made it the furthest in the most noteworthy poker tournament on Earth.

It’s also pretty cool that Paul Pierce has figured out an alternative revenue stream during the lockout. As the report mentions, if Pierce wins the tournament, he’ll take home about $8 million, which is only half of his scheduled salary for next year. And while it might sound scary to lose out on 50 percent of your earnings, just remember that Pierce will have made these dollars in two days, and that he can easily double his money since he’s in a casino. Win the tournament, bet all of the money on a sure thing and double up, at least. Perfect plan.

One more pro-tip for NBA players: don’t bet on anything with Charles Oakley. That never works out well.