Former Real Madrid Player Royston Drenthe: Shooting for Higher Poker Goals

Former Real Madrid Player Royston Drenthe: Shooting for Higher Poker Goals

Table Of Contents

  • Growing Up
  • Cashing at the EPT

When Dutch football (soccer) player Royston Drenthe got signed by the Real Madrid football club, he went from obscurity to fame in an instant. Just 20 at the time, he wasn’t necessarily equipped to manage the significant income boost he suddenly enjoyed. That’s one of the reasons why those with whom he played poker in home games starting back in 2008 were always glad to have him take a seat.

"It was happiness for them when I came to the table, because I was the big fish," Drenthe recalls with a smile.

"The first four or five years, I played the game because I loved the game. So I went to games and it didn’t even bother me if I lost money or I won money, because I just liked the game. But it was a bad thing."

He was fine with being the fish back then, but with time, Drenthe learned to be more responsible with money and dedicated himself to improving his game.

PokerNews caught up with Drenthe at the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino European Poker Tour where he joined the many poker players from around the world who have come to Monaco to test their mettle.

Growing Up

Drenthe began to study by reading poker books and learning from some high-level poker players in the Netherlands. Meanwhile, his family continued to grow; he now has six children, five daughters and a son.

"I know that I can be better and better every day; that’s the reason that I like the game so much.”

Upon retiring from soccer in 2016, Drenthe had more time to study and play poker. He went to the World Series of Poker where he strung together 16 cashes in small events, mostly in the Rio Daily Deepstacks.

Drenthe was also able to pursue another passion of his during that time — rap music. Drenthe has since returned to the professional soccer life, signing with Sparta Rotterdam in his hometown last year, but he still finds time to dedicate to the game of poker, which is no longer just a hobby for Drenthe.

"Now it’s a different thing," he explains. "I’m playing football, I’m doing a lot of stuff between, but poker is not only a game that I like to play. I know that I can be better and better every day. That’s the reason that I like the game so much."

Cashing at the EPT

Drenthe takes poker more seriously these days, as evidenced by his participation at EPT Monte-Carlo. After playing a soccer match last Friday, Drenthe joined the €2,200 French National Championship High Roller. He ultimately made Day 2 and finished in 35th place from a field of 538 entries for a €4,870 cash before flying back to Rotterdam in time for Tuesday’s team practice.

Life is different now for the Dutch poker professional, as he balances his soccer career, family life and poker ambitions. Now Drenthe sees younger soccer players at home games dabbling in poker, splashing around as he used to do. The difference is, when Drenthe looks around the table these days, he’s no longer the fish in the game.

Drenthe sees more poker-playing in his future, including at the WSOP this summer, where he plans to take some shots in several events. You can watch the PokerNews interview with Drenthe below:



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  • The Dutch professional soccer player cashed at the EPT Monte Carlo before flying back home for practice.

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