When Michael Phelps made an off hand comment to a reporter from the Baltimore Sun at the Olympic games, it started a frenzy in the poker community. It immediately began the wheels turning and the competition for even the slightest endorsement from Phelps would be well, gold. When discussing endorsements, Phelps agent, Peter Carlisle told CNBC that he was getting ’50 pitches a day’ before Michael won the eighth gold medal and that number ‘increased exponentially’ as soon as he won the coveted medal. Despite the fact that Phelps likely has bigger deals on his plate, the offers from the poker arena are still rolling in.
Betfair, sponsor of the World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE), is only the latest party attempting to woo the 14 time Olympic gold medalist from the pool to the tables. He has been extended a personal invitation by the UK based bookmaker for an opportunity to compete for his ninth major victory of the year, a World Series of Poker bracelet. To further entice Phelps, the 10,000 British pound entrance fee would be paid as well.
The celebrated World Series of Poker event will be played in Leicester Square beginning September 19th running through October 2nd. The best of the best will compete for a seat at the gaming tables next to some of the greatest names in poker, all trying for a chance at the 1,000,000 prize jackpot and the infamous bracelet.
Phelps has been sighted playing Texas Hold ‘Em at the Caesars Windsor in Ontario, just across the US-Canadian border from his training base in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the time leading up to the Olympics and has since been captured in photos leaving Ambassadors Casino in London’s Mayfair district following his appearance in a promo for the closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics.
It is being hotly debated whether Phelps will make any endorsements in the poker world. He runs the risk of upsetting his big name, big dollars and possibly conservative sponsors. Only time will tell how the Micheal Phelps poker saga will play out though its a safe bet that the offers will continue to roll in.