Challenge accepted! Rafa Nadal to take on Ronaldo in The Duel

You know what it's like. You're itching to play a little poker but time restraints like the day job keep you from finding the time.

Ronaldo and Rafa Nadal know exactly how this feels. That's why they are putting an end to this enforced time away from the game with a contest that will prove essential viewing later this year - a head to head contest that we're calling "The Duel". And what's more you too can play a part.

It all came about after Brazilian football legend Ronaldo challenged his fellow PokerStars ambassador Rafa Nadal to a live head-to-head poker game. It goes without saying that Rafa accepted the challenge, happily bringing his time away from the game to an end.

And so "The Duel" will take place in London on November 6, with a live broadcast and coverage right here on the PokerStars Blog.

It has been several months since the pair last faced off against each other at the poker table. That came last December, in Prague, during the European Poker Tour Prague Charity Challenge. Back then the likes of Daniel Negreanu and Fatima Moreira de Melo were also part of a special six-handed tournament, only to watch new boy Rafa smash his way into first place, raising €100,000 for good causes in the process.

Nadal_Ronaldo_Schevchenko_and Negreanu_prague.jpgDanile Negreanu, Andrei Schevchenko, Ronaldo, Rafa Nadal, Alberto Tomba and Fatima Moreira de Melo in Prague

This time it'll be more of a revenge match for Ronaldo, who'll be aiming to put the record straight. His task will not exactly be easy. It might have been a while since Rafa last got his hands on some chips and cards, but his appetite for poker and his will to win, is unrivalled--which, when you think of it, is about what you'd expect from someone with 14 Grand Slam titles to his name.

"It was my first live poker tournament when I last played against Ronaldo and one year later I'm more confident with my skill level," said Rafa. "I really enjoy playing poker and the challenge of learning as quickly as possible, so I can't wait to get back to training on my game and to play against Ronaldo."

Rafa will be resuming his poker training regime, sharpening his skills in preparation. Meanwhile Ronaldo will be waiting, counting the days for his chance to put the record straight against his great friend and rival.

rafa_nadal_ronaldo_duel_18sept14.jpgRafa Nadal and Ronaldo getting serious at the table in Prague last December

"I challenged Rafa to a rematch after finding out he was preparing for another live poker game," said Ronald. "The last time we played together Rafa won the match and it was a lot of fun. This time it will be different, though, because I have been improving on my own poker strategy and will be more prepared."

It seems to us that we have all the ingredients for a thrilling contest--two great figures, a little bit of a grudge, and TV cameras to beam it live to a worldwide audience.

And here's where you can play apart in Nadal's training.

To get in shape--mentally at least-- Rafa will be taking on all-comers in a session of play-money six-max Zoom Poker on PokerStars. It's a great format, both for Rafa and for fans, who will have the opportunity to ask questions while potentially facing him in a hand of poker. And be warned, this man can multi-task, as he demonstrated the last time he took on "The World".

Rafa_world_webcast_duel.jpgRafa Nadal and Daniel Negreanu taking on "The World"

You can take part in this Zoom challenge on September 22, at 19:00 CET, and then again on October 14, both of which will be broadcast on

To ask a question on Twitter simply use the hashtag #AskRafa, although if your question was "What's your favourite shampoo?" be advised that he's already been asked that.

For now watch Rafa getting in a little training ahead of his trip to London...

Find out more about "The Duel" on the webpage, with details also of videos of Rafa's progress in the build-up.

Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.

Stephen Bartley
@StephenBartley in Rafa Nadal