Rafa Nadal takes on Spain, emerges with victory for charity

Give it to PokerStars SportStar Rafa Nadal: the man is not afraid of competing at a disadvantage. And then give it to him again: even when the odds are stacked against him, he can still win.

That's what happened today as tennis' living legend took on Spain's poker players in a €3,000 heads-up Zoom poker contest on PokerStars.es. The rules were simple. Rafa sat down in his hometown of Porto Cristo, Mallorca to play a microstakes heads-up Zoom game. For one hour, he would take on all comers. For every hand he won, he'd get a point. For every hand everybody else won, Spain would get a point. If he won more hands, PokerStars would donate €3,000 to charity. If Spain won, everyone who played against Rafa would get a seat in a €3,000 freeroll.

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Rafa readies himself for the challenge

Keep in mind, Rafa was playing with a handicap. First, he would be taking questions from the rail for the whole hour as Facebook and Twitter users chimed in with the #askrafa hashtag. Second, the entire event was being webcast on PokerStars.tv, so Rafa's opponents could actually watch his face as the hands played out. This should not have made it easy.

And yet...Rafa went out to an early lead and didn't give it up.

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Over the next hour, Rafa played exactly 75 hands. He won 2/3 of them. By the time the 60 minutes had passed, Rafa had answered countless questions, chatted with his fans, and put on a great show (including picking up aces a couple of times).

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The result, a smiling tennis legend who had just beaten his entire country at a poker contest. When it was all said and done, Rafa had won 50 hands to Spain's 25 hands. While the actual stakes in the game were irrelevant, the result was not.

Because Rafa won the contest, PokerStars will give €3,000 to The Good Hand Project charity.

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Congratulations, Rafa, on yet another victory.

is the PokerStars Head of Blogging

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in Rafa Nadal