Rafa edges The World in Zoom poker contest

He's taken on PokerStars' best players. He's taken on the entire country of Spain. Now, Rafa Nadal has beaten the world. It happened tonight in America as Rafa prepares for a showdown on the court.

Look in any direction around the city of Miami, Florida and you will see blue sky. It's perfect weather for tennis. On the streets, along the highways, and in the hotels of this city on America's southern tip, you see young fit people with tennis rackets slung on their backs, all of them presumably headed to the ATP Sony Open. It's the same tournament that's brought world No. 1 and PokerStars SportStar Rafa Nadal here. While tennis will be Rafa's main focus this week, he couldn't just sit around and not compete in some way.

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Downtown Miami under blue skies

So, tonight Rafa sat down for an hour with Daniel Negreanu at his side and took on the world in a game of six-max Zoom on PokerStars. While Rafa played, his fans played along and asked questions during the live webcast of the event. Though the stakes were only play money (which anyone can play on the PokerStarsPlay Facebook app), there was real money involved for charity.

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As Rafa played, the webcast kept track of how many hands he won and how many hands his opponents won after the flop. Because he was up against five other players at a time, Rafa got two points per win. The World got one point per win. That tally came with the promise that the victor's number of winning hands would be multiplied by $100 and the money given to Care International.

Over the course of the next sixty minutes, Rafa answered questions from fans about everything from his toughest opponents to his favorite shampoo. What's more, the native Spaniard spoke in English the entire time while still trying to concentrate on poker's fastest action.

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It was back and forth for hand after hand, but with just minutes left to play, Rafa picked up pocket queens, got it all in pre-flop against several players, and won. When the contest was over, Rafa had won by a score of 20-18. That made it $5,000 for charity (PokerStars rounded it up) and another checkmark in Rafa's win column.

"A lot of times you will have someone who is number one in the world, and they develop an ego," Negreanu said. "He's just very humble despite his success. In terms of him being successful in poker, that's not surprising to me, because guys like him that are so driven, they don't like to lose. He takes it pretty seriously.

Now Rafa turns his attention to tennis and taking down the Sony Open this weekend.

Good luck, Rafa!

is the PokerStars Head of Blogging

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in Rafa Nadal