The last month was reserved for FIFA World Cup in Brazil and like the millions of people around the globe, I also caught a Football Fever bug. How could I not? Rhere was football on TV, radio, pubs, shopping malls and all over social media. Hell, even people living at the other side of the pond were excited about this year "soccer" matches. No wonder this game is considered the most important unimportant thing in the world. Some take it even more seriously than religion.
Unfortunately, the Slovenian national team didn't qualify this year. We were World Cup participants in S.Korea & Japan (2002) and in South Africa (2010), which was actually a little miracle on its own. I'm pretty sure we were one of the smallest (if not THE smallest) nation that qualified.
So having no team in Brazil, I had to choose some other nation to root for. Because English Premiere League is the only football league that I follow, I decided to cheer for England, and my second pick was Uruguay, mostly because of Luis Suarez. Well... both of my picks weren't particularly good. But don't get me wrong, I very much enjoyed this year's World Cup. I went out with my friends to local pubs to watch some games there, drinking a beer, face-palming at bad referee decisions, and so on. I even joined a fantasy league with some fellow poker players, but I did so badly there that I'm not even going to write more than one sentence about it.
When people ask me on which team am I betting on that night, I always disappoint when I tell them that I don't do sports betting. Of course they are surprised because they know that I play poker, so I guess I'm supposed to do sports betting too. But the thing is that I just don't like losing money, especially not on the stuff where I don't have any influence on - like sports matches. That's all. So there are basically no "degen stories" from my part. Yeah, I'm kinda boring this way.
One would think that poker and football doesn't go very well together, right? Or does it...? PokerStars came up with a very unique promo this time called Football Fever Daily Challenges, where you had to complete a simple challenge like "play 10 real money hands", or "play one 6-max sit'n'go" or even simpler "deposit $10". After completing the challenge, you received a ticket for all-in shootout tourney. But there was an interesting twist to it. In order to win money, you had to predict a correct result on particularly designated World Cup match.
I love themed promos, so when I saw poker and football mixed together, I was hooked immediately. And with included betting element, I could also satisfy my gambling needs, without spending any money on it. So there were 48 daily challenges, one for every match in group stages and I completed 38 of those. Out of 38 challenges I picked correct winner in 20 matches so just above 50%, which is nothing to brag about. Out of 20 all-in shootouts I made ITM in 5 of them and I made a profit of $19. As you can see I wasn't running particularly well in these, so no life changing money for me, but still. The line between scoring $1 and scoring big in promos like these are very thin. Some of my friends earned hundreds of dollars, even though they only completed a handful of challenges.
All in all I really enjoyed this football promo. I enjoyed it so much that I actually recorded several videos of me playing in these challenges over the span of 14 days or so. Basically I wanted to test how my English is doing "under the pressure" and let's just say that I still have some work to do on that part. I hope PokerStars comes up with another fun promo like this in the near future. In the mean time, I need to learn how to run better in all-in shootout tourneys.
Luka Kovač is a member of Team Online