From NOLA to Vegas: Saints or sinners?

To be able to see some real NFL football we still have to wait patiently for a couple of months. Until then, everybody tries to get busy following other sports: that’s the only way to survive until September, I guess. You can choose (well, you don’t necessarily have to choose) between baseball, basketball, hockey and list goes on.

As far as I’m concerned, my focus shifts to the world of poker. The World Series Of Poker are approaching and that’s how I came up with the idea for this piece. I wondered, are there any poker pros who resemble any New Orleans Saints players? Here’s the result of my speculations.

So let’s…“Shuffle up and deal!”

Marques Colston & Jason Mercier

Quiet and lethal. These are the two words that immediately pop up in my mind when I think about those two guys. They are never ostentatious or pretentious in any way, they just work hard and when it matters the most they get the job done. Plus, they both came out of nowhere: Colston was a seventh-round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft (No. 252 overall) while Mercier defeated about 700 players and won his first major title in the first live tournament he played (NLHE Main Event of the European Poker Tour – Season 4 – in San Remo, Italy). Since the beginning they put up great numbers year in and year out.

Mercier collected a couple of final table appearances in the EPT and in the NAPT circuits, won two WSOP bracelets in 2009 ($1,500 PLO) and 2011 ($5,000 PLO 6-max), finished in 4th place at the WSOPE Main Event in 2009 (£10.000 NLHE) and made nine final tables plus thirty-one WSOP money finishes. He dominated the EPT High-Roller events, became a PokerStars Pro in 2009 and won two WCOOP events (World Championship Of Online Poker) in 2010 ($1,050 NLHE) and 2012 ($10,300 8-Game High-Roller).

Colston missed just one 1000-yards season in 2008 (when he played only 11 of the total 16 contests) and is currently the Saints’ all-time franchise leader in receiving touchdowns and total touchdowns with 58. He holds the record for most receptions in a player’s first two season (168) and he got his ring in SB XLIV, when he recorded seven receptions for 83 yards. Is there anything else that one should add? I think that numbers are doing all the talking for these two great players.

Drew Brees & Doyle Brunson

Okay, this was easy. Two good old gunslingers from Texas, they both achieved amazing results throughout their careers. It would take too long to list them all here. About Drew Brees…well, I don’t think there’s anything else I can say that the readers of this piece already know about DAT man, so I’ll move on to “Texas Dolly”.

The ten-time WSOP champion turned the poker world upside down spreading the Texas Hold’ Em phenomenon and proving that poker is a skill game and not necessarily connected with criminal enterprises. In 1978 he published a book that is the all-time top-selling poker book, “Super System”; it is considered the bible of poker and its enormous success led to the publication of “Super System II” in 2004. He’s nowadays one of the most influential figures in the poker business and probably still one of the best face-readers in modern poker.

They are tough too. The “godfather of poker” was a good basketball prospect at college but his career ended due to a serious leg injury from which he never fully recovered; he never gave up and instead of being a basketball pro he became a poker pro. The same kind of mindset helped Brees to heal from the devastating shoulder injury he got back in 2005: some doctors said he had little-to-no chance of playing pro football again and four years later they saw him in Miami, raising the Lombardi Trophy.

Brees and Brunson are extremely talented players who take advantage of their natural abilities and their developed skills (through hard work and love for the game) to excel at what they do. They are the perfect example that if you work hard, are determined to win and never give up, sky’s the limit for you.

Junior Galette & Phil Ivey

When I read this I immediately thought of Junior “#FearDaBeard” Galette. How could I haven’t? Other than the awesome and fierce beard, these two have at least another similar feature: the no-mercy mindset. They are ready to fight to the death each and every snap/hand, always willing to overpower opponents and to be victorious in every battle they engage. While Galette has the potential to be a solid starter (as I think he’ll be in 2013 and beyond) but still hasn’t had a real ‘breakout season’, Ivey has already accomplished great results: he won nine WSOP titles, excels in both high-stakes cash game and tournaments and is considered by consensus one of the best poker players and one of the all-time greats. But they’re far from done: they’re both hungry and neither one will be contained easily.

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Tags: Doyle Brunson Drew Brees Jason Mercier Junior Galette Marques Colston New Orleans Saints NFL Phil Ivey

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