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By Kendall Jenkins on 2020-11-05 08:51:00


WWE champion John Cena is now more of a part-timer in the world of wrestling - due largely to his acting roles in series like HBO’s upcoming Peacemaker - but that’s not the only thing he’s dabbled in part-time through the years. During his WWE pomp, it was revealed that John Cena had become heavily involved with Texas Hold’em poker. In an interview with Bluff Magazine, Cena revealed that he had caught the “poker bug” watching the World Series of Poker (WSOP) on television.

This interview was back in 2006 during the time of the “online poker boom”. It was a golden age for Texas Hold’em, with thousands of amateur poker players starting to play online with the dream of reaching the WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas and emulating the likes of Chris Moneymaker – an amateur who went all the way to win the Main Event and the highly coveted WSOP gold bracelet in 2003 and remains active on social media.

Cena was enchanted by the glitz and glamor of the poker boom

Cena compared the rise of Texas Hold’em poker in the 2000s to the surge in popularity for wrestling in the 1980s. He said that the poker industry began to experience “characters created” in the same way as personalities evolved in the wrestling ring. Cena was transfixed by the game of poker and how the most successful players needed to have “attitude” and a desire to remain “focused” with every hand.

In 2012 and 2013, Cena opted to try his hand online himself. Much of his time was spent at the PokerStars US site, which remains one of the most popular and trusted poker rooms for Americans, even after Black Friday and the implementation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA). He played under the moniker of “JohnCena Pro”, entering 908 tournaments in 2012 and 652 tournaments in 2013. He finished “in the money” 16% of the time in 2012 and 15% of the time during the following year.

Aside from the online poker tables, Cena revealed in his interview with Bluff that he also indulges in poker home games. Given that the WWE rolls into the bright lights of Las Vegas several times a year, Cena was asked whether he was brave enough to sit down and play in the many poker rooms on the Las Vegas Boulevard Strip. He admitted that he was too afraid of being “totally hustled” by the many poker pro sharks lurking.

Cena also admitted that card games have long been on the agenda on the road with the WWE machine. He said that traditional games like poker are rarely played between one another, with “trick games” such as Spades or Pitch most popular. Playing at the WSOP is so far an opportunity that has evaded Cena, who described himself as something of an “open book” at the poker tables, capable of “cracking under the pressure”. Although he was once the WWE champion, he insisted he has always had “zero bragging rights” in his home games.

The truth is, Cena is probably being a little modest about his poker persona. Given his size, strength, and authority, you can bet your bottom dollar that few people would want to mess with him in a poker hand to the river!


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