How top football managers would fare at the poker table

Avid followers of the Premier League will have their eyes set on two big fixtures this Sunday, namely Liverpool vs Arsenal and Chelsea vs Everton. While we are still early in the new season, the results of these games will have a big impact on how adept each club is at dealing with the challenges of the most competitive league on the planet.

The sport of football revolves around tactics and strategy where most, if not all, the decisions are taken by the club manager. The teams in question are governed by some of the smartest and shrewd minds who have enjoyed their fair share of success in the footballing world.

Much like football, poker in India also involves a decent amount of skill and strategy. For those who aspire to taste success at the poker table it is crucial to have your fundamentals in order as well as ability to make decisions based on your opponents’ actions on the field. Some of the top managers have exhibited moments of tactical masterclass on the field, but has anyone ever wondered if their skills would translate to the poker table? Let’s find out!

  • 1.Arsene Wenger, Arsenal

The Frenchman is the longest serving manager in the Premier League with 20+ years of experience under his belt. This highlight categorizes him as a veteran of sorts – a person who has a keen understanding of the game, knows the opponents well and has a list of titles and achievements to his name. However, their biggest shortcoming is the inability or refusal to change with the game. Change is inevitable. In order to retain a level of success, adapting to the latest trends and development in the game is vital.

  • 2.Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool

The German manager is well known for his iconic brand of ‘heavy-metal’ football, which is blend of three aspects: rapidity, passion and excitement. Followers of football know what an animated personality the former Borussia Dortmund manager is. When talking about poker, his character matches that of a player who displays enthusiasm and a thirst for knowledge. The highlighting trait these types of players exhibit is the inclination towards learning something new. On the flip side, they tend to get their emotions caught up in the game on certain occasions, much akin to playing on tilt in poker.

  • 3.Antonio Conte, Chelsea

Former Juventus manager Antonio had a prosperous tenure with the Italian giants before taking up the reigns at Stamford Bridge. His arrival was like a breath of fresh air. Like most intelligent poker players, he identified his opposition and adopted a strategy similar to the one that granted him success in the Italian League. Possessing knowledge of the game and being resourceful is one thing, but having the ability to read the opposition and thereby anticipating their next move is something which is often understated in poker.

  • 4.Ronald Koeman, Everton

While the three managers on the list are in-charge of teams that usually finish in the top 5 at the end of the season, Ronald Koeman has had the task of managing mid-table clubs like Southampton in the past, and at present with Everton. The Dutch manager is in many ways similar to an underdog – a person who might not rank equal in terms of skill with seasoned players, but should not be underestimated under any circumstance. Koeman has pulled several upsets along years, toppling big names like Chelsea and Arsenal in the past few seasons. The manager’s rise to the top matches the climb of a budding poker player; someone who gets better with the passage of time.

These individuals are set to collide this Sunday. Who do you think will come out on top?