The Muck: Superstar Athlete Playing Online Poker During Kid’s Party a Sign of Problem Gambling?

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Neymar Online Poker

When you’re one of the most popular athletes in the world and someone captures a video of you playing online poker during your child’s birthday party, there’s a good chance it will go viral.

That’s exactly what happened to Brazilian soccer legend Neymar, an avid poker enthusiast. The former PokerStars ambassador spent part of a celebration for his daughter’s half-birthday playing poker on his phone, which gave his haters some fuel. But were his actions really a big deal and a sign of problem gambling, or is this whole thing being blown out of proportion?

Does Neymar Have a Poker Problem?

Much like on poker X, viral or controversial sports related social media content sparks debate, and everyone seems to take a side. In this case, the criticism stems from the world-class athlete playing some poker during his daughter Mavie’s half-birthday party.

According to some who responded to the viral video, which has over 29 million views, Neymar playing poker during the party shows problem gambling. One X user claims he “actually has a problem,” while others referred to it as “pathetic” or even worse.

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Neymar Jr Poker
Neymar Jr

Another soccer fan who likely doesn’t even personally know Neymar or Neymar’s gambling habits beyond this video, wrote “Man it sucks seeing this, he can’t even enjoy family time without gambling. I hope he gets the help he needs.”

Neymar has a passion for poker, and previously represented PokerStars as an ambassador. He’s competed in various tournaments such as the European Poker Tour (EPT) and World Series of Poker (WSOP). Some soccer fans appear to see that as a “gambling problem.” Even non-poker media outlets such as the Daily Mail picked up on the story and have taken a critical reporting angle.

One Cristiano Ronaldo fan used the birthday party video to defend his favorite athlete, while bashing Neymar in the process.

“Exactly. Meanwhile, Cristiano works his butt off on the pitch and in training, still at 40, wherever he goes, and the rest of the time he spends his time with his family, without doing any of this ridiculous, awful stuff that Neymar does, yet people still hate Cristiano,” the X user wrote.

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That said, plenty of X commenters defended the 32-year-old athlete, including one person who responded: “he probably just started up a game because he was bored waiting for that maid in the vid to get his kid ready.”

“what else you want him to do the baby cant even crawl,” @tropxuaen asked.

In 2023, Ronaldo and Neymar were the two most Googled athletes in the world, both generating over 140 million searches. No American athlete cracked the top 10 except for NBA superstar LeBron James (72 million searches). Although soccer is only a niche sport in the United States, it is the most popular sport worldwide.

What are your thoughts on Neymar playing online poker during his daughter’s half-birthday celebration?

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