Another hockey player has migrated his way to the poker tables. Partypoker has added a New Jersey Devils legend to its roster. Ken Daneyko is the newest member of Team partypoker, joining the likes of Kara Scott, Mike Sexton, Jamie Kerstetter, and Scott Baumstein.
The Ontario-born, Alberta-raised Canadian spent his entire National Hockey League (NHL) career playing for the New Jersey Devils as a defenceman, helping the team win the Stanley Cup three times. He has played more games as a Devil than any other NHL player, and is often referred to as "Mr. Devil".
Daneyko, currently living in New Jersey where partpoker is eager to gain a following, is no newcomer to the felts. He has long been a regular at casino games in Atlantic City and even won the WPT Borgata Spring Poker Open $230 Deepstack in April. As a member of Team partypoker, he will play WPT live events at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City and participate in partypoker social events during New Jersey Devils home games this upcoming season.
Daneyko made his first official appearance as a member of the team during partypoker New Jersey's $200 buy-in Main Event of the Garden State Super Series (GSSS) on Sunday, September 15. Daneyko had a bounty placed on his head during the tournament; the player who knocked him out of the tournament earned a ticket to a future partypoker Sunday Major worth $200.
“I used to get excited at the drop of a puck but now I can’t wait for the turn of the river,” said Daneyko. “Joining Team partypoker with a great champion like Mike Sexton and a great team in Kara, Jamie, and Scott makes us the perfect lineup. I love New Jersey, I love poker, and there is no better place to play online in the Garden State than on partypoker.com. I can’t wait to play, have fun, win and make new friends online ... but mostly win because I love the competition.”
“Ken was a fierce competitor on the ice and, from what I’ve seen, he’s even fiercer at the poker table,” said Team partypoker captain Mike Sexton. “He is a great addition to the team and will be a great ambassador for online poker in New Jersey.”
Daneyko is far from the first hockey player we have seen with an enthusiasm for our gentler game of cards. Montreal-born Roberto Luongo, the goalie with the infamous 10-year contract with the Vancouver Canucks, was a spokesperson for the province's PlayNow Poker online room where he played. He has been spotted playing the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event (he even cashed it in 2012) and also participated in the WSOP Circuit when it was in Richmond, BC. Luongo's ill-fated contract and hyper-critical fans eventually did him in as a Canuck. He now plays for the Florida Panthers and no longer can be seen pushing PlayNow's poker room.
Phil Kessel, #81 for the Toronto Maple Leafs, is another big poker fan. PokerListings reported that Kessel was spotted railing Daniel Negreanu in Las Vegas during the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop at this year's WSOP. He could be seen following the action from the rail alongside Canadian poker journalist and radio personality Chris Tessaro. Kessel also participated in last year's PokerStars NHL Alumni Charity Poker Tournament. He ultimately finished runner-up to Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Rousso in the Sportsnet-televised charity poker event.
Guy Carbonneau is another three-time Stanley Cup Champion. His first two were during his career as a Montreal Canadien, once as their captain, and his final championship was won as a Dallas Star. The French Canadian was well respected during his hockey career, from which he is now retired, and now he earns his respect around the occasional poker table. He joined the action at last year's Full Tilt Poker Montreal Festival at Playground Poker Club.
Another hockey name that would be hard to miss when he enters a poker room is the bruised, beaten, and vocal Jeremy Roenick who is now retired from the NHL but once played for the Chicago Blackhawks, Phoenix Coyotes, Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, and San Jose Sharks. Roenick has played the WSOP on occasion and participates in charity poker events as well as private games.
A player who may now be better known as a poker player than as a hockey player is Greg Mueller. The Vancouverite played nine years of professional hockey in Germany before turning to poker. He has now earned two WSOP bracelets and amassed well over $2.5 million in live tournament winnings. He cashed an impressive five times at this year's WSOP.
Of course, these are not all of the former hockey players who turned to poker. And who can blame them? After all, we even published an article explaining why poker may be a better game than hockey.
But with the best of the live poker action happening during hockey's off season, there's no reason to choose. Let's hope more hockey players come drop a piece of their massive annual salary on our poker tables when they're off for the summer.