Vancouver Canucks' Roberto Luongo returns to the World Series of Poker

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Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks is one of the most celebrated hockey players to swap the ice for the felt table, having participated in last year's World Series of Poker Main Event at the River Rock Casino.

The Canucks goalie finished 634th in a field of 6,598 players and earned a total of $19,227 in his first official live tournament. Curiously enough, Luongo credits his knowledge of poker to a previous lockout which happened seven years ago, during which he started to get serious with the game after taking it as a major hobby. This year, the WSOP has invited the 34-year old Canadian back to the main event and Luongo has his eyes set on achieving a much better finish.

Luongo says he finds a lot of similarities between poker and hockey, pointing to focus, patience and planning as keys to winning. It wasn't just the NHL players who found themselves with some spare time during the lockout, the fans and supporters also found themselves with a lot of unexpected free time on their hands. Fans of fast paced sports often find themselves drawn to the poker table when not watching their own sport. From tennis greats like Boris Becker and Rafael Nadal, to football goalie Gianluigi Buffon, the same proved true of many of today's NHL stars.

Sports stars participating in poker tournaments have encouraged a lot of their fans to take part in the game, and it is not surprising to see that a lot of these fans have gone to partypoker to try and emulate their heroes' success on the felt table. Quite possibly as a result of this, there have been a growing number of poker players making the cut for major events including the World Series of Poker. Although he has not won any major tournaments as of yet, Luongo remains a regular fixture in live tournaments and it is only going to be a matter of time before he hits it big on the poker table.

Luongo has been making headlines in the world of hockey recently, as his future with the Vancouver Canucks remain uncertain. The change in the team's goal-tending dynamics during the 2012 playoffs which saw Cory Schneider take over Luongo's starting spot, acted as a reminder that even accomplished stars in the league face a far less secure future in a sport environment that could easily change in a wink of an eye. As for his playing future in a Canucks uniform is concerned, Luongo says he’s focusing on staying patient and doesn’t want to look too far ahead. All he is focused on right now is to train hard and be ready to give his all in every game that he will play for the team. 

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