Goliath Breaks Records as David Haye Finds New Love for Poker

Grosvenor Casinos’ Goliath has raised the bar for live poker in Europe once again by breaking its own attendance record.

David Haye Goliath

Records fall as David Haye finishes 40th in Grosvenor Casinos’ 2019 Goliath. (Image: GUKPT/Grosvenor Casinos)

Setting out to top last year’s event, Grosvenor enlisted the services of retired boxing champ David Haye.

A relative novice at poker but a familiar face to sporting fans around the world, Haye was drafted in as something of a sacrificial lamb.

With pros and amateurs alike looking to knockout the former knockout artist, interest in the 2019 Goliath was high.

Queues Form as Goliath Grows

In fact, ahead of the seventh and final starting flight, players were queuing inside Coventry’s Ricoh Arena from 3am onwards.

That final surge of interest meant the organisers were forced to accommodate over 750 alternates on Day 1G. However, this extra effort was worth it as it took the final number of entries to a record-breaking 9,300.

Surpassing 2018’s total (7,538) by almost 2,000 buy-ins, Grosvenor’s Goliath retained its title as the largest live poker tournament outside of Las Vegas.

What’s also worth noting is the fact this year’s £125 event almost reached the 10,000-entry mark. Regardless of where it takes place, a poker tournament that can attract that many entries is impressive.

While the Goliath’s reputation has increased since its launch in 2011, the presence of Haye certainly helped. Aside from having millions of social media followers, the Hayemaker’s appearance was the culmination of a year-long journey of discovery.

When he partnered with Grosvenor Casinos back in 2018, he barely knew what a flush was. However, after working with the operator’s team of pros and a few friends in high places, he’s become a student of the game.

Haye Ready for More Poker Challenges

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“King Saul thought that Goliath was too big to defeat, David thought he was too big to miss” 1 year ago, I travelled to Coventry to announce I’d be taking on the biggest live poker tournament outside of Vegas, @grosvenorcasinos Goliath. It’s been ten years since I toppled the real life “Goliath” Nikolai Valuev to win the World Heavy-weight boxing Championship. A decade later, I again found myself in the same position in #DavidVsGoliath19. I’d never played a hand of poker in my life! I’ll be the first to admit, I completely under estimated the sheer complexity of poker. The months that followed were filled with highs and lows, uncovering a world I never knew existed. That simply motivated me to immerse myself in the art, travel the planet to play with and learn from the world’s best. A tough new challenge which tested me, my patience and mental endurance. I sat down at Goliath with the sole intent of winning. Simply ‘taking part’ never has been my mentality. So to come 40th out of 9300 players is bitter sweet. Poker, I have learnt isn’t simply a game of cards, it’s a lesson in discipline, positivity and unwavering resilience. As in life, whilst you can’t allow a big hit to keep you down, derailing you from the end goal, the jackpot. Equally, you can’t get drunk on your own success, even when Lady Luck seems to be right with you, you can’t take this success for granted, as Lady Luck may give you a almighty slap! The kind tutelage and stellar advise I’ve been given by so many pro’s has been invaluable. Shout out to to everyone tagged. 🙏🏾❤️ It allowed me to realise new friendships. Special thanks to @audleyharrison who travelled to 3 continents coaching and mentoring me. May my poker journey long continue…

A post shared by David Haye (@mrdavidhaye) on

In fact, despite having a target on his back throughout the tournament, Haye managed to finish in 40th place (the eventual winner was Lee Reynolds).

For a man who earned millions in the ring, winning £2,085 won’t exactly be life-changing. The experience, however, has been.

Looking back on his adventure, the Londoner wrote on Instagram that he’s found a new love for poker.

Poker, I have learnt, isn’t simply a game of cards, it’s a lesson in discipline, positivity and unwavering resilience,” Haye wrote on August 6.

This love, it seems, could result in more time at the felt. Although no announcements have been made, Haye ended his post by saying he hopes the “poker journey” will continue.

For Grosvenor Casinos, that may mean he’ll be back in action at the 2020 Goliath. If that happens, we could see the flagship event surpass the 10,000-entry mark.

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