David Haye Learns Harsh Lessons in LA as Goliath Training Intensifies

3 min read

David Haye has been preparing for his appearance at Grosvenor Casinos’ Goliath by locking horns with the game’s best.

David Haye Goliath training
David Haye has taken his poker training to America ahead of his appearance at the GUKPT Goliath. (Image: Sky Sports)

With a month until the largest live poker event outside of Las Vegas gets underway, the retired boxer has been honing his skills.

Posting on update on Instagram, Haye told his followers that he’s been “exposed” to a world he never knew existed.

David Haye Likens Poker Pros to Athletes

Flying out to Los Angeles, the Brit used his celebrity connections to meet with various coaches. In his words, the trip has shown him that top poker players prepare in a similar way to professional athletes.

As well as a memory coach and neurologist, Haye took lessons from a poker acting coach as well as Mickey Rourke.

After soaking up all he could in LA, the Hayemaker headed to Vegas. With the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in full swing, he used it as an opportunity to see how the game is played on a mass scale.


From there, it was back to Santa Monica and a visit to recent Hall of Fame nominee Antonio Esfandiari. Taking part in one of his infamous home games, Haye learned quickly that there are levels to poker.

“I tried to hang with the pro’s @afrotrace and @ronnie_loveman_ebanks in one of his [Esfandiari’s] renowned cash games. It didn’t go well for me. I learned a whole lot about swiftly losing every penny I sat down with,” David Haye wrote on Instagram.

Despite losing his chips performing a disappearing act, Haye had fun and took plenty of notes. Whether that will help when the Goliath gets underway in Coventry on July 25 remains to be seen.

GUKPT Goliath Presents Tough Test

Since signing with Grosvenor, the former heavyweight champion has had a rough ride. Following a quick coaching session with Team Grosvenor Poker, Haye lasted less than a round in his first outing.

However, as he’s become more immersed in the game, his results have improved. A second GUKPT appearance in the UK saw him almost make it through the first day.

More recently, a small cash on the Asian Poker Tour not only gave Haye a confidence boost but an unexpected sense of pride.

While there’s no doubt the knockout artist has improved, the Goliath is a different beast. In 2018, 7,584 runners paid £125/$160 to play for a top prize worth more than $120,000.

That number of participants broke the previous record and means the Goliath remains the largest live tournament outside of Vegas.

With Haye providing a touch of star power this year, records could fall once again. That means the sporting icon will have to fight hard if he wants to defeat the Goliath.

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