Poker players around the globe are tingling with excitement at the prospect of completing for a slice of the WPT500 UK’s £1 million guaranteed prize pool for as little as £500. But it’s not only the poker community who is looking forward to competing at Nottingham’s Dusk Till Dawn poker club, a Nottingham legend is also preparing for a different kind of battle from what he is used to.

Carl “The Cobra” Froch is set to join forces with Team partypoker pro Mike Sexton for the shuffle up and deal of the WPT500 UK before jumping into the fray during Saturday 15 November’s special turbo heat of the £1 million guaranteed event where there will be chances to win a pair of boxing gloves signed by Froch himself!

For those of you who don’t know, Froch is from Nottingham and is delighted that the WPT is heading to his hometown and thinks that the players are going to enjoy the whole experience. We caught up with Froch as he prepares to swap his gloves for cards and chips.

“It’s fantastic to have the WPT come to my hometown of Nottingham. It’s a brilliant city and one that the players are going to love exploring when they are not playing, but they will also see that the great people here and at DTD love their sport, their poker and will welcome them with open arms. We’re a proud and competitive bunch here and I am sure that will rub off on those playing; it will be a fantastic couple of weeks here.”

According to Froch, it is possible to draw many parallels between poker and boxing despite their obvious differences. “There are a lot of similarities in the mental side of boxing and poker. Sometimes, when I watch a heads-up game, I think about being face-to-face with an opponent in the ring and like the poker players, you are looking into their eyes to try to get into their heads, see what they are thinking: do they look scared, confident, intimidated? You can take read a lot into another fighter from that and of course, being able to successfully read an opponent is a massive plus in poker – and of course, concentration is huge has make one mistake in both and you can be knocked out.”

When Froch is preparing for a big fight there are very few people who share the same self-confidence as he does, something that has been crucial to his continued success in boxing. As he prepares to sit down at the poker table, talks are ongoing for him to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in Las Vegas. Froch obviously believes he can beat Chavez in the ring, but what about at the felt?

“Come on, there’s only one winner – The Cobra! I think that a heads-up game with JCC would be just like a fight with him, two warriors who aren’t willing to give an inch. It might not go on that long as we’d both stand our ground and not be bullied by the other, we’d probably both move all-in with some rubbish just to prove a point – that we can beat the other one no matter what! You can bet your life though that we’d both fight as hard with the cards as we hopefully will if we can get it on in the ring.”

On the subject of fighting, Froch and George Groves had a long-running battle that ended with Froch knocking Groves out in the eighth round of their second fight. Froch respects Groves as a fighter, but who does he think would win in a battle between Groves and the manager of Froch’s beloved Nottingham Forest, Stuart “Psycho” Pearce?

“Well George is a top fighter but I’ve got to go with Psycho – he’s a Nottingham legend and a proper hard man, just like me! He’d be able to take the best George can throw at him and come back with more. I’d probably teach him how to throw that big right hand too!”

So does Froch have any tips for those players competing at the WPT500? His main one is being able to keep your emotions in check in the face of adversity.

“Again, like in poker, focus is so important in boxing. I’ve experienced first-hand against George Groves that an opponent can get you off your game before you have even begun. Everyone is different of course, some people can talk and talk yet remain in control of their emotions and their tactics, whereas others have to concentrate 100 per cent and not engage with other players. Winners are always the ones who are able to execute their game plan even if others are trying to disrupt them.”

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Time is running out if you want to win your way to the WPT500 UK Main Event in Nottingham. Qualifiers end on November 2, so hurry if you want to win your way there for free.

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