Former Boxing Champion David Haye Stars in New Poker Documentary

  • David vs Goliath documents former boxing champion’s poker journey, set for release on April 17
  • A year of training would prepare him for the 2019 Grosvenor Casinos’ Goliath tournament
  • Haye struggled while learning the game but earned two respectable finishes in live poker events
Former boxing champion David Haye
Former boxer David Haye is the subject of a new documentary following his transition into the world of poker. [Image: flickr.com]

The transition from boxing

Former world champion boxer David Haye was challenged to transition from elite level boxing to poker for a new Amazon Prime documentary. Haye announced on Twitter that David vs Goliath will stream on Prime Video (UK) from April 17.

The British boxing pro was to undergo a year of training with the world’s best poker players and coaches. His journey would culminate in his participation in the largest live poker event that is not held in Las Vegas: the Grosvenor Casinos’ Goliath event. The annual tournament takes place in the UK and has 1,000 seats guaranteed with a prize pool of £800,000 ($997,000).

Reality sets in

The former cruiserweight and heavyweight world champion thought the transition to poker would be easy, and that he could even win the tournament. He said: “Genuinely. I thought if I was doing it for a year, figuring it all out, understanding it, as long as I’ve got the best teachers I’d win it.” He later found out he was in for a rude awakening.

It did not take long for Haye to realize that poker could not just be learned in a few minutes. He had never played the game, which he was not familiar with even on a surface level. 

Some of the poker professionals he took classes with included Jeff Kimber, Joe Beevers, and Katie Swift. However, he was struggling to take on board their advice and could not put it into practice.

Immersing himself in poker

At this point, Haye wanted to get away from the classroom and just throw himself into playing poker. He decided to fly to a luxury resort with his former boxing rival Audley Harrison. They played poker all day and all night, immersing Haye in the game. 

We lived and breathed it for 48 hours.”

Speaking about this experience, Haye said: “We lived and breathed it for 48 hours. From the moment I woke up every day I thought about poker. When I went to sleep I dreamt about poker.”

Stepping into tournament action

The former boxing champion went from the luxury resort straight to an event in Manila that was part of the Asia Poker Tour. Out of 500 entrants, the former boxer managed to finish in a very respectable 28th place. 

Likening this strong finish to some of his wins in the boxing ring, Haye was more confident going into the 2019 Goliath event at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, England. He ended up in a respectable 40th place.