Former Boxing World Champion, David Haye announced his retirement from boxing back in 2018 to learn poker. He set out to make a name for himself through a new career path as a professional poker player and set a goal to take down the 2019 GUKUPT. Along the way, Haye developed a passion for the game that still burns today.
Now, we’ll be able to take a peek at Haye’s journey as he builds his skillset as a poker novice to a respectable 40th place finisher in one of the biggest poker tournaments in the UK in an all-new documentary David Versus Goliath. The very film aired on April 17th 2020 on Amazon Prime (not available for streaming in the Indian server).
David Versus Goliath takes into account Haye’s end goal of being a competitive player in Grosvenor’s Goliath tournament. As depicted in the trailer here, the heavyweight champion is supported by Team Grosvenor pros, including Jeff Kimber and Joe Beevers. The documentary inevitably draws comparisons between Haye’s sports background and poker.
From the start, we hear how Haye struggled after retiring from boxing. Poker has since filled the void that retirement opened, and became an outlet for his streak.
“They said to me, if they gave me a year of training with the best poker players in the world, the best coaches in the world, how well do I believe I could do?”, Haye reveals in the film. “Without a doubt, my success in the ring helped when taking on this challenge. As a fighter, I had to have a tunnel vision approach. It was always – will this help me become heavyweight champion of the world? – if the answer was yes, it would happen, if not I would pass. It was the same ahead of Goliath”, he talks about his journey in an exclusive Q&A.
If you’ll observe his journey and progression closely, you’ll realise it reminds you of Chris Moneymaker’s 2003 World Series of Poker ME win! Moneymaker was an amateur and a novice player when he first shocked the world with his feat against Sammy Farha in heads-up to win the 2003 Main Event. That win helped trigger the poker boom and now we have a legend.
David Versus Goliath plays into this narrative and its release couldn’t have come at a better time. With people locked down due to the pandemic, the documentary has the potential to reach a much wider audience. Add to this Haye’s mainstream profile, and it could bring a fresh wave of newbies into the game.
Unlike other sports where amateurs can’t compete with the pros, poker is open to all. This, combined with the idea that hard work pays off, helped the game flourish over the last two decades.