A trio of unknown superstars in South Africa has quietly become millionaire card sharks without so much as a mention on the front or back covers of any of South Africa’s national newspapers.
South Africa is currently one of the leading African nations in sports such as cricket and rugby. The latter of these 2 sports has seen 3 national teams bring home the Rugby World Cup creating cult heroes out of the players. However, there are other games considered as ‘sport’ in which South Africans are relatively unknown stars back at home, yet all 3 are now proclaimed millionaires!
One of the most played ‘card sports’ in South Africa, and on a global basis, where billions of Rand are at stake is poker; a game in which South Africa has a large number of stars on today’s professional circuit with no less than 10 pro players closing in on the million-dollar mark. Meanwhile, there are already 3 homebred poker pros that have already tipped their way past the million-dollar milestone.
Raymond Rahme is one such star. He made it to a ‘World Series of Poker’ (WSOP) main event final table. This is a poker tournament with a $10,000 entry fee and a huge prize pool worth US$8,250,000.
Rahme managed to grind his way through a field of 6,000+ players until he was knocked out in 3rd place winning a huge $3,048,025 reward for his efforts. His WSOP 3rd place victory made up for the lion’s share of his current professional poker career winnings which is $3,546,346.
Poker has also made two further millionaires out of South African players. Namely Jarred Solomon who has amassed a fortune of $1,611,946 and Darren Kramer who has pulled in $ 1,127,014 in career poker winnings.
Solomon has already won an event this year coming 1st in the ZAR 15,000 No-Limit Hold'em – Main Event while on the Monster Jam Poker Tour at MJPT Carnival City, Johannesburg. His haul was ZAR 520,000 which added to a win 5 days earlier on the same Monster Jam Poker Tour that saw him net ZAR 244,888 in the ZAR 5,650 No-Limit Hold'em – Monster Millions Accumulator. Within the space of 5 days, Solomon was 764,888 ZAR wealthier!
Other popular card games in South Africa today include blackjack and Klawerjas. Blackjack is known globally, and the game has no shortage of publicity thanks to the famous MIT players who earned millions card counting at casinos around the USA.
There was even a film called ‘21’ which tells the story of how an MIT card counting team managed to earn millions playing blackjack at casinos around the world. The film had a star-studded cast with big names like Kevin Spacey, Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth, and Laurence Fishburne. ‘21’ was popular in South Africa and has arguably created an army of blackjack fans in the country.
Although blackjack is only available in South African land-based casino, most South African players play at live dealer casinos which are online platforms that stream blackjack tables via Ulta-HD webcams to people’s desktop, mobiles, and tablets. Today, tens of thousands of blackjack players in South Africa log on and play real money blackjack tables at these live casinos. Here you can read more about online casinos in South Africa.
Another card game considered as a sport in South Africa that has also hit the big screens is Klawerjas. This game has been seen on Broadway played by characters in the Damon Runyon’s stories.
Also known as or Klaverjas, Klaberjass or Klob, the game of Klawerjas is still popular in South Africa. One of the game's unions known as ‘South Peninsula’ recently celebrated its 74th anniversary while Klawerjas is still supervised under the South African Klawerjas Board of Control (SAKBOC).
The game’s popularity is still in full swing with players regularly competing in official leagues around the country throughout the year. These events can bring together large crowds from all walks of society within South Africa. Afrikaans and native South Africans all compete for the bragging rights of becoming the South African Klawerjas champion.
Despite the game being claimed as a South African ‘card sport’, it is also played on a global basis within Dutch communities in Australia and Canada. All being that said, Klawerjas is still not as popular as poker or blackjack mainly because both these games can be played online and are available in South Africa’s land-based casinos, while for some unknown reason we are yet to see the game of Klawerjas make it online or on the casino floors as of yet!