Crossover aces

James Blake and other tennis stars are upping the ante in a different arena

Updated: February 10, 2011, 11:18 AM ET
By Jeff Gold | ESPN The Magazine

This story appears in the Feb. 21, 2011, issue of ESPN The Magazine.

Avoid embarrassment. That was James Blake's goal when he appeared on Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown back in 2004. At the time, the American tennis pro knew only the basics of the game. He worried that a poor showing might turn him into a YouTube sensation as a poker donkey.

Blake held his own and finished second in a five-person tournament. Within weeks, he was hooked. He played for hours, ...

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