Penguins' Phil Kessel searching for success at World Series of Poker again amid offseason of uncertainty

There's a lot of uncertainty surrounding Phil Kessel and his future with the Pittsburgh Penguins these days, but there is one certainty: Kessel will once again be competing at the World Series of Poker this offseason. 

For the eighth straight year, Kessel will be mixing it up with some of the world's best poker players at the event in Vegas. It's a fun offseason tradition for the veteran forward, but it's also one that he takes seriously as a competitor. 

"I look forward to coming to Vegas, for the last eight years I've been coming out here for a few weeks," said Kessel, via PokerCentral." This summer I'm looking at playing the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha and $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha events and it would mean a lot to do well in them even though I know how hard and unlikely it is."

"Us athletes are just always looking to compete, it's in your blood, and that's why I love poker."

Poker is also something of a family affair for Kessel. He learned to play poker from his dad, and they both prefer Pot Limit Omaha. The offseason trips to Las Vegas have become an annual father-son bonding tradition.

Of the three NHL teams he's played for -- the Bruins, Maple Leafs and Penguins -- Kessel told PokerCentral that his best poker playing teammates were in Toronto. 

"We had a good group in Toronto for a while, playing with JVR, Bozak, Kadri, and Komarov. That was a good game," Kessel said.

He may soon have to find another group of guys to share a game with, as Kessel is rumored to be on the trade block in Pittsburgh with the Penguins looking to bounce back from a tough season and early playoff exit. 

In the meantime, the 31-year-old winger will be focused on finding success on the tables in the desert. If all goes well, you may be able to see him compete on CBS All-Access at the final table of the $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller on June 22nd.

Pete Blackburn is from Boston, so there's a good chance you don't like him already. He has been a writer at CBS Sports since 2017 and usually aims to take a humorous and light-hearted approach to the often... Full Bio

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