There are hundreds of sports stars who either play poker during their athletic careers, or turn to the felt after they retire. Sport and poker have a number of similarities and many professionals find their sporting skills are applicable to the poker table. It shouldn’t be too surprising to find that a number of well-known American football players have a knack for the cards. Players of the sport need to be competitive, resilient, and able to carry out a strategy with precision. These are all attributes that make people good at poker. Here are three footballers who are absolutely obsessed with the popular card game.
Calais Campbell is one of the best known professional footballers to craft a career at the felt at the same time as playing on the field. The defensive end has just joined Baltimore Ravens in the off season as the two-time Super Bowl winners continue to bolster their squad. With the addition of the huge ex-Jacksonville Jaguars man, the Ravens are well placed with bookies in the American football odds at +300 at the time of writing to win the AFC this season.
Off the field, Campbell has participated in a number of prestigious poker tournaments, including the 2016 World Series of Poker. He didn’t find great success in that tournament, but did manage to knock out the 2013 Main Event champion, Ryan Reiss. Campbell came third in an event at the Venetian Casino that same year, though, picking up a prize of $2600 for his efforts.
Miles Austin hung up his cleats in 2015, but has been working as a coach in the industry ever since. The former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver is now the offensive quality coach for the San Francisco 49ers, where he has worked since 2019. The two-time Pro Bowl winner does have time for other things outside football, however, with one of his main hobbies being Texas Hold’em.
Austin is known to play poker as a hobby, and during his time with the Cowboys he hosted some charity tournaments. In addition to this, the ex-NFL man has made waves in professional tournaments. In 2014, he made it to Day 3 of the WPT World Championship.
Of all the players on this list, Richard Seymour was the most successful as a footballer. The former New England Patriots defensive tackle won three Super Bowls and seven Pro Bowls throughout his glittering career and knows all about intense competition.
Seymour’s sporting ability has served him well in poker, where he has been reasonably successful. The 40-year-old has cashed more than $139,000 in tournament winnings, and has played at the WSOP and the Mid-States Poker Tour among others.
After retiring from professional football, many former players turn to coaching or punditry. But those who are looking to do something different could opt for poker. With the transferable skills between the field and the felt, there are likely to be many more ex-sports players at the tables in the years to come.