Former NFL defensive tackle Richard Seymour is an imposing figure, even at the poker table.
Throughout his football career Seymour won three Superbowls with the New England Patriots, played in seven Pro Bowls and was considered by some to be the best defensive lineman in the game.
Now retired from football Seymour took a seat in the biggest poker tournament on earth today: The $10,000 buy-in World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas.
“It’s the pinnacle of poker,” said Seymour while on break in the tournament.
“I said to myself, ‘If you want to be a shark, you gotta swim with the sharks.’"
Playing Poker with Raiders Teammates
The California native has been playing poker for most of his life and learned Five-Card Stud from his father when he was much younger.
“Now that I’m done playing football I realize that poker is competitive,” he said. “A lot of the qualities I had on the field I can use on the poker table.”
Seymour has been holding steady through the first few levels of play but admitted he needed to get a few more premium hands to build his chip stack.
“I’m having fun,” he said. “I’m enjoying the experience.”
Seymour got more familiar with poker while he was still playing football.
“We played on the planes,” he said. “One of my teammates would have a poker night over at his house.”
Seymour went on to say that during the lockout in 2011, when he was playing for the Oakland Raiders, they had a huge poker night in Georgia.
“Basically the whole team came out,” he said. “I want to say [quarterback] Kyle Boller won. It definitely wasn’t me.”
Seymour was hardly the only athlete to play the 2014 WSOP Main Event. The NBA's Paul Pierce and international footballer Gerard Pique both played Day 1c.