The social aspect of poker is one of the big reasons recreational players love the game and it turns out the same was true for Richard Seymour and the NFL's Oakland Raiders.
A three-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots, Seymour is in Las Vegas today competing at the 2015 World Series of Poker.
Seymour was up against some of the best players in the world with 2013 world champion Ryan Riess and high-stakes pro Jason Koon both at his table.
The former defensive tackle said he's always loved poker and that he used to play with fellow Raiders including John Henderson, Kyle Boller and Hiram Eugene.
Oakland Raiders Unwind With Poker
They'd unwind with a home poker game and private masseuses and it was something Seymour thinks helped build team camaraderie among the group.
Seymour unfortunately did not make it through Day 1 of the $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em event he was playing but judging from what he told us about his poker plans, it's safe to say we'll see him in more major tournaments in the future.
PokerListings: This isn't the first time we've seen you at the WSOP. Do you have fun when you come out here and play?
Richard Seymour: Actually this is my second year coming to the World Series of Poker, I really, thoroughly enjoy the game. For me, I love to compete and I hate to be second.
It's the combination of mental warfare and competitiveness.
I think it’s that combination of mental warfare and the competitiveness and obviously being an ex-athlete it fits right in, in terms of what I enjoy.
We see a lot of pro athletes competing in tournaments. Is it just the competition that's so attractive?
You know what? When I first started playing I thought I would enjoy cash games more but now I’ve moved from cash and I really hardly ever play cash games anymore.
I really enjoy tournament poker because there's really nothing like that feeling of making a deep run. That feeling continues to drive me.
I’ve made some deep runs in several different tournaments and I’ve made some mistakes along the way but I’m learning from them all and I’m still learning the game.
You're not playing pro ball anymore so is poker something you're going to get more serious with?
Yeah, absolutely. I’m definitely going to continue to play. I enjoy events like this because you’re playing against some of the sharpest minds in the world.
I always want to compete against the best because I think it continues to drive me. All in all, I just really enjoy the game.
To take a shot at playing pro football like you did, you have to be able to dream big. It's the same in poker so do you think your ability to set big goals could help you here?
Absolutely. I think, you know, the sky’s the limit. I’m definitely putting in the work to compete at the highest level. That’s my ultimate goal, to sit at the final table of a major event and take it down.
My ultimate goal is to sit at a major final table and take it down.
It looks like you've got some experience already. Jason Koon was telling us about a sneaky river-check you made with a set of tens that he almost fell for.
Yeah but he got me back on another hand so we’re even.
When you were in the NFL was poker something you'd get into with other players on the team?
You know, when Monday Night Football was on we would come to my house or some other guy's house and switch it around and play poker and watch the games and get massages all at the same time.
It’s a great way to relax and I think it built team camaraderie.
Were any of the guys you played with particularly good at poker?
I remember there were several guys, John Henderson played, Kyle Boller, Hiram Eugene. A lot of guys that competed and played but I enjoy playing with those guys and I’ll leave it at that.
You played for the Patriots for a long time. What do you think of everything that's happened with them since the championship?
Well, you know, obviously I played there and had a lot of great teammates and coaching staff, but uh, I really have no comment on it.
Do you think the punishment was justified?
Obviously the league handed down its punishment and everyone has to abide by it. It isn’t the first team that’s going to be fined and it’s not going to be the last.
Did you ever see anything like what they're being accused of when you were on the team?
I’ve never seen it.