Nerves are important in poker, as is a great poker face.
So imagine sitting down at a table across from a well-built, 6-foot-6, straight-faced player who uses a massive, gleaming Super Bowl ring atop his chip stack.
If the thought of that makes you nervous or maybe turn you into a staring fan, you’d better hope you don’t find yourself in a Las Vegas poker room trying to beat Richard Seymour.
The three-time Super Bowl champion, who retired in 2012 after 12 years with the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders, has channeled his competitive energy into poker, and is gaining notoriety in the game not just for his NFL resume, but because he’s pretty good.
Seymour is among the entrants in poker’s marquee competition, the World Series of Poker Main Event, which began on Saturday, and it looks like he’s off to a strong start. He started his first day with a 50,000 stack and finished with more than double, 114,000.
Last month, Seymour finished 24th at the WSOP’s $1,500 No Limit Hold ‘Em tournament, a great result for an event that began with nearly 1,600 players. He won $11,144 in the process.
But the Main Event is a bit different, though Seymour has experience playing on the biggest stages.
“It’s a marathon,” Seymour told CardPlayer.com. “I’m not trying to get into any really big pots unless I got it. I’m just cruising along. You don’t want to play too fast in this tournament, because it has a really great structure. You try to wait for good spots and hope the cards cooperate.”
The sixth overall pick in 2001, Seymour made an immediate impact on the New England defensive line, the prototype end in a 3-4 system. Because of how the Patriots played defense then, Seymour doesn’t have the flashy numbers – he was credited with 57.5 sacks in 164 career games – but the five-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro is certainly more than worthy of discussion when he’s eligible for the Hall of Fame beginning in 2018.
In a profile on his new competitive life with the Patriots’ website last year, Seymour said, “Poker’s a really fascinating game; it demands so much of you. It’s a game of people, situations, discipline, and I felt like I honed in on all of those skills as I played.”
As he spoke of his new game, Seymour sounded a lot like he was speaking about football, which gives an indication of why he’s having some success with the cards.