Minnesota United’s Brent Kallman scores $62,000 poker payday

November 29, 2018

In this age of the side hustle, Minnesota United defender Brent Kallman has found his at the poker table.

Infatuated with the card game since he was 13, Kallman placed eighth at a World Poker Tour tournament completed Wednesday in Florida and won more than $62,000 in four days of play.

Thats not all that far from the $85,000 salary he earned last season in MLS.

Just last week, Kallman, 28, signed a contract extension that will keep him with the Loons through 2020. Despite his latest poker success that pushes his tournament earnings near $200,000 these last five years, hes not contemplating a career change.

Nobody has to worry about me, Ill be back to business and back to training soon here, he said Wednesday. Thats always a weird deal when you win that much money in four days, but nothings going to change for me.

He is surfing these last six weeks in tournament play and cash games on what he calls the biggest wave of his poker-playing life. On Tuesday, he finished two spots from the final table of six surviving players at the WPTs Seminole Rock N Roll Open. He and nearly 900 others paid a $3,500 entry fee the biggest buy-in by far he paid and Kallman earned his biggest moonlighting payday after he overcame his nerves and insomnia to win big.

Even if it didnt feel that way when he was eliminated and the prospect of bigger money, including the winners $504,000 prize, vanished.

I just won whatever it was and I should be incredibly happy, but I was so disappointed the rest of the day, Kallman said by phone from Florida. I was so sick to my stomach because of how much I could have won if I had just made it a couple places higher.

He was eliminated when he went all in with 1.7 million chips and the guy to his left drew a pair of pocket 10s to Kallmans pocket nines.

It was a play deemed correct a day later by a pro athlete accustomed to performing in big moments on big stages.

Two of the things I have going for me is I trust my gut, which can backfire at times, and Im not afraid to make moves, Kallman said. I have a decent amount of courage at the table and I think that pays off or I can really lock it down and be patient at times. I am by no means a perfect player. I make a lot of mistakes and there is a lot of room for me to get better.

He also knows this: He can compete with the games best pros and hes easily the best poker player among his card-playing United teammates.

I know for a fact none of them will play me in poker anymore, he said.

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