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Antoine Winfield: Poker Shark

Minnesota Vikings v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

A tip of the hat to Adam Carlson over at The Viking Age for getting to this one first.

You could make a pretty convincing argument that Antoine Winfield is the best free agent signing in the history of the Minnesota Vikings, and he’s probably on the short list of the best cornerbacks the team has fielded, too. He signed with the Vikings in March of 2004 and was a vital part of the Minnesota defense for nine seasons. The Vikings cut him before the 2013 season, and when he failed to latch on with the Seattle Seahawks, Winfield hung up his cleats for good.

It turns out that Winfield has picked up a pretty interesting hobby now that he doesn’t have football to worry about any more. He’s caught the poker bug.

Winfield, along with at least one other former NFL player, were spotted at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday, taking part in the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event. The story talks about Winfield being affected by the "Moneymaker Effect," so named for poker player Chris Moneymaker. Moneymaker. . .his actual name. . .was an online qualifier for the 2003 Main Event and went on to win the whole thing. It’s the event that touched off the online poker boom in the United States.

"I remember watching him on TV and saying, 'Hell, if he can win it, so can I!'" said Winfield, who played five seasons for the Buffalo Bills after being drafted in the first round out of Ohio State in 1999, before signing with the Vikings as a free agent. "It's fun. I love it. I love the competition and I love meeting all the guys. I've been competitive all my life and this is no different. You're competing against a huge field so it's hard to make it, but it's a lot of fun."

This also gives me an excuse to post this video from that 2003 Main Event, which is widely called the greatest bluff ever.

Winfield also, apparently, passed the time between hands on his iPad by playing online chess against Adrian Peterson. . .because he can, I suppose.

Sadly, it doesn’t appear that Winfield lasted too long in this year’s Main Event. According to, a look at the chip counts for Day 1A of the tournament does not show his name among those that advanced to Day 2A/B. Former Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots defensive tackle Richard Seymour apparently did advance, but much like Chris Rock’s character in I’m Gonna Get You, Sucka, Seymour is down to one chip. In poker, they say all you need is a chip and a chair. . .I guess we’re going to see if that holds true for Seymour.

So, if you’re into poker, who knows. . .when Antoine Winfield comes back to Minnesota this fall to see his son play cornerback for the Golden Gophers, you might see him in the poker room at Treasure Island or something.