Martin Kampmann wasn’t out of the UFC spotlight for long before his name entered the mix as a potential replacement for Duane “Bang” Ludwig as a coach at Team Alpha Male. A veteran of 27 fights (17 in the UFC) with wins over the likes of Rick Story, Carlos Condit and Jake Ellenberger, Kampmann offered a solid CV and the technical knowledge necessary to replace the highly successful head coach.
With a trial period complete and the role his if he wanted it, Kampmann stepped into the fray earlier this year and, according to the Danish fighter, it’s been a “fun” experience so far. However, with life outside of the Octagon giving Kampmann a chance to explore new avenues, the 32-year-old has found himself knocking people out in a different arena: the poker table.
Although the two worlds are vastly different (despite the UFC previously holding a stake in the now defunct Ultimate Poker), Kampmann has found a way to fuse his two passions and make some serious cash in the process. Through his former sponsor, Ultimate Poker, Kampmann was able to forge a relationship with professional poker player Jason Somerville.
Despite admitting that his love for poker was first forged back in 2004 while watching a friend play Seven Card Stud, Kampmann credits Somerville for his improvement at the felt over the past 12 months.
“Jason has definitely helped improve my game. He’s made me think more about my decisions at the table and why making a certain play is the way to go. In fighting, I usually do better when I think less. In poker, it is the other way around.”
Aside from seeing his friend make money from poker online back in 2004, Kampmann said that mathematics involved in poker intrigued him. Despite being an imposing figure at the felt when compared to the average grinder, Kampmann prefers to rely on his engineering background, rather than intimidation, when sizing up his bets.
“I’m interested in the mathematical aspect of poker. I used to study engineering, so I like breaking it down and understanding the decisions you can make purely based on math. Then there’s all the other stuff, like bluffing and psychology, which makes poker such an intriguing game.”
Anyone that’s ever played poker at a high level will know that it takes time and dedication to compete with the best. Although luck plays a minor part in determining who comes out on top, it’s the combination of logic, mathematics, psychology and nerves of steel that make a champion. Just as in fighting, the person that comes out swinging like a mad man usually isn’t the one that ends up with his hand raised.
Kampmann’s commitment to excellence during his fighting career has also served him well at the poker table…