Two contrasting stories with a middle-aged French footballer swapping the football field for the poker table, and a young American exchanging the poker table for the football field.
Bernard Mendy has quit football to become a professional poker player according to The Sun.
I know, but it’s all I have to go on.
According to the paper that used to fill my cherubic eyes with boobies every breakfast, Mendy decided against returning to the Indian Super League for a fourth season because he believes he will be more successful on the dirty green baize.
Alex Dreyfus, stop him, turn him around, and sign him up on a free transfer.
Mendy, 36, made 198 appearances for his boyhood club Paris St Germain, scoring two goals. It was during his time with the French club that he learned to play, in home games organised by the best players in the team. And after Neymar Jr signed for PSG for a world record €222m you can be sure that poker school is still rocking.
It was at the end of his PSG career that the Brits got to see a bit of Mendy after he joined Bolton Wanderers on loan. Mendy made 21 appearances for the club in the English Premier League (EPL) before joining Hull where he played for two seasons.
Mendy has two cashes on his Hendon Mob resume, both at the Winamax Open. In 2014, Mendy finished 63rd in the Parisian Main Event for €1,500, and last month he finished 21st in a €60 side event for €100.
Maybe ‘professional’ is overkill.
Brent Kallman Chooses Football Over Poker
Moving in the other direction, and the Minnesota United F.C. centre-half, Brent Kallman, was recently spotted competing in the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) in Canterbury Park.
During an interview with reporters, Kallman said he had been making money playing poker since the age of 13, and it continued to be his most profitable way of earning money even when he joined Minnesota United F.C back in 2013 where some players would only make $1,000 per month.
A year after signing with United, he came third in an MSPT Main Event for $34,000.
Kallman said, “the money messed with my head a bit. You make all of that money after two days of work and then show up the next day and make what I made.”
But football was always Kallman’s first love. The defender told the reporter that he never stopped thinking about the game and decided that he would only play poker for fun.
It’s a plan that seems to have worked.
To date, Kallman has cashed in 14 events accumulating over $120,000 in prize money. In 2015, United became a Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise, and I imagine Kallman now earns more than $1,000 per month.
Minnesota United’s head coach is the former Everton legend, Adrian Heath.