Ultimate Poker’s Jason Somerville has long been considered one of the top players in the game, but after signing on with Station Casinos’ Ultimate Poker he has also become one of poker’s top ambassadors, acting as one of the conduits between the poker community and Ultimate Poker, as well as being a very public and outgoing spokesperson for the site and poker in general.
Somerville has also been prolific as a poker coach, helping pros and amateurs improve their poker game, and one of his better-known students recently took down the $1,100 buy-in Nevada Poker Challenge at the Reno Peppermill Casino for $52,000.
So what’s so impressive about a $52,000 tournament score? Somerville’s student is one of the more unlikely tournament winners, UFC fighter Martin Kampmann who is one of the UFC fighters repping the Ultimate Poker brand.
Somerville, a huge UFC fan in his own right, was on hand for Kampmann’s win (no word if he had a piece of the welterweight fighter) and seemed more excited for Kampmann than he has been for many of his own poker victories and big scores.
The Nevada Poker Challenge Main Event
This wasn’t some small buy-in nightly tournament either; Kampmann’s victory came against some pretty stiff competition, as 184 players registered for the NPC Main Event at the Peppermill Casino, including plenty of well-known pros and Nevada locals like Dan O’Brien, Ed Miller, and Shawn Van Asdale, all of whom finished in the money in the tournament.
The tournament featured two starting flights on May 16th and 17th followed by the final day of action on the 18th.
Here is a look at the final table payouts and notable cashes from the tournament courtesy of Cardplayer.com:
- Martin Kampmann $52,740 336
- Michael Cooper $30,640 280
- Roy Armstrong $19,570 224
- Ed Miller $13,790 168
- Tony Le $10,640 140
- Ian Remmel $8,090 112
- Frank Addamo $6,300 84
- Tony Chang $4,680 56
- Dina Brown $3,320 28
- 12th place: Dan O’Brien $2,640
- 18th place: Shawn Van Asdale $1,960
Kampmann is a Danish fighter with a 20-7 MMA record, with most of his fights coming in the UFC, making Kampmann a veteran of the Octagon.
During his peak years Kampmann was a championship contender. Kampmann won six of seven UFC fights to setup a championship contender bout where he came up short in a match against replacement Paul Daley, who filled in for Mike Swick who had to pull out of the fight.
A victory would have propelled him to a title fight against another MMA fighter who reps a poker brand (888 Poker) George St. Pierre.
At 32 Kampmann still has plenty of fight left in his body, but if he continues to book $50,000 paydays at the poker tables he may consider switching vocations, choosing to dodge river cards instead of fists – although I’m not sure which one actually hurts more, the physical pain of a blow or the mental anguish of a terrible river beat.
Somerville is considered one of the top tournament players in the game, both in the online and live arenas.
In 2011 Somerville won a WSOP bracelet in a $1,000 NLHE event, and in 2012 he just missed out on participating in the Big One for One Drop tournament when he finished 3rd in the $25k satellite tournament held the day before the Big One for One Drop tourney (while he didn’t get a seat into the One Drop he did pocket $400,000).
Somerville also made a deep run in the 2012 WSOP, finishing in 69th place before going on to coach one of the final table participants.
Jason Somerville’s best known student was 2012 November October Niner Russell Thomas, who would go on to book a 4th place finish, and thanks to his results and his coaching prowess Somerville has become one of the most respected minds in the game over the past few years.
Somerville became the first openly gay male poker pro back in 2012, and while few other players have decided to follow his lead, the extremely positive reaction from the poker community has paved the way for future players contemplating coming out.