Poker-playing celebrities


There’s long been a link between celebrities and gambling – think Las Vegas in the Rat Pack heyday of Sinatra, Martin, Davis Jr et al. It may because Vegas is within relatively easy reach of Hollywood or it may just be because they’re drawn to the bright lights and high profile of the so-called Sin City.

And, of all the games in the casino, poker seems to be the one that especially attracts the highest profile celebs and here are five who you could find around a Las Vegas poker table trying to boost their already sizeable wealth.

Ben Affleck

Affleck is as famous for his love of gambling as he is for his hit films like Gone Girl, Argo and Good Will Hunting. He’s rumoured to have amassed poker winnings of $270,000 over the years as well as hosting poker evenings at home for other mega-stars like Matt Damon and Leonardo Dicaprio.

Jennifer Tilly

An Oscar’s not the only major award that Jennifer Tilly has won. In 2005 she picked up a highly coveted WSOP bracelet when she beat off 600 other competitors to win the Ladies Texas No Limit Hold’em event. It’s thought her poker career earnings to date are over $450,000 – though since 2008 she’s withdrawn from playing quite so much.

James Woods

Woods has had roles in films like Casino and The Gambler so this may be where he got a taste for poker – or his expertise may have been why he was cast. Anyway, over a long and successful playing career he’s won a considerable amount and continues to be a familiar face in both Vegas and Atlantic City Casinos.

Rafa Nadal

His recent tennis career may have been dogged by injury but bad knees haven’t prevented Nadal from doing very well at the table. In fact it has been in his may lay-offs from the court that he’s been said to have perfected his game.

Michael Phelps

The most awarded Olympian of all time is equally at home round the poker table as he is in the pool and rumours of big wins abound – although he’s not one to let on whether these are true. The fact that many of his friends are major poker professionals may give us a hint though.

As to why there’s such a close link between poker and the famous, perhaps for actors it allows them to use all their professional skills for successful bluffing while, for sports people, it could well appeal to their hyper-competitive natures.

So just don’t get caught trying to get the better of one yourself next time there’s a megastar at the table!


Written by CelebMix