Apparently, more than 100 million people around the world are partial to playing poker games either online, or live. So, with such a huge percentage of the world’s population dabbling in the game, it’s no real surprise that some of these folks are famous! Today, we’re running through five famous people who are also successful poker players. There may be a few who surprise you!
1 – Tobey Maguire
He may be best-known for his roles on the silver screen in such classics as The Great Gatsby and Seabiscuit, butwhen Tobey is taking a break from the glitz and glam of Hollywood, he rather enjoys a game of poker. And, he’s pretty decent too! Maguire is reported to have started playing poker back in 2004, and since then, he’s raked in considerable winnings in both online and live events. There’s a rumour that he refuses to play unless his portable card shuffler is used, but maybe that’s just gossip!
2 – Ben Affleck
The Batman star allegedly earnt his poker stripes under the tutelage of poker pros, Annie Due and Amir Vahedi. And, they clearly guided him down the right path, as during his time as a poker player, Affleck has notched up over $500,000 in live tournament earnings. While he occasionally hob nobs with professional poker players on the Las Vegas circuit or in casinos across the country, apparently,he prefers to keep things in the (Hollywood) family, and attends private (seriously high buy-in) games organised by his film industry buddies.
3 – Michael Phelps
Not content with winning 28 Olympic medals and going down in history as one of the greatest athletes to walk the face of the Earth, Michael Phelps has taken his competitive nature to the poker table, and unsurprisingly his killer instinct has prevailed. Phelps is reported to have learnt everything he knows about poker from Jeff Gross – a poker pro, who also just happened to be Phelps’ roommate. So far, he hasn’t made it to the big leagues. The best win Phelps has clocked up has been 5th place in a No Limit Hold’em tournament at Caesars Palace back in 2008.
4 – Gerard Pique
Clearly there’s something to be said for transferable skills between the sports field and the poker arena: attention to detail, ability to perform under pressure and strategic decision-making, amongst others. Another prime example is Barcelona FC player, Gerard Pique, who is rumoured to have earned his poker stripes while playing for Manchester United under the supervision of his teammates Wes Brown, Darren Fletcher and John O’Shea. Pique has been known to dip his toe into World Series of Poker (WSOP) and European Poker Tour (EPT) matches in between football games – although his poker playing isn’t quite as lucrative. So far, Pique is believed to have notched up winnings of $275,640. Not bad for a hobby!
5 – Shannon Elizabeth
She first graced our screens in goofy teen-classic, American Pie, but since then Shannon Elizabeth has made quite the name for herself on the poker circuit. Elizabeth apparently visits Las Vegas thrice monthly to indulge her love of the game in live cash tournaments. Over the years, she has clocked up live winnings of $235,866 and her biggest single cash was an impressive, $125,000.