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Updated: 2014-10-04T20:21:51.170-07:00


Stars Who Play Poker


Turn the channel to any high-stakes poker event, and chances are high that you’ll see at least one Hollywood celebrity in the thick of the action. With flexible schedules and larger-than-average bankrolls, celebrities have both the time and inclination to hone their poker playing skills in tournaments around the world. Some, of course, never rise above the rank of amateur, but others go on to become familiar faces in the world of poker. What follows is a list of ten of the best celebrity poker players in the world (listed in no particular order).Ben Affleck - It’s hard to argue Affleck’s status as one of the best celebrity poker players in the world after he won the California State Poker Championship in June of 2004 (where he won $356,400). When he’s not acting in movies such as Daredevil or Armageddon, Affleck collects vintage video-arcade machines and has been known to take poker lessons from pros like Amir Vahedi and Annie Duke. His win at the California Championship also qualified him for a seat at the 2004 World Poker Tour final tournament.Patrick Bruel - Patrick Bruel is a well-known French singer and actor, having performed in over 40 television and film productions and recorded numerous top-selling albums. He also happens to be a world-class poker player. So while he may go unrecognized by American movie audiences, poker players from around the world will instantly recognize his face. Why? Well, in 1998 Patrick picked up a World Series of Poker bracelet for winning the 1998 $5000 Limit Hold’em event. He has also placed in the money numerous times in WSOP events, and earned over $750,000 in live play events.Jennifer Tilly - This Oscar-nominated actress has starred in such hits as The Fabulous Baker Boys and Bullets Over Broadway. However, she has publicly stated that she’s becoming more interested in poker than acting. One look at her accomplishments in the poker world and it’s easy to see why. In June of 2005, Tilly outlasted 600 other players and won her first World Series of Poker bracelet (and $158,625) in the Ladies' No-Limit Hold’em event, becoming the first celebrity to do so. She has also won the World Poker Tour Ladies Invitational Tournament and competed in Poker Royale, Poker Superstars, and Celebrity Poker Showdown.Josh Malina - With acting credits such as Sports Night and The West Wing, Malina is a respected actor of both the stage and screen. He is also an avid poker player. In fact, when he was struggling to get his career off the ground, he would often play poker in order to have enough money to pay his rent. Now that he’s financially secure, Malina is spreading his love of poker by producing Bravo’s Celebrity Poker Showdown.Matt Damon - After starring in the poker film Rounders, you might expect the world-famous Damon to know his way around a deck of cards. He’s a regular entrant in the annual World Series of Poker, and his most interesting WSOP story occurred back in 1998. Miramax Studios entered both he and Edward Norton in the WSOP Main Event ($10,000 buy-in) to promote the upcoming Rounders. Damon played well, but he was eliminated on the first day by poker legend Doyle Brunson after Damon’s pocket kings failed to beat Brunson’s pocket aces.Tobey Maguire - In October of 2004, the star of the Spider-Man franchise demonstrated his poker skills by winning the first-ever Phil Hellmuth Invitational Poker Tournament. He also picked up $95,480 for the win, causing Andy Bellin to remark to Phil Hellmuth, “This kid could be a legitimate pro.” He has finished in the money in several other events and has received lessons from poker pro Daniel Negreanu. And keep in mind that he’s only been playing seriously since 2004.James Woods - Having starred in movies such as Salvador and Another Day in Paradise, James Woods is one of America’s most respected actors. And not only is he a familiar face in poker rooms across the country, he’s also the face of a new poker site. Their selling point is t[...]

Hollywood’s fascination with Celebrity High Rollers


The elusive world of poker has come a long way from its seedy roots of shady, Mafioso-type characters playing no limit holdem’s in dingy, underground gambling dens. Today, it is very much a part of everyday life, sexed up with a peppering of celebrity and television coverage. Thanks to the internet this old game has also managed to reinvent itself and appeal to a broader and younger generation with the likes of Ben Affleck, Toby Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio all helping to propel poker’s profile into the stratosphere. Quite literally, the face of poker has now been replaced by college kids in their dorm rooms or women in their pyjamas playing poker, all influenced by the glamorous image poker now has.Today, it’s easier to list the celebrities who aren’t playing poker than the ones who are. Whether the stars are playing for charity or for added publicity, millions watch games such as Bravo’s Celebrity Poker Showdown, now in its fifth season. While many question these stars’ poker-playing abilities, few doubt that these celebrity poker shows contribute to the poker craze as well as the uptake of poker online.Not only is the music world cashing in on Poker but Hollywood has also come –a – knocking. Forget about private jets, vintage sports cars and dinky little pooches, if you're an A-list movie star with money to burn there's only one game in town: No Limit Texas Holdem. That's right, poker has come to Hollywood and no Friday night is complete without a high-profile celebrity tournament taking place somewhere in Beverly Hills.So far, George Clooney, Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer have all hosted poker parties at their homes, but the game everyone wants to be in is the one organised by the actor James Woods on a weekly basis. Players have to ante up $5,000 to be included in Woods's magic circle, but that hasn't deterred Ben Affleck, among others, from beating a path to his door.One of the reasons movie stars are so keen on poker is that the odds are stacked in their favour. Chris Weitz, the director of American Pie and About A Boy, recounted a Hollywood poker tournament he'd taken part in recently in which the winners of various heats got to compete at a top table for a prize of $50,000. However, when it came to the celebrities, the rules didn't apply. "They got to sit at the big table, even if they failed to win their heat," he said.Even playing with a stacked deck, some celebrities still manage to lose. Earlier this year, James Woods sailed to the Mexican Riviera to compete in a million-dollar tournament organised by the Travel Channel. But lady luck deserted him. "They took all my money," he said, referring to the professional card-players he was up against. "I have nothing left." It seems that lady luck has got a tight leash on celebrities and it’s apparent that Hollywood have become enamoured with Poker and in turn we have become infatuated with this sexed up image.Even more celebrity poker? You bet. E! Hollywood Hold'Em let's viewers enter celebrities’ homes as they and their friends, some famous and others not-so-famous, play hands of poker until someone wins the $10K pot. Intended to emulate the home games most amateur players are familiar with, this show enables viewers to see how the other half plays poker. When comparing E! Hollywood Hold'Em to the other celebrity poker shows, most poker enthusiasts agree that this show illustrates the worst in terms of actual poker-playing ability. When watching, one cannot help but think that these "poker players" have too much free time and too much Monopoly money to play with. Publicity stunts aside, tuning in to an episode of Hold’em Hollywood style does prove to be entertaining and as long as the celebrities are doing it, poker will continue to appeal to the masses.Vintage Poster Movie | Vintage Poster[...]