If you turn the channel to any high stakes poker event, chances are that at least one Hollywood celebrity will be there. Celebrities have the flexibility and money to play poker in tournaments all over the world. While some never reach the level of professional poker player, others become well-known in the game. Below is a list with ten of the most prominent celebrity poker players worldwide (in no particular order).
Ben Affleck – It is hard to dispute Affleck’s reputation as one of the most famous celebrity poker players after he won in June 2004 the California State Poker Championship (where he earned $356,400). Affleck isn’t starring in movies like Daredevil and Armageddon. He collects old video arcade machines and takes poker lessons from pros such as Annie Duke and Amir Vahedi when he isn’t acting. Affleck’s win at the California Championship earned him a spot at the 2004 World Poker Tour final event.
Patrick Bruel – Patrick Bruel, a well-known French actor and singer, has appeared in more than 40 TV and film productions. He also recorded many top-selling albums. He is also a top-ranked c. He may not be recognized by American moviegoers, but poker players around the globe will recognize him instantly. Why? Why? Because in 1998, Patrick won the 1998 $5000 Limit Hold’em tournament. He has also been in the money in WSOP events numerous times and earned more than $750,000 in live poker events.
Jennifer Tilly – The Oscar-nominated actress Jennifer Tilly has starred in hits like Bullets Over Broadway and The Fabulous Baker Boys. She has stated publicly that she is more interested in poker and not acting. It’s clear to see why when you look at her achievements in poker. Tilly defeated 600 players to win her first World Series of Poker bracelet and $158,625, in the Ladies No-Limit Poker event. She became the first celebrity to do this. She also competed in Poker Royale and Poker Superstars and won the World Poker Tour Ladies Invitational Tournament.
Josh Malina – Malina has a long list of acting credits, including Sports Night and The West Wing. He is a well-respected actor on both the screen and stage. He’s also a keen poker player. When he struggled to make a career, he used to play poker to earn enough money to pay rent. Malina now has a stable income and is able to spread his passion for poker through Bravo’s Celebrity Poker Showdown.
Matt Damon – Matt Damon is a poker star who starred in Rounders. You might think that Damon would be able to navigate a deck of cards. He is a regular entrant to the World Series of Poker and his most memorable WSOP story was back in 1998. Miramax Studios entered both he as well as Edward Norton into the WSOP Main Event ($10,000 Buy-In) to promote the upcoming Rounders. Damon performed well but Doyle Brunson, a poker legend, eliminated him on day one. Brunson’s pocket cards had defeated Damon’s.
Tobey Maguire, the Spider-Man star, won the inaugural Phil Hellmuth Invitational poker tournament in October 2004. Andy Bellin commented to Phil Hellmuth that he thought the winner could be a professional. He has also finished in the money at several other events, and has taken lessons from Daniel Negreanu, a poker pro. He has only been serious about poker since 2004.
James Woods – James Woods has starred in films like Salvador and Another Day in Paradise. He is one of America’s most respected actors. He is not only a familiar face in the poker rooms across the country but he also represents a new site. The site’s selling point is the possibility for players to play poker with Woods and other top stars. Woods has a 180 I.Q., so it’s not a bad idea to match wits with him. Woods placed 24th out of 692 players at the L.A. Poker Classic in 2006. Poker Classic starting at $40,000.
Mimi Rogers – When she’s not staring in hit films like Lost in Space or Austin Powers, Mimi Rogers is a very good poker player. Ex-wife of Tom Cruise won first place in an episode on Hollywood Home Game and was also the winner of the Shooting Star Championship at the World Poker Tour.
Wil Wheaton – One of the stars in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Stand by Me, Wheaton is an avid participant in online poker rooms and was invited to the World Poker Tour Championship. He is also a member of Team PokerStars, and participated in the 2005 World Series of Poker.