Some celebrities just cannot get enough of gambling action, while others are just skilled gamers. Decide who’s who in this list of celebrities who love gambling.
1. Michael Phelps
The greatest Olympian of all time, US swimming champion Michael Phelps is a famous poker fan. So much so that friends once complained, before the London Olympics, that he had lost focus, meaning his time at the casino, including his local Baltimore Horseshoe, began to draw negative media attention. Of course, he went on to win another four golds at the games, so his focus doesn’t seem so bad now. In Rio last year, he took down another five medals, one of these after having made famous the “Phelps death stare,” which people at the time took for a bit of sports psychology, but actually turned out to be in relation to a pre-game spot of online poker.
2. Ben Affleck
There have been many reports detailing Affleck’s all night online poker sessions, and it’s rumored to be one of the issues that has resulted in his split from wife Jennifer Garner. It is not just online that the current Batman star indulges in his favorite pastime, as he has become a familiar face on the live poker circuit too. On the flip side, he has reportedly been banned from playing blackjack games at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino for counting cards. Similarly, he was once asked to leave the Caesar Windsor Hotel and Casino in Ontario, as his reputation as a card counter catches up with him.
3. Tobey Maguire
The subject of an upcoming poker film by Aaron Sorkin, Tobey Maguire is another famous poker player and indeed a very, very successful one. Unfortunately, he won all his money in underground games hosted by Poker Princess Molly Bloom on whose memoirs the upcoming film is based. While the book details how, thanks to coaching from Canadian poker legend Daniel Negreanu, Maguire accumulated millions in winnings, it also goes into detail about exactly what an ass he was at these Hollywood high stakes games. Winning high, then tipping low, even forcing his host to beg and bark like a seal for a tip of his winnings, and forcing the table to use his own personal money counter before charging an extortionate rate to use it. Stay classy Tobey.
4. John Daly
One of Golf’s more colorful characters, John Daly claims to have lost somewhere between $55-60 million gambling over the past 15 years. Given his devotion to his vices, this is not so surprising. Another card player, Daly likes the action so much that he bets online, too, a lot of the time for a lot of the money. Whereas some play with skill, others just love the thrill of the punt and, great Golfer though he was, it seems Daly would fall into the latter category.
5. Norm Macdonald
The superb 1998 Matt Damon poker film, Rounders, is one of the most accurate portraits of a skilled poker player trying to escape his own reality. It is, so they say, also based on the life of Canadian comedian Norm Macdonald. How true that is, we don’t know, but Macdonald is most definitely a poker player that carries some obsession. A skilled mathematician, the young Norm taught himself how to count cards when he was ten, and after moving to the US, began to use his skills playing blackjack and poker. He is now a visible celebrity on the live poker circuit and maybe even online. In Macdonald’s Canadian homeland, online casino games are legal and very well regulated, meaning that folks are in the fortunate position of being able to get in on the action, safe in the knowledge that no laws are being broken and their money and personal information are completely safe.