10 Poker Playing Stars and Celebrities
Poker is such an amazing and fun game that it is not only die hard fans of the game who are regulars at the felt; sport stars and celebrities also flock to the tables to lock horns with us mere mortals.
Here are 10 such sport stars and celebrities who have been spotted at poker tables around the world during the past 12 months.
Former professional footballer Teddy Sheringham had a glittering career that saw him turn out in the colours of Nottingham Forest, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and the England national side. A talented striker, Sheringham found the back of the net 289 times in 760 league appearances and scored 11 goals in 51 games for England.
Now retired, Sheringham is often found competing on the various poker tours in Europe and the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. To date, he has almost $330,000 in live tournament earnings, with his best cash being for €93,121, his prize for finishing fifth in the 2010 European Poker Tour Vilamoura Main Event.
26-year old Spain and Barcelona centre-back, Gerard Pique has it all. Dashing good looks, bags of cash from his monster-sized salary, and he has been dating Columbian pop princess Shakira since 2010! Oh, and the boy loves poker too.
Pique competed in the 2013 WSOP, although he failed to cash in any events, but he did cash in the 2013 EPT Barcelona Main Event, navigating his way to 19th place before crashing out.
Hollywood star Ben Affleck has starred in films such as Good Will Hunting, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor and was recently cast as Batman - that in itself is awesome enough - but away from the silver screen Affleck sits down at the green felt.
Although he only has one tournament cash to his name - a win in the $10,000 buy-in California State Poker Championship in 2004 that banked him $356,400 - Affleck is rumoured to be a regular in high stakes cash games in Los Angeles. In fact Affleck was one of the players named in a recent court case where a rouge hedge fund manager used investors' funds to pay for his penchant for high stakes cash games!
Matt Damon, star of 1998 poker movie Rounders, allegedly lost $25,000 at the WSOP while researching his role of professional poker player Mike McDermott. Looking at The Hendon Mob Database, it appears Damon has requested his results to be removed as his page is empty barring his photograph and I know he has cashed in a number of events. Damon actually shuns camera crews and bloggers whenever he is competing in poker tournaments so removing his results comes as no surprise.
Damon was part of same high stakes games that Ben Affleck and our next celebrity were regulars in.
Tobey Maguire rose to super-stardom when he portrayed Spiderman in the films bearing the same name. Maguire's last recorded tournament cash came in 2007 when he finished 292nd in the WSOP Main Event for $39,445. However, Maguire is somewhat of a cash game beast if reports about him are true.
The aforementioned high stakes cash games in LA are an old haunt for Maguire - and Affleck and Damon - and they were very profitable. Rumours circulated that Maguire was winning as much as $1 million per month when these games ran and may have won up to $40 million!
American Pie star Shannon Elizabeth is a regular in Las Vegas - up to three times per month -- where she locks horns with some of the State's grinders and apparently manages to more than hold her own.
In 2010, Elizabeth finished second in the WSOP Ante Up For Africa Charity Event for $79,776, but her biggest score came three years previous when she came third in the $25,000 buy-in NBC National Heads-Up Championship.
Actor, comedian and game show host Kevin Pollak has featured in some superb movies such as A Few Good Men, The Whole Nine Yards and The Usual Suspects and is also an avid poker player who regularly sits down with Hollywood A-list celebrities in homes games.
In 2012, Pollak went on a deep run in the WSOP Main Event, eventually falling in 134th place for $52,718.
Although vest known for his role as George Costanza in the critically acclaimed Seinfeld, Jason Alexander has appeared in many televised poker tournaments. Fans of Seinfeld and poker shows such as Poker After Dark and Celebrity Poker Showdown will recognise Alexander.
Alexander's best result was in 2010 when he finished fifth in a $350 WSOP circuit event in Atlantic City for $16,933, but he will be looking to eclipse that amount in the next fortnight as he was spotted in the Bahamas ready to compete in the 2014 PCA festivities.
If you have had the pleasure to visit the WSOP during the past 10 years you will no doubt have bumped into Hollywood star James Woods. Woods is a regular feature at the WSOP and has two cashes in WSOP events; the first came in 2006 when he finished 56th in a $2,000 buy-in Shootout and more recently in 2013 when he came 54th in Event #28.
Rafael Nadal is one of tennis' most decorated players and a true sporting legend. The Spaniard has won everything possible in tennis and has career earning in excess of $64 million! Although he has plenty of years left in his tennis career, Nadal has started to learn how to play poker and will no doubt be terrorising opponents at the felt.
At the EPT Prague festival, Nadal competed in his first competitive live poker tournament, a charity event featuring Daniel Negreanu, former Brazil football star Ronaldo, Fatima Moriera de Melo, and Andriy Shevchenko. Rather unsurprisingly, Nadal took down the tournament and donated €50,000 to a charity of his choice.
Who is your favourite non-professional poker player? Let us know in the comments box.