Since Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker and ignited the “poker boom,” professional poker players have achieved celebrity status thanks to televised poker and mainstream media coverage.
Poker has long been a source of relaxation for stars from the world of movies, television, music and sports. Here are just a few that regularly pit their skills at the table and are adding “poker celebrity” to their resume.
Kaplan is best known for his role in Welcome Back, Kotter, a 1970’s sitcom that is still in syndication. Kaplan is an old school poker player who regularly played high stakes games with the likes of Doyle Brunson and Stu Unger. In recent years Kaplan has made final tables at World Poker Tour events and the final table of the very tough $50K H.O.R.S.E event at the World Series of Poker.
Actor Kevin Pollack has made more than one hundred television and film appearances. He is also a regular poker player in Hollywood home games. His deep runs in the World Series of Poker Main event proves that Pollack can do more than memorise his lines and the rank of poker hands. Pollack at the poker table is a skilful but very friendly player, who constantly tells stories and chats with his fellow players. He says that the most important benefit of playing in the World Series is the bragging rights from competing against and beating some of the game’s best.
The American Pie star was a poker fan and recreational player long before she made a splash in the poker world. No doubt the National Heads Up Championship organisers figured that inviting Elizabeth to compete in the event would boost the tournament’s appeal to 18-34 year old males. Elizabeth shocked many in the poker world by defeating seasoned pros and finishing third in the event. Elizabeth was absent from the tournament scene for a while, but recently cashed in a $10K buy-in event in Florida.
The all-time Olympic Medal record holder has proven he knows his way around a poker table. Whilst his tournament results are minor, he knows how to swim with the sharks at the poker table. Not only is Phelps a tournament and cash game player, he backs poker players as well.
The front man for the band Godsmack has shown that he not only knows how make top selling albums (the band has five number one releases), but he also knows his way around the poker table. Erna is just one of many hard rock musicians that regularly plays poker and is a regular in the World Series of Poker.
The Spider-man star is one of the most avid poker playing celebrities. Maguire doesn’t play many tournaments, instead concentrating on high stakes Hollywood home games, where he is rumoured to have won more than $10 million.
The star of numerous movies and television shows, Tilly is an avid and accomplished poker player. She was previously married to Simpsons creator and poker player Sam Simon, and is the girlfriend of poker pro Phil Laak. She frequently plays in cash games and has an impressive tournament resume, with over $600,000 in earnings and a WSOP bracelet.