Poker is a skill-based game that has gained widespread appeal in the recent past. Besides, the game is simple to learn, and it is no surprise that it also appeals to some of the most famous Hollywood celebrity gamblers in the world. When poker was gaining traction between 2005-2010, most poker sites used celebrities to market their brands. Most of these poker ambassadors were not professional poker players. In fact, they didn’t risk their own money; they only played when sponsored to do so.
Nowadays, there are more Hollywood celebrities with more than enough gaming skills required in online and offline poker rooms. Whether they are paid to represent a brand or not, the celebrities are armed with huge bankrolls, giving professional poker players a run for their money. In this piece, we will be looking at some of the famous Hollywood celebrities who are also poker players.
Hollywood actress Jennifer Tilly is unquestionably one of the most successful celebrity poker players in the world. Her interest in poker started when her father gave her a popular video poker game – Word Series of Poker. Jennifer Tilly also proved that she was into gambling when she co-starred in a film, Let It Ride, with Richard Dreyfus. Let It Ride was a film about a horse racing gambling enthusiast having a lucky day at the horse track.
As of now, Jennifer Tilly has more than $1 million in live dealer poker cashes. In addition to that, she won the ladies’ No-Limit Hold’em event in 2005, bagging the WSOP bracelet. Tilly’s success in poker can also be attributed to her professional poker boyfriend, who she has been dating since 2004. What’s more, Tilly is known for playing in high-stakes cash games and is currently having more than 60 cashes in live poker tournaments.
James Wood is another famous Hollywood celebrity who has been playing poker for a while. Wood is remembered by many for his nomination for two Academy Awards. One award was for the Best Supporting Actor in the “Ghost of Mississippi” film. The second nomination was for the Best Actor for his role in Oliver Stone’s Salvador.
James Wood also received two Primetime Emmy Awards for the TV movies My Name is Bill W and Promise. Those who have played poker with James Wood consider him one of the most intelligent celebrities. He is believed to have an uncanny ability for the table talks that makes him hard to play with. Wood can talk to players in the middle of a decision, causing them to make horrible plays. He is also known for telling bad beat stories at the poker tables. In fact, he can tell bad beat stories for about 30 minutes, all aimed at distracting his opponents.
Comedian Kevin Hart is another popular celebrity who has played some of the biggest poker games and tournaments. The Hollywood Star has been sponsored by some of the leading poker sites, including Party Poker and PokerStars. Hart has also participated in some of the huge poker tournaments, including the $100K (buy-in) Super High Roller Tournament. This tournament was organized by PokerStars and took place in 2017 in the Bahamas.
Kevin Hart also participated in the Super High Roller Bowl tournament in 2017. This poker tournament took place in Las Vegas and required an entry fee of $300K. Hart did well on day 1, eliminating Phil Helmuth, a 16-time WSOP bracelet winner. On day 2, Kevin Hart was eliminated in the 24th place.
The Hollywood star is also known for being a risk-taker. He can make big plays and crazy bets. This means he has been winning and losing a huge amount of money at the same time. In fact, there is time he won a whopping $40K pot in a poker event. The poker pro – Daniel Negreanu, termed this event “the greatest televised hand in the history of poker.”
Shannon Elizabeth is a popular Hollywood actress known for his role in the American Pie trilogy. The American actress is also a professional Tennis player. In 2006, Shannon admitted that she loved playing poker. In fact, she described playing poker as her second career. As a poker enthusiast, Shannon used to visit Las Vegas regularly in order to mix up with other professional poker players. She also participated in the NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship in 2007 and became a semi-finalist.
Shannon Elizabeth also participated in the $5000 Ate Up for Africa charity event, where she finished 2Nd. This event was a boost for Elizabeth, considering that she spent most of her free time doing charitable work. In fact, she is the founder of the Shannon Elizabeth Foundation, a renowned animal rescue organization in South Africa.
Todd Philips is one of the most popular directors in Hollywood. Todd is known for his roles in popular movies such as Road Trip and Old School. He is also remembered for the incredible gamble he took when making the famous movie – The Hangover. Believe it or not, Todd Philips gave up $7 million in director fees to have the freedom to make the movie and casting control. This gamble paid off handsomely, with Todd receiving $100 million in payouts.
Todd Philips’s incredible gambles are also the same at poker tables. The guy is willing to risk anything, provided that the poker prize in line is a big payout. Todd participated in the 2005 MPT Legends of Poker Championship event, where he finished 5th. He also walked home with a whopping $250,000 cash. Another exciting about Todd is that he is full of humor. Those who have played poker with him before consider his sense of humor as the weapon he uses to outsmart other poker players.
Brad Garrett is a stand-up comedian who has been active since the 1990s. His Hollywood CV includes top-rated movies such as Finding Nemo, Bugs Live, Everybody Loves Raymond and Garfield. Besides being a Hollywood actor, Brad Garret is a part-time professional poker player. Brad has participated in several poker tournaments, including the Poker Night in America. During this event, Brad Garrett faced off with poker legend Phil Helmuth, alias “Poker Brat.”
In 2005, Brad Garrett also participated in the Celebrity Poker Showdown Championship, where he won a whopping $100K cash. This was his biggest live cash, but he has also won other small cashes at various poker tournaments. For example, he has won two at WSOP and one at the recent 2022 Aria Poker Classics in Las Vegas.
Aaron Paul is another Hollywood celebrity who likes trying his luck on poker games. The Breaking Bad star has participated in some of the world’s most popular poker tournaments. For instance, he took part in the PokerStars Championship in 2015 and made it to day two of the main event. Aaron also participated in The Cube Poker event.
Well, this was a poker tournament where poker players stood in a huge see-through cube for a poker showdown.
In 2017, Aaron also faced off against the famous Football star Cristiano Ronaldo in the PokerStars Duel. Unfortunately, Aaron Paul lost the game to Cristiano Ronaldo. Despite not winning a fortune, Aaron still loves playing poker for fun.