Gambling is one of the most popular pastimes in the world. It is an activity which is enjoyed by all kinds of people. Famous people are no exception and some of these celebrities have become known for their gambling as much as the films or records they make. Before records and movies, certain celebrities of times gone by were noted for their gambling habits. The French impressionist Claude Monet was an accomplished gambler before he had won enough money to be able to step back and focus on his paintings. This was also true for Casanova. Apart from his famed womanising, he was also a keen gambler to the extent where he wanted to be a professional. When we think of gamblers, we might also conjure up images of Westerns and gun fights and the names of Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp. Nothing much has changed in the modern world except the omission of violence and bloodshed.
Australian Kerry Packer was a man who made a fortune out of gambling. It was his life and he died in 2005 allegedly worth 6.5 billion dollars. He was a particularly heavy gambler and famously won $26 million playing Blackjack at the MGN in Las Vegas. He also lost a lot of money to the tune of $16 million.
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There is one particular type of gambling which has surged in popularity over the last decade. Poker is a global phenomenon and certain Hollywood stars have indulged in their passion for the game and religiously attend and participate in many poker tournaments. One of the most famous is Ben Affleck. He is actually a trained poker player and won his first tournament back in 2004. Affleck is a very serious gambler and he has banked over $300k in his playing career.
Similarly Toby Maguire of Spiderman fame can be seen in many a poker tournament. He hasn’t got the best winning streak but it’s clear that he has a passion for the game.
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A more successful celebrity poker player and easily recognisable is Jennifer Tilly. She is a very dedicated player and was the first woman celebrity to win the World Series Of Poker (WSOP) bracelet .She won in 2005 playing ‘Texas Holdem’ and then went on to win the World Poker Tour Ladies Invitational Tournament. Also in the mix is Shannon Elizabeth who starred in the ‘American Pie’ films. Shannon is very serious about her poker and is a very familiar face on the circuit. She first came onto the scene on Celebrity Poker Showdown and has been a regular ever since. Shannon won the 2005 New Year’s Eve’s poker tournament at Caesars Palace. She is often seen in LA casinos.
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It is generally regarded that the most famous poker player and therefore gambler of today is that of Annie Duke who is in fact the first woman to ever win the WSOP bracelet and after winning the Champion of Champions tournament walked away with the biggest prize ever to be awarded to a woman. Some achievement indeed.
It wouldn’t be right not to mention Benny Binion who gave up life as a con artist in early 20th century America and moved to Las Vegas to set up what is now known as The World Series of Poker Tournament. Truly the godfather of gambling!
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