TV Stars and Poker!
Some of the world’s biggest television and film stars do their best to make the most of their downtime away from the studio. There are those who like to jet off to remote islands, away from the glare of the media, and there are those who like to sit down and push themselves to the limit at the poker tables. Contrary to popular belief, poker is not just a game for degenerates. It’s a game enjoyed by people from all walks of life – Hollywood included!
Some of the most successful actors and actresses from the U.S. and beyond can be found at the biggest poker tournaments in the world, like the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event. Here are five leading TV stars that have a new-found love of poker:
For almost 30 years, Ben Affleck has been delighting movie fans with his appearances in some of the biggest Hollywood releases. In the early 2000s, Affleck really came into his own with his role in the iconic Pearl Harbor. Away from the camera, Affleck has long been a passionate poker and blackjack player. In 2004, he even won the California State Poker Championship, bagging himself $356,400, which is probably chicken feed to him when you consider his Hollywood earnings.
Jennifer Tilly has long been recognized as a talented actress. Since the early 1990s, when Tilly starred in Woody Allen’s Bullets over Broadway, she quickly became a regular on the Hollywood scene. Her roles in Liar Liar, Stuart Little and Monsters Inc. particularly spring to mind. Tilly got into poker during the so-called “boom” years of the mid-2000s. Her talents at the poker table were there for all to see when she bagged the 2005 WSOP Ladies’ No-Limit Hold’em Championship bracelet. She’s since gone on to earn more than $1 million in live tournament earnings. Tilly is also one half of one of the most tried and trusted couples in poker. She is married to Phil Laak, another player that’s raked in millions of bucks in live poker cashes.
Alexander is best loved for his role as George Costanza in the iconic U.S. sitcom, Seinfeld. The larger-than-life American actor was also cast in the hit 1990 movie Pretty Woman, where he played Phillip Stuckey. Poker has been a love for Alexander long before he made it on the big screen. He has been playing the game since high school. Alexander has since been tutored by one of the most successful poker professionals of all time, Phil Hellmuth. In the latter part of the last decade, Alexander even secured a sponsorship deal with leading online poker network PokerStars.
Woods has been part of the Hollywood furniture since the early 1980s. His voice has become iconic in some of the most popular U.S. cartoon shows in recent decades, most notably The Simpsons and Family Guy. He’s even been used as the voice of Mike Toreno in the hugely successful Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas video game. Woods used to be the face of Hollywood poker that’s since ceased trading. Regardless, Woods has continued to play live tournaments and cash games and has raked in well over $300,000 in live poker earnings thus far.
Across the pond in the United Kingdom, there is a famous TV “soap” actor that’s hung up their acting hat in favor of a career in poker. British actor Michael Greco was best-known for his role as Beppe di Marco in the long-standing soap EastEnders. He was once voted the sexiest male soap star ever. In the mid-2000s, Greco decided it was time to leave his role in EastEnders and eventually opted for a poker-playing lifestyle, mentored by Marty Wilson. Prior to that he featured in a show called Celebrity Love Island which is a little like Big Brother. Greco has enjoyed genuine and sustained success on the live poker tournament scene, cashing in a handful of WSOP events – including the Main Event – and has well over $1 million in tournament winnings thus far.
Many of these actors and actresses aren’t really playing for the money. Let’s face it, they don’t need any more money. But the competition and drama that poker offers is something so unparalleled in any other walk of life.
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