Celebrities know that their every move is watched and that they are a constant source of fascination to their fans. Of course, when it comes to gambling, casinos can certainly be relied upon to make an arrangement for a private room, should a celebrity wish to stay out of the public eye. Alternatively, like the rest of us, many celebrities choose to play their favourite casino games from the comfort of their own home at online casinos just like Gaming Club. It’s definitely the best way to make sure no one gets an awkward pic when you leap up and fist pump the sky in celebration of a big win.
However, there do seem to be a fair number of celebrities who prefer to join the masses and play on the casino floor and some even take part in big tournaments. Of course, for every celebrity that loves to visit the casino, there is the almost inevitable backlash of rumours about gambling addiction, and attention from the press. Here are some of the most famous stories of famous film stars who gamble.
Ben Affleck is well known for his love of Blackjack and Poker and has no problem being seen in the casino. In fact, in 2004 he won the State Poker Championship and took home some pretty decent prize money. However, Affleck is also well known for having been banned from casinos in both Vegas and Atlantic City for counting cards.
When asked about it, Affleck said that he took some time to learn the game and became a decent Blackjack player. And once he became decent, the casinos asked him not to play Blackjack anymore! He remains indignant that a casino could choose to bar him for using his own hard earned skills to do well at a game he loves.
Jennifer Tilly is one of the stars that loves to gamble, and despite the assumption that all movie stars have huge bankrolls to play with, chooses to sometimes play the more modest games. Tilly is a huge fan of Poker and actually won her World Series of Poker ring in 2005. It helps of course, that her long-time partner is Phil Laak, one of the world’s top Poker players. Laak has the nickname Unabomber as a result of his chosen attire when he plays, and Tilly has earned the nickname the Unabombshell. They are certainly one of the more recognizable couples at the Poker table and often draw plenty attention to themselves.
Tilly is one of the few celebs who has managed to avoid the rumours of addiction, and actually announced her retirement from Poker in 2008. After a good long break she returned to the tables in 2012, and continues to play in what can only be called a responsible manner.
While reports of Matt Damon visiting land based casinos are few and far between, he has certainly been in a lot of films where is required to gamble and look like he knows what he’s doing. In preparation for his role in Rounder’s, which was released in 1998, Damon told the press that he had spent upwards of $25,000 dollars visiting casinos and getting his head around the different games. It looks like he was successful, as his performance in Rounder’s was outstanding.
Toby Maguire has a more interesting gambling history that most film stars. He was taught to play by champion Poker player Daniel Negreanu, and quickly discovered a talent for the game. He grew to really love playing and even won the World Series of Poker. However, his passion for the game got him in a bit of trouble. While reports have not been publicized about who else might have been involved, Maguire was sued by the state of California for participating in an illegal high stakes gambling tournament.
While it sounds pretty innocuous to join a few friends in a round of Poker in their hotel room, tournaments run this way without licensing are illegal in the state of California and when Maguire and his friends were caught out, there were some very serious legal consequences. Naturally, when the court case went to the press, there were rumours that he was a gambling addict, though there has never been any confirmation of that at all.
Ray Romano is one of the few celebrities who has been very open about his gambling addiction and instead of hiding from it, admitted publicly that he used his experiences for inspiration. When playing Joe Tranelli in Men of a Certain Age, his character needed to overcome his gambling addiction, and Romano admits that his performance was strongly influenced but his experience of the illness himself. It’s a brave move to admit so publicly to something so hard to overcome.