In the game of poker, good acting sometimes helps win hands and chips. That should make it no surprise that a number of successful and acclaimed actors have pursued the game at a serious level.
Here are 10 famous actors who have delved into the world of professional poker.
He is the man who played one of TV history’s most recognisable characters, George Costanza, from the TV show Seinfeld. The character is still widely referenced and lauded to this day, over 15 years after Seinfeld came to an end.
Alexander has pursued poker as a hobby in recent years and has been a regular at a number of high profile events, including the WSOP Main Event. While major poker glory eludes him, he has taken a laid back, admirable approach to the game. Having said that, his goal in poker is “simply to improve.”
Another high-profile American actor, Ray Romano was the title character behind the hit sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. The family man who was caught in the middle of a highly dysfunctional family proved to be a hit with viewers around the world and asserted Romano’s status as a top comedic actor.
Romano also pursues poker as a hobby and has appeared in six of the last seven WSOP Main Events. An in-the-money finish at the Main Event still eludes the 55-year-old. But he was the last remaining celebrity at this year’s event, which gives hope that next year could be the year.
He was Ray Romano’s older brother, Robert, on Everybody Loves Raymond (although Garrett is actually younger than Romano in real life) and is most known among the masses for that role. His taller than average height and deep voice have helped make him a familiar face in the world of entertainment.
Like his former on-screen brother, Garrett has also delved into the world of professional poker, where he has flicked chips alongside the best of the best. He has, like many actors, used his love of poker to benefit the less fortunate, having played in and hosted charity poker events over the years.
She has starred in a number of top movies, including Bullets Over Broadway, Liar Liar, Johnny Be Good and Made in America, all of which have given her a reputation as a top actress.
However, Tilly also has a wealth of experience at the poker table and has proven to be a premier professional poker player in her own right. Tilly won a WSOP gold bracelet at the 2005 WSOP and has earned 11 other WSOP money finishes since then.
There are few figures in the film industry who are as critically acclaimed as Ben Affleck. His performances in acting, directing, producing and screenwriting have earned him a truckload of prestigious awards including Golden Globes, BAFTA, Producers Guild and Academy Awards.
Affleck has also shown himself to be a solid player on the felt, having taken out the California State Poker Championship back in 2004 and the $356,000 cash prize. He has also competed in a number of WSOP events along with his good friend and fellow actor Matt Damon.
Kaplan first gained universal stardom in the 1970s for his role as Gabe Kotter, the main character in Welcome Back Kotter, which ran for four seasons. He also starred in a number of movies and has been doing stand-up comedy for decades.
Another thing Kaplan has been doing for decades is playing professional poker, and it shows. Kaplan won the prestigious Amarillo Slim’s Super Bowl of Poker back in 1980 and has since gone on to score 10 WSOP in-the-money finishes and three WPT cashes. He also provided commentary and hosted a number of poker events and shows, most notably High Stakes Poker.
He is perhaps best known as playing the role of Spiderman in the film trilogy of the 2000s, but Maguire has also starred in major films like The Cider House Rules, Seabiscuit, and The Great Gatsby.
But the 2002 World’s Sexiest Vegetarian has also been a shark on the poker table since playing professional tournaments in 2004. Maguire has one WPT in-the-money finish and three WSOP cashes on his poker tournament resume, one of the latter being a trip to the cashier’s cage at the 2007 WSOP Main Event.
He is arguably better known for his achievements in poker rather than in acting, but Boatman’s experience in both areas warrants him a place on this list. He has appeared in a number of TV shows including London Burning, The Bill, A Touch of Frost, as well as a number of British films.
Boatman also made his name as being one of the four members of The Hendon Mob, one of the most famous groups in the game of poker. He has a number of WSOP, WPT and EPT in-the-money finishes to his name and has earned a reputation for being one of the best players to come out of the UK.
Pollak has acted in a number of highly successful films over the last 25 years, including Willow, The Usual Suspects, A Few Good Men, and The Whole Nine Yards. He has also performed stand-up comedy, delved into the world of directing, and hosted his own chat show.
The 55-year-old has also shown a passion for poker and was even a host of Celebrity Poker Showdown back in 2003. Pollak’s biggest achievement in professional poker so far has been 134th place in last year’s WSOP Main Event, which was good for $52,718.
Patrick Bruel is a man of many marvellous talents. The Frenchman has starred in over 40 films since 1979, including Lost and Found and Paris Manhattan. He is also a highly accomplished singer in his home country and has released nine studio albums over a 30-year span, five of which have hit the top of the French music charts.
As if that wasn’t enough talent for one man, Bruel is also a good poker player, and by good we mean very, very good. He has a WSOP gold bracelet to his name along with 10 WSOP and two World Poker Tour in-the-money finishes.
What a guy.