5 high-profile celebrities and their love of casinos

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It seems like these days a celebrity can’t even pop out to do a little shopping without the paparazzi and other journalists following their every move. So, when they do something even more newsworthy, like lazing on a beach or being seen out with a new partner, then it drives the media into even more of a frenzy.

When someone in the public eye also fits in with the popular idea of living a glamorous life, for example by heading for a casino, it takes things up a notch higher. Luckily for the writers, and readers, of the gossip columns, this happens pretty frequently and there is a distinct group of the usual suspects.

It’s not surprising, either. These are people who, whatever they may say, certainly get a level of satisfaction being seen out and about, especially in places where the rich and high-profile in society tend to congregate and socialize.

Sean Connery

Let’s start by going a little old-school with Sean Connery. For many, the Scottish actor was the quintessential James Bond, himself no stranger to the casino environment where he could often be found in white tuxedo taking on the house and winning. But in 1963, soon after he’d made his first appearance as the character in Dr.No, he had an astonishing run of good luck in real life.

One night he decided to visit a casino in the Italian Alps and try his hand at roulette.Deciding that he was going to play roulette for the night, he put some chips on the number 17. This didn’t come up but he placed another bet on the same number – again, no luck. But, on the third spin of the wheel, 17 did win. Rather than taking the money he’d won, he kept it on 17 where it proceeded to come up two more times in a row. As a result, he was suddenly 17 million lire richer – about $180,000 in today’s money.

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Ben Affleck

The actor/director is certainly a celebrity who makes for good copy, whether it’s speculation about who he may be dating or about his forthcoming roles in movies. But he also has something of a chequered career when it comes to his gambling. His two main games are poker and blackjack so cards are definitely his thing. In the case of the former he’s even been known to run high-stakes tables attracting other Hollywood stars.But, since reportedly losing $400,000 in a night to movie producer Ron Meyer, these seem to have been put on the back-burner.

But it’s his blackjack that he’s best-known for playing. He’s said to be highly skilled and knowledgeable about the game – so much so that he has perfected the art of card counting and when to double down. Knowing when to double down can be a hard skill to master, as world-famous gambling author John Grochowski explains in his blog post, it’s a chance to turn a profitable hand into something even bigger, read this informative post on when to double down, and see if you can achieve the knowledge Affleck himself has!

Pamela Anderson

The Canadian-born actor made her name firstly on Baywatch and then for the turbulent nature of some of her relationships. She has also always been a very keen casino-goer whose game of choice has been poker.

But romance and poker became entwined when, one night, she was playing a high stakes game in a casino with Rick Saloman. Anderson claims that she left the table for a little while, trusting Saloman’s driver to play her hands. In the time that she was gone, he allegedly lost nearly half a million dollars of her money, but Saloman agreed to waive the debt if she started dating him.

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This led to marriage and, unfortunately, divorce in which, ironically, she also tried to claim a share in $40 million he had allegedly won playing poker.

Matt Damon

Matt Damon is a near-perfect example of life imitating art. Many of his film roles have included poker and other forms of gambling that it’s been almost inevitable that he’s become a fan in real life. First there was Rounders, the film he starred in with Ed Norton. Then this was followed by the Ocean’s series of movies. His links with Vegas were even more firmly established with his role as Liberace’s chauffeur/partner in Behind The Candelabra.

There’s no doubt that the knowledge he picked up in the gambling movies has helped to turn him into a highly-accomplished poker player who is also rumoured to be one of the real-life celebrities involved in Molly Bloom’s famous poker circle. He’s even been known to play against professionals in the odd Las Vegas tournaments – although the results suggest that he’d be better advised sticking with the day job and reprising a few more Jason Bourne appearances instead.

Tobey Maguire

Another actor, and friend of Damon, who takes his poker very seriously indeed is the Spider-Man and Great Gatsby star. He is said to have received expert tuition from one of the world’s mas famous poker pros, Daniel Negreanu and used his skills to win many thousands of dollars in the process.He is also reported to have encouraged Leonardo DiCaprio to join him in games of poker, but found that the had to fund the actor, said to be worth around $260 million, as he didn’t have ready access to the cash.

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But, as with all gambling celebrities, Maguire has also travelled something of a rocky road with occasional big losses, not to mention a number of lawsuits brought against him by people who felt that he owed them money.

So there you have them, five high-profile gamblers who have built on their reputations by spending time round the poker table or in the casino. And however well or badly they may have done, it’s certainly made for some good stories.

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