The worlds of gambling and celebrity have long been inextricably linked. Think of Frank Sinatra, and chances are that if you picture him off-stage it is seated at a blackjack table or in front of the spinning roulette wheel. In fact, walk into the Cal Neva Lodge in Nevada in the early sixties of an evening, and it would be no surprise to see ‘Ol Blue Eyes in the company of Deano, Sammy and the rest of the Rat Pack. However, it is not only the famous faces of yesteryear who enjoy gambling, as you will soon discover.
Take Matt Damon for example. This Hollywood leading man is famed for his clean-cut, everyman persona, the kind of guy you would trust with your last dime. While that may well be the case, Damon has used his acting chops to good effect on the poker tables, and he’s not the only one. Ben Affleck, Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio are all poker aficionados, and have been known to sit down at tables where the buy-in was a cool hundred grand. Not much of a dent in an A-list Hollywood stars bankroll, but daunting enough for the rest of us!
Tiger Woods is another whose public persona doesn’t quite jibe with his private one. Or at least it didn’t for much of his career, until that car accident which resulted in a lot of extra-marital secrets being spilled. Before then, all we knew was the ultra-professional golfer in red who dominated his opponents on the course, and gave bland sound-bites to journalists off it. However a lot has come out since then, including his habit of playing blackjack at $25,000 a hand and his $1 million limit at the MGM Grand Casino. Not for Tiger the joys of online play – at least not that we know – but if you prefer a more economical game like Gonzo’s Quest then click here to find out more.
Floyd Mayweather has been in the news recently – you may have heard – but when not in training he likes to spend his off-time in clubs, strip-joints and casinos. Perhaps no surprise for a man whose nickname is ‘Money’. Floyd enjoys to bet on his favourite sports teams, and is not above dropping a few hundred thousand on NFL and NBA games if the mood takes him. Floyd is a man who does not like to lose, as we know, so presumably that carries across to his gambling activities as well since he did recently boast of winning ‘like a million dollars’ across a weekend of football.
Not everybody enjoys such good fortune when it comes to gambling, and that extends to the world of celebrity. Golfer John Daly is probably as famous for his off-course antics as anything he achieved on them. This is a man who enjoys the finer things in life, and who is not afraid to spend big to get them. In his 2006 biography ‘My Life in and out of the Rough’ Daly estimates that he lost between $50 and $60 million at casinos. In 2005 he reckons that he burned through a million and a half on slot games, which is a whole lot of nickels and dimes!
Charlie Sheen was a fan of both sports and casino betting in his wilder days. He had the money to blow as well, since his role in the inexplicably popular Two and a Half Men was netting him well over a million dollars an episode. His ex-wife claimed he was going through $200K a week on gambling, although since then he seems to have cleaned up his act. At least when it comes to his betting habits!
Michael Jordan is another sports star who has sought to replace the thrill of the game with gambling. Jordan is a legend of the game of basketball, but has not always enjoyed the same level of success when it comes to gambling. Like the time he lost a million and a quarter over the course of a week and a half’s golfing. In fact, rumours swirled around the game at one point that his initial retirement was in fact a ‘secret suspension’ due to his gambling violating league rules, although that is probably just a load of hot air.
As you can see from the list above, the lure of the casino is just as attractive for the rich and famous as for the rest of us.