Top 10 Celebrity Poker Players

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Top 10 Celebrity Poker Players

Poker is a game that anyone can learn easily and has widespread appeal. It will come as no surprise that it also appeals to people in the public eye and as such there are a fair few celebrity poker players out there. 

In the golden era of online poker (2005-10) when things were getting started on the virtual felt, several poker sites used a celebrity or two to be the faces of their brands. 

These early ambassadors for the game were poker celebrities, but they were not always real poker players. Some lacked skills that professional poker players possess and didn’t risk their own money, only playing when their sponsor paid for them to do so, for publicity purposes.  

But not all celebrities who play poker are simply shilled mannequins for an online brand. 

Whether they are paid to represent an online poker room or not, some have more than enough skills required for poker and many have gone on to prove it, with great results in major international poker tournaments. Often armed with huge bankrolls, these celebrity poker players challenge themselves to learn the game and become masters of Texas Hold’em Poker

We've picked the cream of the crop, these are some of the very best celebrity poker players out there. They all love the game, but don’t let their status fool you; they are no mugs, they are poker players with sharp card skills and they’re looking to ruthlessly take your stack, even if they are kind enough to sign an autograph for you as they do it.  

Assuming otherwise may cost you dearly!

1. Victoria Coren Mitchell

Victoria Coren Mitchell

Journalist and TV presenter Victoria Coren Mitchell is one of the most successful celebrity poker players to have played the game. 

A household name as the host of the long-running BBC TV cerebral quiz show Only Connect, Victoria has played poker all of her adult life and had been a regular on the London poker scene for many years before she tasted success at the game.

Her first significant result came in a £200 Pot Limit Hold’em Tournament at the European Poker Championships in London in 2004, where she scooped over £14,000 for a second-place finish. Just one month later she took down the title of Celebrity Poker Club, a late-night poker show on Channel 4.

She was the first woman to win a European Poker Tour event, doing so in 2006 at her regular poker room at the Grosvenor Victoria Casino in London, for a cool £500k payday. 

Following this, she received a sponsorship from the EPT’s organiser PokerStars and in 2014, she remarkably became the first player to win two EPT main event titles. To this day, only one other player (Mikalia Pobal) has emulated this feat.

In total, Victoria has over $2.5m in live poker cashes to her name and although she partially retired from playing in 2014, she still graces the tables when her schedule allows.

2. Jennifer Tilly

Jennifer Tilly

Hollywood actress Jennifer Tilly was originally given a popular video poker game by her father: ‘World Series of Poker’ - which ignited an interest in poker she retains to this day. 

No stranger to gambling, one of the early films that Jennifer co-starred in with Richard Dreyfus was Let it Ride, a film about a gambler having a lucky day at the horse track. But Jennifer is not just a gambler, she’s a skilled predator at the poker table. 

Tilly has over $1 million in live poker cashes and a much-coveted WSOP bracelet to her name, achieved when she won the Ladies No-Limit Texas Hold’em event in 2005. She was coached by her professional poker-playing boyfriend Phil Laak, who she has been in a relationship with since 2004. 

Jennifer regularly plays in high-stakes cash games and has backed up her bracelet-winning credentials with over 60 cashes in live poker tournaments, most recently with four in-the-money finishes at the 2019 WSOP. 

3. Michael Greco

Michael Greco

British actor Michael Greco is probably still best known for his days as Beppe di Marco, when he used to reside in Albert Square on the BBC hit soap opera EastEnders

He’s been a keen poker player since the turn of the century, honing his skills on the London poker scene for several years before he started to get big results.

There is no truth in the rumour that after Michael won the 3rd leg of the inaugural season of the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour, the tournament director changed the level-up music to the EastEnders theme tune. 

However, after enduring constant reminders of his on-screen persona from his fellow poker players, he once snapped and bellowed out across the poker table “don’t call me Beppe!” 

Unsurprisingly, the name-calling didn’t stop there, but Michael was always good-humoured enough to see the funny side.

Having taken down his maiden title, Michael went on to record a string of impressive results, including two 3rd place finishes in WSOP events in Las Vegas, accumulating over $1m in tournament winnings to date.

4. Brad Garrett

Brad Garrett

Fans of Everybody Loves Raymond came to love stand-up comedian Brad Garrett, with his hard-to-miss 6” 9’ frame. Garrett has been very active since the early 1990s in both movies and television with a Hollywood CV including hit movies such as A Bugs LifeGarfield and Finding Nemo - his deep voice is particularly suited to animated movies, where he is in high demand. 

Garrett describes himself as a part-time professional poker player and he appeared on Poker Night in America where he had a memorable spat with “Poker Brat” Phil Hellmuth, scolding him for his constant trash-talking. 

His biggest live cash was in 2005 when he won Season 5 of the Celebrity Poker Showdown Championship, claiming $100k for his victory. Since then, he has had a string of small cashes at various live poker events, including two at the WSOP and most recently, one at the 2022 Aria Poker Classics in Las Vegas.

5. Shannon Elizabeth

Shannon Elizabeth

Everything Shannon has done in her life has been successful. Before becoming a global sensation thanks to her performance as Nadia in the American Pie trilogy, she was so good at tennis that she considered turning professional. 

In 2006, Shannon admitted her love of poker, describing the game as “her second career”. She regularly visited Las Vegas to mix it with the best poker players and was a semi-finalist in the NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship in 2007. This result and other tournament poker cashes proved her credentials as a top poker player. 

She narrowly missed out on a WSOP victory in 2010, finishing 2nd in the $5,000 Ante Up for Africa charity event for a $79k payday. This result was particularly apt for Elizabeth, who spends a lot of her time doing charitable work, as she founded the Shannon Elizabeth Foundation, an animal rescue and conservation organisation in South Africa.

Her last live in-the-money poker result was in 2013, so it looks like she doesn’t play as much these days, but poker skills are not easily forgotten and she’d be a fierce competitor if she ever makes it back to the tables.

6. Jason Alexander

Jason Alexander

Best known for playing George Costanza on Seinfeld, Jason loves poker, playing whenever he can, both live and online. 

Alexander is a regular on poker television shows and won the Celebrity Poker Showdown Championship in its 8th season, winning $500,000 for his chosen charity. 

Jason still plays regularly today and hosts an annual celebrity charity poker tournament, which has been running for 20 years.

7. Matt Damon

Matt Damon

Forever in the good graces of poker fans thanks to appearing in the movie Rounders, which is widely accepted as one of the best gambling movies of all time, Matt Damon combined his time starring in Hollywood blockbusters with regular appearances at The World Series of Poker. 

A cash game participant of the infamous “Molly’s Game”, Matt plays most of his poker behind the scenes, away from the public gaze. 

His character’s story in Rounders inspired many players around the world to try to become professional poker players.

8. Jay-Z

Jay Z

Poker’s appeal extends to the music world also, with quite a few rappers enjoying a hand or two of Texas Hold'Em when the chance permits. 

One of these is Jay-Z, who famously likes to play poker and has been spotted in London poker rooms when touring. He’s rumoured to have lost a lot of money in his early days playing, but he can probably afford it and has since upped his game and is reportedly doing somewhat better. 

He enjoys playing poker with other celebrities, having reportedly competed in private games with both Kevin Hart and Alex Rodriguez.

9. Aaron Paul

Aaron Paul

Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul is another well-known face who likes to bust a flush and stack opponents at the poker table. 

In 2016, the actor took part in The Cube, a poker show where players stood up inside a huge see-through rectangle (it wasn’t a cube) for a heads-up poker showdown. 

One year later, Aaron took part in another heads-up poker match, facing off against footballer Cristiano Ronaldo in the PokerStars Duel, but lost out to the 5 times Ballon D’Or winner. 

Aaron has also taken part in the PokerStars Championship and in 2015, he made day 2 of the WSOP main event. 

Despite not achieving great success at the tables yet, Aaron is much more pleasant and polite than his on-screen persona Jesse Pinkman, who would most likely say something more offensive when he breaks a bad beat on you.

10. Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart

Comedian Kevin Hart completes our list of the top 10 famous poker players. 

When he’s not making movies or apologising for gaffes and inappropriate comments, the funny man likes to gamble it up and has played in some very big poker games indeed. 

He’s been sponsored by both PokerStars and PartyPoker, and has competed in some huge tournaments, including taking part in the $100k (buy-in) Super High Roller at the 2017 PokerStars Championship in the Bahamas.

But that just wasn’t big enough for Kevin, as just a few months later, he ponied up the $300k required to play in the Super High Roller Bowl in Las Vegas. Hart fared a little better in this event, eliminating 16-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil ‘The Poker Brat’ Hellmuth from the tournament on day 1, before being eliminated in 24th place on day 2 of the 5-day event. 

Hart plays poker just the way you would expect him to, making big plays, crazy bets, sometimes winning, sometimes crashing down to earth with a bang when a bluff goes wrong. But whenever he sits down to play Texas Hold’em Poker, Kevin Hart lights up the table, creating unforgettable poker moments with his unique brand of energy and enthusiasm. 

Hollywood star Kevin Hart once famously won a poker hand by calling with trash claiming to have misread his hand, but won the $40k pot anyway, as his opponent was bluffing with an even worse holding. It was such a bizarre hand that it prompted the poker pro Daniel Negreanu to call it “the greatest televised hand in the history of poker.”

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Jonathan Raab

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