Celebrity Card Sharks: The Unexpected Poker Masters
If you’ve ever seen an episode of Celebrity Poker Showdown on Bravo, you’ve probably got an idea that these Hollywood-types like a game of Texas Hold ‘Em from time to time. But you may surprised at the level of success some of them have had, and even more surprised at the specific people in question.
Perhaps less surprisingly, all of our top five unlikely poker stars are actors, so maybe the ol' Stanislavski method does come in handy for something after all…
5. Shannon Elizabeth
No, she’s not really a Czech exchange student, so at least her command of the English language is not a strike against her. Still, Elizabeth is hardly the stereotypical cigar-wielding, beer-gutted poker player one might immediately picture when thinking of a high-stakes poker pro.
Nevertheless, in 2007 she placed fourth in the NBC National Heads-up Championship—beating some quality pro players—so you’d do well to concentrate on her poker and not her other…talents.
4. Michael Greco
Anyone reading this in the US might have little trouble believing Greco would spend time at the tables—mainly because they’d have no idea who he is.
But as British soap EastEnders’ Bepe Demarco, Greco seemed more likely to be playing bingo in Bogna Regis than going all-in in Atlantic City. So a UK fan might well be surprised to learn that he has made over $430,000 playing poker tournaments.
3. Jason Alexander
George Costanza wouldn’t be able to keep his cool at the table, let alone a poker face! But clearly these personality traits are more attributable to Larry David—on whom Costanza was based—than the actor who portrayed him.
Jason’s exploits at the table have seen him participate in the World Series of Poker main event in 2007, so at least this one isn’t a Ponzi scheme.
2. Jennifer Tilly
No one who saw Jennifer’s turn in Frasier would have thought her capable of the kind of cunning strategy she’s demonstrated at the poker table, but the native of Harbor City, LA even has a WSOP bracelet from the Women’s $1,000 no-limit hold'em poker event in 2005 to her name.
Being the girlfriend of professional player Phil Laak may go some way to explaining this ability, but considering Tilly won the WPT Ladies Night III shows, she’s got more than enough to do the job on her own.
1. Tobey Maguire
If the erstwhile Spiderman lead sat down next to you for some Hold ‘Em, you’d be forgiven for thinking that IDs were not being checked as vigilantly as usual in the casino.
But Maguire’s diminutive looks belie the fact that he’s a big dog at the poker table, having won a reputed $10 million in Hollywood home games.