The Most Degenerate Gamblers in Sports History

Nathaniel UyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 15, 2010

The Most Degenerate Gamblers In Sports History

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    LEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 12:  Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods pass each other by on the second hole during the final round of the BMW Championship at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club on September 12, 2010 in Lemont, Illinois.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Professional athletes make big bucks.  But they don't necessarily all spend their money wisely.

    While some make very good investments with their hard-earned money, others just blow it away with large bets.

    We're talking some serious money here, from tens of thousands to six-figures to even millions of dollars.

    And the ugly truth is, it's not just a select few athletes that do this; there's plenty of big time sports names that have been bitten by the gambling bug.

    Is your favorite athlete on this list?  Click to find out.

    It's time reconsider your role-models.  Here are some of the most degenerate gamblers in sports history.

25. Rick Tocchet

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    TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 21:  Head coach Rick Tocchet of the Tampa Bay Lightning watches his team take on the Nashville Predators at the St. Pete Times Forum on November 21, 2008 in Tampa, Florida.   (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    The former right-winger pleaded guilty as being a part of a multi-million dollar gambling ring.

    He was sentenced to two years probation and avoided any jail time.

    Tocchet played the role of the financial backer, covering lost bets while taking a share of the profits.

24. LaMont Jordan

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    DENVER - SEPTEMBER 03:  Running back LaMont Jordan #32 of the Denver Broncos leaves the field after warm ups prior to facing the Arizona Cardinals during preseason NFL action at Invesco Field at Mile High on September 3, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Bron
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Jordan was sued by the Mirage for owing $20,000 in 2009.

    Despite his big-time NFL earnings as a running back, Jordan still found himself in trouble with the law.

    They claimed that he wrote them bad checks.

23. Terrence Kiel

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    Kiel's gambling problem had gotten so bad that he resorted to smuggling codeine-based cough syrup from a San Diego pharmacy to Texas in order supplement his income.

    He was arrested by San Diego authorities after packages of the codeine were interercepted in the mail.

    It was discovered that Kiel owed tens of thousands of dollars to San Diego area casinos. 

22. Gilbert Arenas

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    WASHINGTON - MARCH 26:  NBA player Gilbert Arenas of the Washington Wizards leaves the District of Columbia Court after being sentenced March 26, 2010 in Washington, DC. The Washington Wizards star recieved two years probation for bringing guns into the W
    Mark Wilson/Getty Images

    Many of us remember that Arenas was suspended by the league for drawing a gun on his teammate Javaris Crittenton.

    But the details that led up to the incident have been somewhat sketchy.

    Apparently, Arenas had owed money to one of his teammates and refused to pay up.

    An argument then erupted and suddenly escalated into Wild West-like gunslinging faceoff. 

21. Jaromir Jagr

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    NEW YORK - MAY 06:  Jaromir Jagar #68 of the New York Rangers skates off the ice after loosing to the Buffalo Sabres 5-4 in Game Six of the 2007 Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 6, 2007 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Benne
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Despite denying he has a gambling problem, Jagr was believed to have paid back nearly $1 million in debt to two online gambling websites.

    The sad thing here is that Jagr's losses were chump change to him since he has been one of the highest-paid players in the NHL.

    But his problems didn't stop with gambling, he also ended up owing the IRS some back taxes to the tune of $3.3 million.

20. Art Schlichter

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    Schlichtler is a first-round bust for the Baltimore Colts who succumbed to his gambling addiction.

    He supposedly blew his entire signing bonus on gambling bets and continued to spend all of his money by betting on games.

    The NFL suspended him in 1983 for gambling.

    And he has spent numerous stints in prison regarding gambling-related incidents.

19. Shawn Chacon

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    HOUSTON - JUNE 13:  Pitcher Shawn Chacon #30 of the Houston Astros during Interleague MLB action against the New York Yankees on June 13, 2008 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Chacon hasn't pitched for a major league baseball team since he got into a physical altercation with Houston Astros general manager in 2008, in which Chacon choked Wade.

    A year after that, he was arrested at a Colorado bowling alley on allegations that he had written bad checks to a Las Vegas casino totalling $50,000.

18. Adrian McPherson

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    New Orleans Saints  rookie quarterback Adrian McPherson warms up  during  a pre-season game against the Baltimore Ravens  August 26, 2005 in New Orleans.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    This quarterback was once alleged to have stolen a check in order to pay off gambling debts. 

    Which included some bets that he had placed on his former college team, the Florida State Seminoles.

    He ended up pleading no contest to a theft and gambling charges while still in college.

17. Stanley Bowles

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    He was an intense soccer player for England during his prime.

    But he was as reckless off the field as he was on it.

    Stan admits that he spent most of his earnings by gambling on virtually anything.

16. Antoine Walker

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    INDIANAPOLIS - APRIL 28: Antoine Walker #8 of the Boston Celtics is ejected from the game after he received his second technical foul in Game three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2005 NBA Playoffs on April 28, 2005 at Conseco Field Hou
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Only a few years removed from winning an NBA title with the Miami Heat, Walker is now out of his luck.

    A warrant was issued for his arrest in 2009 for accumulating $822,500 in gambling debts.

    He had been accused of writing bad checks to at least three different casinos.

    Now Walker is trying to get in the league for one more big payday.

15. Dana White

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    NEW YORK - MARCH 24:  Dana White, president of the UFC, speaks at a press conference for UFC 111 at Radio City Music Hall on March 24, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    True or not, there was an Internet rumor floating around that White, the UFC president, owed the Bellagio $1 million from gambling debts.

    Though White denied it, there's plenty of people in Vegas that are aware of his gambling habits and fondness for playing cards.

14. Ross Verba

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    HOUSTON - JANUARY 2:  Offensive tackle Ross Verba #77 of the Cleveland Browns warms-up for the game against the Houston Texans on January 2, 2005 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.  The Browns defeated the Texans 33-7.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    He was once a first-round draft pick in 1997 by the Green Bay Packers who ended up getting bit by the Vegas bug.

    Early in 2007 he was arrested for failing to pay $50,000 back to a Las Vegas casino.

13. Pacman Jones

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    GEORGETOWN, KY - JULY 31:  Adam Jones #24 of the Cincinnati Bengals is pictured during the Bengals training camp at Georgetown College on July 31, 2010 in Georgetown, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    The same guy who was connected to a Las Vegas club shooting, ending up owing some Las Vegas casinos some money.

    With a record of disorderly conduct, public intoxication and a few altercations, is his gambling issue really a big surprise?

    The debt was valued at $20,000.

12. Phil Mickelson

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    KILDARE, IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 24:  Phil Mickelson of USA acknowledges the crowd on the 17th green after losing his singles match on the final day of the 2006 Ryder Cup at The K Club on September 24, 2006 in Straffan, Co. Kildare, Ireland.  (Photo by Ross K
    Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

    According to rumors, Lefty has quite of a gambling streak.

    He allegedly lost $200,000 to fellow golfers after he requested that a $1-golf-game be upped in stakes.

    There's also been stories of Mickelson willingness to bet on almost anything as well as also winning tens of thousands of dollars from Super Bowl and World Series bets.

    But Phil now claims he is a changed man after the birth of his son Evan and dealing with his wife's illness.

11. Paul LoDuca

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    PHILADELPHIA - MARCH 31: Paul Lo Duca #16 of the Washington Nationals throws the ball during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies on opening day March 31, 2008 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Nationals won 11-6. (Photo by Dr
    Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

    Paulie has been named as one of the HGH users on the Mitchell report. 

    But his stories of controversy don't stop there.

    He was once investigated by major league baseball for some gambling debts.

    According to reports, Lo Duca owed someone money who ended up contacting his former team, the Flordia Marlins regarding his debt from 2005.

    And then while he was with the New York Mets, some bookmakers supposedly tried to go to Shea stadium in order to get their money from Lo Duca.

    That's a mafia-like shakedown he was getting.

10. Tiger Woods

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    KILDARE, IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 23:  Tiger Woods of USA shows his dejection following defeat during the morning fourballs on the second day of the 2006 Ryder Cup at The K Club on September 23, 2006 in Straffan, Co. Kildare, Ireland.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/
    Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

    At the same time that news of Tiger's adultery and laundry list of mistresses broke out, there were also allegations of his gambling habit.

    During his many visits to Las Vegas, Tiger would rendezvous with one of his many ladies and stay at one of the high stakes blackjack tables. 

    Where he was said to have bet $250,000 per hand.

9. Isaiah Thomas

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    MIAMI - APRIL 15:  Isiah Thomas talks to the media after he was introduced as the new head coach for Florida International Univeristy men's basketball team at U.S.Century Bank Arena on April 15, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    He is believed to be a high-stakes craps player.

    Back in 1990, Thomas was said to have been the target of an FBI investigation for running big money craps games out of his Florida home.

    Thomas denied the allegations.

8. Lenny Dykstra

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    NEW YORK - APRIL 1:   Lenny Dykstra attends the launch party for Players Club Magazine at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on April 1, 2008 in New York City.  (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
    Amy Sussman/Getty Images

    Two year ago, he was billed a business success. 

    These days he's believed to be living out of his car.

    During his playing career he earned a reputation for being a compulsive gambler.

    Even the commisioner's office had to intercede.

    He may have been tough as nails playing the game but he has been dumb as a rock in life.

7. Allen Iverson

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    CHICAGO - FEBRUARY 20: Allen Iverson #3 of the Philadelphia 76ers moves against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on February 20, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the 76ers 122-90. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees tha
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    A season ago, Stephen A. Smith reported that Iverson had been facing some personal problems such as alcohol abuse related to a pending divorce. 

    But Smith also noted that Iverson was struggling with gambling issues.

    Smith in his Philadelphia Inquirer column wrote that Iverson,"...will either drink himself into oblivion or gamble his life away."

6. Wayne Rooney

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    In 2006, Rooney was believed to have amassed £700,000 in debt to a bookie after betting on dogs, horses and soccer games.

    But his gambling streak didn't end there.  In 2008, there were reports out of a casino in Manchester that he had lost £65,000 in two hours.

5. Michael Jordan

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    ATLANTA - OCTOBER 5:  Former Chicago Bull Michael Jordan celebrates with Sammy Sosa #21 and the Chicago Cubs in the locker room after the Chicago Cubs defeated the Atlanta Braves 5-1 during Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the Chicago
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    There are plenty of Michael Jordan gambling stories floating around and many in the world of sports know that his Airness loves to make wagers.

    During his playing days he was spotted at the high-roller's table at Atlantic City the night before games.  It got so bad that the NBA had to launch an investigation on his habits.

    Some believe that his first retirement was actually a gambling ban.

    Heck, even his kids are said to have the Vegas bug after they were reported Tweeting that they spent $56k during a weekend in Sin City.

4. Michael Vick

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    TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 10:  Quarterback Michael Vick #7 of the Atlanta Falcons leaves the field after the Falcons defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 10, 2006 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Falcons defeated the Buccaneers 17-6.  (
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Who can forget the story of Michael Vick?

    Not only was he involved in bankrolling a dog-fighting gambling ring.  He was also involved in the brutal execution of dogs.

    Vick spent two years in prison.

3. Charles Barkley

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    Sir Charles is a high-stakes gambler and denies he has a problem.

    Barkley went on the record in 2006 to say that his love for gambling has cost him $10 million. 

    However, according to Charles he doesn't consider a problem because can afford to lose the money.

2. John Daly

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    GREENSBORO, NC - AUGUST 20: John Daly has a smoke on the 10th tee during the second round of the Wyndham  Championship at Sedgefield Country Club on August 20, 2010 in Greensboro, North Carolina. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
    Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    Daly has a gambling itch and he knows it.

    He even wrote a book admitting his predilection to gambling and losing as much as $60 million to his habit. 

    In one of his stories, Daly recounts winning $750,000 in a WGA tournament and turning around and driving to Las Vegas.

    There he lost $1.65 million within 5 hours after playing $5,000 slots.

1. Pete Rose

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    Of all the people on this list, Rose's story is well-known and he is paying a hefty price for being associated with gambling.

    Rose has a lifetime ban from baseball and is ineligible to be voted to the Hall of Fame, despite being the all-time leader in hits and having a very successful career.

    By Pete's own admission, he gambled on games as a player and as a manager.  He maintains that he never bet on Reds games, games which he could have influenced as a manager, even though there allegations that he did.