Poker has been around for centuries and continues to be popular today, so it’s no surprise that some of the most famous people – presidents, celebrities, and even athletes – were avid poker players. If you’re curious as to who are the famous names and faces that knew how to play their poker hands right, here is a list:
The 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, was also a poker enthusiast. He was more after the thrill of the game than the winnings, as he only played “penny-ante” games. And believe it or not, poker has shown that it positively affects those who play it. After all, good old Abe is proof that the man who knows the best hands in poker also knows what’s best for his country.
Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, was another politician who knew how to play poker. He was known to be a very competitive player and would often play for high stakes. Roosevelt once said, “All I ask is a square deal for every man. Give him a fair chance. Do not let him wrong anyone, and do not let him be wronged.”
As if the poker analogy isn’t on the nose enough. “When I say I believe in a square deal I do not mean… [it’s] possible to give every man the best hand. All I mean is that there shall not be any crookedness in the dealing.” Inspiring words from a great poker player and a great president.
The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, is also a poker fan. He is more of a low-stakes guy, much like Abraham Lincoln. He has said that poker is a good way to relieve stress and has even used his savvy with the best poker hands to build political connections.
What makes Barack’s choice of this particular pastime remarkable is that before him, Nixon was the last poker player. Looks like Obama’s presidency not only broke social barriers in America but also four decades of the White House not having a poker-playing president.
He may be best known for his role as Spiderman, but Tobey Maguire is also an accomplished poker player. He has made it to the final table at the World Series of Poker twice, and in 2004 he won the California State Poker Championship.
Maguire’s love of poker began when he was just a child, and he has said that the game has taught him many valuable life lessons. In particular, he cites poker as a great way to learn how to control one’s emotions and make decisions under pressure.
Perhaps better known for her acting than her poker playing, Jennifer Tilly is a force to be reckoned with at the poker table. She has won a World Series of Poker bracelet, and in 2005 she made it to the main event’s final table. Goes to show that she knows what winning poker hands are.
Tilly is no stranger to gambling, as she is also an accomplished casino player. She once won over $100,000 in a single night of playing baccarat.
Like Jennifer Tilly, Matt Damon is better known as an actor than a poker player. But he has nonetheless had some success in the world of professional poker. In 2006, he made it to the final table of the World Series of Poker main event, and he has won several celebrity tournaments.
Damon’s love of poker began when he was filming the movie Rounders, in which he starred alongside Edward Norton. He has said that poker is a great way to sharpen one’s observation and concentration skills.
Edward Norton is another actor who got his start in poker through the movie Rounders. He has since become quite good at dishing out poker card hands. Norton has said that he enjoys the strategic aspect of poker and the challenge of trying to outsmart his opponents. He also appreciates that poker is a game of skill, not just luck.
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The actor and director is another big name in Hollywood that enjoys playing poker. He has also won major tournaments, including the California State Poker Championship.
Affleck’s interest in poker began when he was filming the movie Runner Runner. He has said that he enjoys trying to outwit his opponents and that poker is a great way to test one’s skills of deception and bluffing. It’s a fitting pastime for someone of his caliber, fame, and wealth.
The greatest basketball player of all time is also a fan of poker. Jordan has said that he enjoys the competitiveness of the game and the fact that it requires both skill and luck to win. He also likes that poker is a social game and a great way to meet new people. Jordan’s love of gambling is well-known, and he has been known to bet on everything from basketball games to golf. Guess he is a…jack of all trades.
Playing With The Big Names
So there you have it, some of the most famous personalities that are also into poker. Next time you’re at a poker table, keep an eye out for any familiar faces. You might be surprised that you’re playing with a certain statesman, actor, or player.