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3 Hollywood Celebrities Better Off as Pro Gamblers, and One Who Is Not

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Hollywood actors seem unable to stay away from poker games and blackjack tables. Some of them have actually been pretty successful.

Hollywood actors and high-stakes gambling go together like white on rice. Maybe its the huge piles of cash, the desperate need for attention or the desire for intense stimulation, but these celebrities seem unable to stay away from poker rooms and blackjack tables. Contrary to what you may think, some of them are pretty handy with the cards. Here are a few of them:

Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck got his big break in 1997 collaborating with Matt Damon on the Oscar-winning Good Will Hunting. Since then his career has been a roller-coaster of relative ups and seemingly bottomless downs. He has turned in terrible performances in terrible films like Pearl Harbor and Gigli, but later redeemed himself with The Town and won an Oscar as the director of Argo.

•Despite recently being kicked out of a Vegas casino for card counting, Ben Affleck is a first-rate blackjack and poker player

•Former Hollywood starlet Shannon Elizabeth became a pro poker player during the mid-2000s

•Spiderman and Great Gatsby star Tobey Maguire has reportedly won over $10 million in underground tournaments

The verdict is that Affleck is a mediocre actor but good director. Following Christian Bale’s brilliant performance as Batman in the Christopher Nolan series, the thought of Affleck playing the caped crusader in the next film makes me cringe. I would much rather watch Affleck play poker professionally.

He has added American poker room star to his Hollywood resume, having won big in World Poker Tour events and been mentored by the legendary Annie Duke. Sure, he was recently kicked out of the Hard Rock Casino in Vegas for card counting at a blackjack table, but he’s a great poker player. And he’s lucky he hasn’t been kicked out of Hollywood by now.

Shannon Elizabeth

This one is cheating a little bit, because the Hollywood starlet has pretty much given up acting already. The 1999 teen comedy American Pie was her coming out party, more because of her perfectly-shaped nude body than for her acting ability. While respected for her talent she has enjoyed an impressive run and made a hefty bankroll in the process.

The bankroll has helped immensely in her “second” career as a professional poker player, which she began in the mid-2000s just as her acting star was beginning to fade. She was mentored by world-class poker star Daniel Negreanu and has won cash at four separate World Series of Poker events.

She still appears on both film and television but devotes more time to poker and charity work. Given that her looks have begun to fade and she was never a great actress to begin with, we suggest she give up the Hollywood bit altogether.

Tobey Maguire

Don’t get us wrong, we think Ol’ Tobey is a fine actor. The first two Spidermans were great, and he’s turned in some great performances as a quirky character actor in films like Wonder Boys and the Good German.

But now that Spiderman has been rebooted with a younger and more handsome British actor (Andrew Garfield) and The Great Gatsby was a king-size disappointment (psst: guess who saw that coming!), Maguire should consider devoting more time to poker.

At the poker table, he’s an absolute monster. He has allegedly won upwards of $10 million at celebrity-only underground poker games (which are technically in violation of American gambling laws), with one man even suing Maguire to recover $300,000 in losses. While rumors abound that he’s a raving gambling addict, it seems he wins most of the time, so it isn’t such a terrible thing.

His acting career isn’t exactly floundering, but he’s an absolutely brilliant poker player. And poker skills are something that tend to improve with age. Hollywood celebrity, not so much.

Charlie Sheen

In contrast to the other figures on this list, the famous actor/batshit crazy weirdo absolutely should not give up acting. Despite fading talent, his wacky antics have made his Hollywood star burn brighter than ever. For those who thought he would never top the $1.25 million he was earning per episode on Two and a Half Men, he has signed a contract worth $100 million to star in FX’s Anger Management.

Aside from his acting chops and status as prime celebrity gossip fodder, Sheen is also a serious gambling addict, and a bad one at that. Ex-wife Denise Richards made gambling news by stating that he was once blowing $20,000 weekly on sports betting. While betting is his big loser, he’s also been seen dropping large amounts at casinos in Vegas and Atlantic City.

Luckily for Sheen he has plenty of money to pad his gambling losses as well as drug addiction and taste for expensive prostitutes. So it’s important that he keep the acting money coming in to finance his assorted pricey habits.

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