Ben Affleck

Oscar-winning American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter Ben Affleck explored the dark side of online gambling when co-starring, alongside Justin Timberlake, in the 2013 Hollywood movie ‘Runner Runner’. However, away from the silver screen, Affleck is a serious poker player. He has, however, repeatedly denied press accusations of a gambling addiction which was, allegedly, responsible for his split from his wife of 10 years, Jennifer Garner, in 2015.

In December, 2003, Affleck won $4,000 for his chosen charity, A-T Children’s Project, when finishing third, of six celebrities, in the World Poker Tour (WPT) Hollywood Home Game IV at the Hollywood Sound Stage, but failed to win a $25,000 buy-in to the WPT Championship, which was the first prize. Nevertheless, the following June, Affleck beat a field of 90 players, including fellow actor Tobey Maguire, to the $356,400 first prize in the California State Poker Championship. That victory did earn him a seat at the WPT Championship the following April, but he failed to win any of the $10,961,000 prize money on offer at Bellagio, Las Vegas.

More recently, Affleck, along with other celebrities, including Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon, is rumoured to have been involved in the illicit, high stakes poker games run by former cocktail waitress Molly Bloom – dubbed the ‘Poker Princess’ – at ‘The Viper Room’ nightclub on Sunset Trip in the late Noughties. The 2017 movie ‘Molly’s Game’, starring Jessica Chastain as Bloom, is loosely based on the goings-on at the secretive, $50,000 buy-in games.

Big Bucks Casino Chips

These chips certainly offer a little perspective to the average casino goer gambling with chips of say $5 – $100 in dollar. 100k chips are way abive that average offered by many casinos, but some, such as the Paris Las Vegas are clearly happy to accommodate high roller players.These chips are usually specifically restricted to those with $1,000,000 + credit limits. As I’m sure you can understand, due to the amount of money involved, these RFID chips have security featured such as a microchip to ensure their security and validity for use.

And if you’re wondering what kind of betting limits are in place at big casino such as Caesars Palace, we are told that $50,000 can be bet per Blackjack Hand. At Planet Hollywood’s baccarat tables though, the limit is $200,000. The mind boggles!

Matt Damon

In his first starring role since ‘Good Will Hunting’ in 1997, Matt Damon headed a gifted cast as gifted poker player Mike McDermott in the cult classic ‘Rounders’ – described by Elvis Mitchell, film critic at ‘The New York Times’, as ‘mischievously entertaining’ – in 1998. In so doing, he played a part in the poker ‘boom’ of the early- to mid-Noughties, insofar as several poker superstars, including Chris Moneymaker, who the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event in 2013 as an online qualifier, cite ‘Rounders’ as the inspiration for their early interest in the game.

Damon reportedly spent $25,000 on ‘researching’ his role in ‘Rounders’ and has since enjoyed playing in various poker tournaments, although with little financial success. Indeed, his live earnings amount to just $540, which he collected for finishing forty-fifth in the World Poker Tour (WPT) $250 No Limit Hold’em – Deepstack Bounty event at Foxwoods Resort and Casino in 2011. Described by ‘Poker Princess’ Molly Bloom as ‘modest’, ‘down-to-earth’ and ‘gracious’, Damon reportedly turned up just once for the exclusive, high-stakes poker games for which she was indicted in 2014.

Damon was criticised for his ‘acting’ in the 2009 WSOP Ante Up For Africa event in which, having made a speculative call with 10-6 offsuit from the small blind, he flopped a full house. After an initial tell-tale ‘jolt’, Damon tried to feign disinterest in the board and the action and, when opponent Scott Wilson, on a pair, bet $6,400 on the turn, seemingly agonised over the call. Rather than ‘pulling the trigger’, Damon checked again on the river but, unimpressed, Wilson simply checked, leaving the Hollywood star shaking his head at his missed opportunity.

Contemporary Casino

The contemporary casino is more than a gambling destination: it is a multifarious pleasure enclosure intended to satisfy every member of the family unit – Colson Whitehead

Kevin Pollak

California-born actor, comedian and impressionist Kevin Pollak is famous for his roles as Lieutenant Sam Weinberg in ‘A Few Good Men’, Todd Hockney in ‘The Usual Suspects’ and Philip Green in ‘Casino’, among others. However, in the world of poker, Pollak is best known for his deep run at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event in 2012 – his first ever appearance in the WSOP – when he exceeded even his own expectations by finishing 134th of 6,598 entrants and collecting $52,718 in prize money.

Indeed, the 2012 WSOP Main Event was also memorable for the bad beat Pollak suffered at the hands of Kirill Rabstov on day five of the tournament; both players went all-in pre-flop with pocket queens, but Rabstov hit a backdoor flush draw on the flop and hit his suit on the turn and the river, while Pollak watched, helplessly, hands on head. Far from discouraged, Pollak has since played regularly in the WSOP Main Event and, although he has yet to better his 2012 finish, in 2019 he broke off filming ‘The Marvelous [sic] Mrs. Maisel’ in Brooklyn, New York and took his seat at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas straight from the airport.

A lifelong poker player – or, at least, since the age of 10 or 11 – Pollak started playing more seriously at the Mirage and the Riviera in Las Vegas during filming of ‘Casino’ in 1994. He still plays, weekly, in a Hollywood home game that he has been running since 2010, in some smaller buy-in events in Los Angeles and in charity events.

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