Neymar

Superstar striker Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, usually known simply as Neymar, joined French champions Paris Saint-German from Barcelona for a world record transfer fee of €222 million in 2017. The move did not work out as envisaged, for either party, but the Brazilian – who has scored more goals for his country than anyone bar Pele or Ronaldo – remains one of the most exciting footballing talents on the planet.

Still only 27, Neymar has just over $21,000 in live earnings as a poker player, all of which he collected when finishing sixth of 288 entrants in the R$7,000 No Limit Hold’em – High Rollers event in the Brazilian Series of Poker (BSOP) in Sao Paulo in 2018. However, according to his friend, and coach, Andre Akkari – a World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner in 2011 – Neymar is intent on becoming a professional poker player at the end of his football career and plays studiously, even in the private games he hosts at home.

Neymar made his PokerStars debut in the at the European Poker Tour (EPT) $25,000 High Roller event at Casino Barcelona, playing alongside then teammate Gerard Pique, in 2012. He officially joined Team PokerStars in 2015, appearing alongside Christiano Ronaldo in a series of television advertisements, but left in 2017 when PokerStars retired their entire roster of brand ambassadors. He also appeared in the WSOP in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, famously winning a seat at the WSOP Main Event in 2016.

What Happens In Vegas

I go to Vegas now, and I’m in the casino, and I’m gambling, and there’s a guy in a wet bathing suit gambling right next to me – Sebastian Maniscalco

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.

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