Retired striker Edward ‘Teddy’ Sheringham enjoyed an illustrious career with six different football clubs, including Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, and with the English national team. However, some years before he finally retired as a player in 2008, at the age of 42, Sheringham had started playing live tournament poker. He made his debut in that sphere on home soil in 2005, finishing second at the Fahrenheit Festival in Southend-on-Sea, Essex and third in the 888.com Pacific Poker Open in Maidstone, Kent, for cashes of $7,230 and $20,000, respectively.
Other major cashes over the years have also included $66,738 for a fourteenth-place finish in the World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) Main Event at the Empire Casino in London in 2009 and $28,530 for finishing 388th in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas in 2012. However, Sheringham enjoyed his biggest payout, so far, in between times; he reached the final table, which also included the likes of WSOP Main Event winner Martin Jacobson, in the the European Poker Tour (EPT) Main Event at Casino Vilamoura in Portugal in 2010, eventually finishing fifth and collecting $118,346.
All told, Sheringham has nearly $330,000 in live earnings to his name. He has been less active on the poker circuit in and around London, and elsewhere, in recent tears, but remains one of the few celebrities who have translated love of the game into real, tangible results against some of the best players in the world.
Actor and comedian Jason Alexander, born Jason Greenspan, is best known for his portrayal of the iconic George Constanza in the popular NBC situation comedy ‘Seinfeld’ in the Nineties. However, New Jersey-born Alexander is a passionate poker player and is, in fact, a veteran of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, having made his first appearance at the Rio All-Suite Casino and Hotel in 2007.
He has yet to record a high finish at the WSOP Main Event but, by his own admission, plays competitive poker mainly ‘to have a great time’. Nevertheless, Alexander has nearly $30,000 in live earnings to his name, with his best live cash, nearly $17,000, coming in the WSOP $350 No Limit Hold’em event at Harrah’s Atlantic City Casino, in which he finished fifth of the 1,250 entrants, in 2010.
Alexander starting playing poker in college, but took more serious interest when televised celebrity poker became en vogue in the late Nineties and early Noughties. He freely admitted that a tutorial with 15-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Phil ‘Poker Brat’ Hellmuth – with whom he shared a publicist at the time – ‘scared the living bejeezus’ out of him. Nevertheless, the tutelage eventually paid dividends, to the tune of $500,000 for his chosen charity, The United Way of America, when he launched a dramatic comeback won the final of ‘Celebrity Poker Showdown’, televised on the Bravo cable network, in 2006.
I was at this casino minding my own business, and this guy came up to me and said, ‘You’re gonna have to move, you’re blocking a fire exit.’ As though if there was a fire, I wasn’t gonna run. If you’re flammible and have legs, you are never blocking a fire exit – Mitch Hedberg
As we see here from this photograph of Marilyn Monroe, there is a glamour and iconic aspect to casinos that goes back decades. From the likes of Frank Sinatra in the 60s to the likes of Matt Damon today, there is a draw, appeal and intertwining of these two worlds. Poker tournaments featuring celebrity figures are fascinating in their own right, and even the pure ‘splash the cash’ celebrities like Flloyd Mayweather, buy in to the tradition and image that being a high roller offers.