As a younger man, watching poker on TV was a massively special event. Just a couple of years after the poker boom of 2006, I would sit up watching late-night poker, with highlights from various tournaments. These days, you're never far away from a TV with 400 channels - one of which MUST be poker - but then you needed to catch whatever was available. In those days, too, I would cheer on Teddy Sheringham who, as a recognisable face, famously played for Manchester United and, later, my beloved West Ham.
It motivated me to write about the famous faces I've seen over the years and here, in all its glory, is the ultimate list of poker playing celebrities in all their glory.
Perhaps it's the Man U connection, or perhaps it's as a result of his hat-trick last night, but one of the most famous faces to see at a poker table is Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese powerhouse signed to PokerStars last year and was soon followed by fellow superstars such as Neymar and Rafa Nadal. That added to an ever-growing roster of endorsements that was most recently bolstered by XTrade. The trading platform is the first of its kind to bring an international star such as Ronaldo on as its official ambassador, widening the potential for the future of such deals.
While little of the three-time Ballon d'Or winner has yet to be seen in the field of competitive play, many are hoping to see him set the tables alight at the WSOP this year.
While we're used to seeing Tobey Maguire's usual web-slinging skill in the Hollywood Spider-Man franchise, his prowess on the poker tables has been well documented. The actor was a regular at official World Series of Poker tournaments in the mid-noughties, but has, apparently, been sticking with high-stakes home games of late. However, his biggest recorded win still stands at an impressive $39,000.
Poker Princess Molly Bloom, who wrote about hosting some of the "Viper Room" poker games for A-listers, dubbed Maguire as "the best winner" and the "worst loser" after a series of $50,000 minimum buy-in cash games.
Ben Affleck, whose, frankly awesome, career has seen him star in Armageddon, Pearl Harbour and, more recently, Batman Vs Superman, is considered a strong amateur poker player. He has a single official win to his name, which came in the form of a $356,000 prize when he won a $10,000 California State Poker Championship in 2004.
Bloom also wrote about Affleck in her divisive memoirs but appears to have had much fonder memories of this actor than the previous one.
The tennis adonis is not only one of the most successful men behind a net of all time, he can also handle himself around a poker table. Having recently lost his sponsorship deal with PokerStars, Nadal came to prominence in poker when he won a charity tournament featuring the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Ronaldo (of Brazilian 90s fame). As a result, he donated $50,000 to his charity, the Rafa Nadal Foundation, which helps socially discriminated children.
He later rematched against Ronaldo to see which player could display the most poker knowledge over a 20-minute interval. Nadal, again, won and took home another lump sum for his charity.
You might be seeing something of a pattern here: the best sportsmen in their field are addicted to poker. And that's how it feels! Michael Phelps, who absolutely stormed almost every swimming event he took part in, too, is a regular cash and tournament player.
While his stats are not as impressive as others on this list, Phelps is known to be a backer of other players, in the hope of a fair return. The 18-time gold medal winner and Olympic record holder, however, was once thought to have struggled with a gambling problem, according to friends and family.Suggest a correction