We are smack in the middle of the WSOP this week. What better time to talk about our favorite celebrities who play poker? These are not the poker players who have become celebrities that we discussed a few months ago, but rather those players we hear about due to their celebrity status who happen to play poker. I’m talking about the Ben Afflecks, Kevin Harts, and Aaron Pauls of the poker scene.

Below I present my five favorites. Who are yours?

  • Gabe Kaplan, Mr. Kotter himself, loved poker so much that he became a commentator, and even hosted “High Stakes Poker” on GSN. He’s also a pretty darn good player in his own right with eleven WSOP cashes, among other things. His poker talent and knowledge, combined with  his stand up comedy skills make him a favorite celeb to follow.
  • Kevin Pollak makes the list if only for the spectacular fashion in which he went out of the 2012 WSOP Main Event as “Last Celebrity Standing” at 154th. His deep run was abruptly stopped when his pocket Queens ran into pocket Queens….and the other guy four flushed. Now that’s a bad beat story for the ages.
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  • I’ve got to add Brad Garrett to the list for being the most visible, and loud, celebrity poker player who doesn’t seem to do so well at tournament poker. Although his rather thin Hendon Mob page does indicate that he came in 2,227th at this year’s WSOP Colossus III.
  • My favorite athlete turned poker player would have to be Paul Pierce, who made it all the way to Day 3 in the 2014 WSOP Main Event. His enthusiasm for the game is infectious. Of course, I may be a bit biased due to the fact that Paul is a longtime Boston Celtic (I know he’s not in Boston any more, doesn’t make him any less of a Celtic) who regularly used to hit up one of my favorite haunts, Foxwoods, for some high stakes cash action.
  • Jennifer Tilly, of course, has become a professional poker player in her own right. Her Hendon Mob Profile says it all. From her 52 cashes to her live earnings of almost a million dollars. But let’s not forget, we all know Jennifer first from her performances in such movies as Bound, Monsters Inc., and the Bride of Chucky franchise. Tilly was an actress long before she was a consummate pro.  Her unique combination of intelligence, humor, and sex appeal make her fun to watch whenever she’s at the table.

So those are my five favorites. Who are yours?

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