Celebrities’ Favorite Casino Games

hot babe playing poker

The attraction of casino games is universal. Taking one’s place at the table provides a jolt of excitement; the games are fun to play, and the prospect of a big win is appealing to players of all levels.

For centuries, casinos have been popular destinations for celebrities and “regular” people alike. In the late 1800s it was not uncommon for tourists to go to the casino in the hope of spotting the “stars” of the time, which included authors like Dostoyevsky, musicians like Johann Strauss, and even the future King of England, who played under an assumed name and sometime in disguise. Business tycoons and European nobility often tested their luck at the various popular games of the time.

Today, casinos are still a favorite haunt of celebrities, but thanks to mass media and the internet, it is far easier for us to spot them.

Poker is one of the games that generates the most publicity for celebrity players. The popularity of the game, especially poker tournaments and the worldwide scope of tournament poker, means that you can see celebrities from a wide range of endeavors at the tables. The egalitarian nature of the game means that you could find yourself at the same table as Rafael Nadal, Scully Erna from Godsmack, Ray Romano, Miss Finland, soccer great Ronaldo, Olympian Michael Phelps, or Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander. The game has also been a long standing favorite of politicians and heads of state; Winston Churchill, Richard Nixon, Harry Truman and Barrack Obama are just a few that have enjoyed the game.

When compared to some of the other games available in the casino, poker is relatively slow, especially in tournament poker. The skill and discipline required to be successful means that a player will be directly involved in a relatively small number of hands. It is almost part of the DNA of a celebrity to be somewhat of a thrill seeker, which is one of the reasons you’ll find a number of celebrities at the other games.


We’ll get the most popular game at the casino out of the way first; the slots. Most celebrities find the solitary nature of playing the slots not to their liking. However, Baywatch star Pamela Anderson has often been seen playing the Playboy themed slot machine which featured her likeness at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas.


One casino game that ranks fairly low on the excitement scale is baccarat. The game moves fairly slowly and involves little decision making on the player’s part other than how to wager. However, baccarat is has a rich history of elegance and style. It was James Bond’s game of choice in the early movies and is the long standing game of choice of many high-rollers. Perhaps it was the elegance and sophistication of the game which led to it be the favorite game of singer Gladys Knight.


On the other end of the excitement spectrum is craps. Finding the craps table in any casino is easy; you just listen for the loudest area on the gaming floor. Craps is a true action game, with the shooters making about 150 rolls per hour. Coupled with the ability to often make more than 50 bets at any one time means that players (and the dealers) can be very busy at the table.

Actor Bruce Willis is famous for the amount of action he gives at the craps tables, as are basketball legends Michael Jordon and Charles Barkley. One somewhat surprising craps aficionado is Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain, although as his political fortunes rose, his time at the tables diminished.

craps table and dice adn chips


In terms of excitement and action, blackjack ranks pretty much in the middle of baccarat and craps. It is also one of the few table games where a player’s skill and actions have a direct impact on the game.
This is in part due to the effect each hand has on the subsequent hands. A deck rich in tens and face cards is beneficial to the player. When a player has a solid understanding of the rules and uses “basic strategy,” blackjack offers one of the lowest how edges in the casino.

The combination of skill and strategy has made blackjack one of the most popular table games in a casino, for celebrities and non-celebrities alike. This popularity has given rise to some of the more iconic celebrity casino stories.

Although he is not a household name, Charles King is an entertainment icon. King World Syndication was responsible for some of the most popular shows on television including The Oprah Winfrey Show, CSI, America’s Next Top Model, The Roseanne Show, Wheel of Fortune, and Jeopardy. King was a high stakes blackjack player. During one industry convention in Las Vegas, King was playing blackjack and ordered a drink from the cocktail waitress, which was a soda. When she returned, he gave her a $500 chip as a tip. When she told him she didn’t have any change, he told her “That is change” and to keep it.

Tiger Woods is one of the biggest of the blackjack high rollers. When he first started to do well on the PGA circuit he regularly frequented the $100 blackjack tables. As his fame and wealth increased, so did his betting limits. At the peak of his career, he was most often found at the MGM where he would play blackjack for a minimum of $25,000 per hand.

Woods’ love of blackjack is shared by fellow golfer John Daly, who has often talked about how much he enjoys the game and was a frequent guest of some of the world’s most luxurious casinos. It was not unusual to find Daly playing all seven spots available at a high stakes table, which guaranteed him the most action possible. Daly summed up the attitude of most celebrity players when he said in an interview, “It was more about the adrenaline than the money … I loved the action.”

Actor George Clooney has spent a great deal of time in and around casinos, especially during the course of filming Ocean’s 11 and its sequels. While he doesn’t have the high roller reputation as some of his Hollywood peers, Clooney has been seen at the blackjack tables from time to time. Once during filming, he borrowed $600 from Matt Damon to take a seat at the blackjack table. According to reports at the time, for once in his life, luck wasn’t on Clooney’s side as he lost 25 hands in a row, which is practically unheard of in blackjack. Clooney decided to leave the table and try his luck at a later date.

Of all of the celebrity blackjack players, Ben Affleck stands out. While Affleck has had considerable success in poker tournaments, his high roller persona comes out in the blackjack pits. He regularly played at the private high stakes room at The Palms and the high limit area at the Hard Rock.
Affleck’s blackjack wins have totaled more than $1 million. The actor, who has an estimated net worth of more than $750 million, says that he has studied the game and enjoys playing. Evidently it is not for the winnings; after one session where he won $140,000, he gave away every chip in tips. to the dealers, wait staff and doormen – up to $5,000 each.