1. Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck has been on our screens since the age of just 12 years old – and in the years since, has become one of Hollywood’s most prolific film stars. Much of his success can be linked to his casting in Good Will Hunting – alongside Robin Williams and Ben’s childhood friend Matt Damon – a film that won a string of awards, and pushed both Affleck and Damon firmly into the limelight.
These days Affleck isn’t just an actor – he’s also a screenwriter, a director, and a producer. He even had the unusual experience of ‘directing’ himself in 2013’s Argo – a film that won three Oscars, two Golden Globes, and three Bafta Awards. Argo is a comedy about a covert CIA operation to rescue US citizens from Iran. That operation takes the guise of a film shoot. In the film, Affleck plays Tony Mendez – an extractor pretending to be a Hollywood Producer. Real Director and pretend Producer all in one film – must have been pretty confusing.
But Ben Affleck is notoriously sharp – and his exploits in the casino prove that he’s got the ability to keep his mind across an incredible amount of information at any one time because in 2014 he was banned from every single Las Vegas casino (does he know about online casinos, that listed on newslotgames.net, for example?), after getting caught out counting cards.
According to one Newspaper, Affleck was dismissive of the incident and critical of the casino’s response: “I took some time to learn the game and become a decent blackjack player. And once I became decent, the casinos asked me not to play blackjack… the fact that being good at the game is against the rules at a casino should tell you something about it.”
Counting cards isn’t illegal, but all casinos reserve the right to ban any player from any game – and are notorious for invoking this right when a player is doing well. Coverage at the time suggested Affleck had been kicked out of the casino – in actual fact, the staff had tried to guide him towards a game in which his ability to count cards wouldn’t have made a difference: “We can’t let you play blackjack – but we have Chinese poker?”, the casino’s manager had reportedly said.
In the 2013 movie ‘Runner Runner’, Affleck plays Ivan Block – an Online Poker player who cheats Justin Timberlake’s character Richie Furst out of the money he was planning to spend on his tuition. If the casino staff in Vegas had seen that film, it was probably only a matter of time before one of them ended up catching Affleck out.
2. Tiger Woods
Born in California in 1975, Eldrick Tont Woods was nicknamed ‘Tiger’ by his US Army Officer father – who gave him the moniker in honor of one of his own fallen comrades.
His father was also the man who taught him to play golf – and by the age of 8, Tiger was so good he was appearing on national TV demonstrating his skills.
After winning a string of amateur titles, Woods turned pro in 1996, and the very next year at the age of just 21 he won the US Masters. Not only was he the youngest player to ever win that title, but he was also the first African-American – and his score of 270 was the highest ever.
This trio of records made headlines around the world – and in the years to follow he won three PGA titles, he won the US Open three times, and took the US Masters title three more times too.
In 2004 Tiger married his girlfriend of many years, Swedish model Elin Nordegren. In 2007 she gave birth to their first child. That same year he won both the PGA title and the World Golf Championships.
In 2009, reports emerged suggesting that Tiger Woods had cheated on his wife with the manager of a Vegas nightclub. Tiger and the woman both denied the claims – but photos soon emerged to back up the story. In November that year neighbors reported a disturbance in front of the Woods’ house – with press reports suggesting Elin had smashed the rear window of Tiger’s car with a golf club. There was no comment from Woods himself.
As the story rumbled on, more and more apparent mistresses came out of the woodwork – with evidence suggesting that Woods had cheated on his wife with as many as 12 women. Elin was soon seen back in Sweden, where it is believed she bought herself a new home for herself and her sister. She was no longer wearing her wedding ring.
Las Vegas Addict
Many of the women claiming to have had relations with Tiger had one thing in common – they claimed he’d met them in Las Vegas.
Known for his love of gambling, Woods started playing blackjack in his early 20s. Back then he was playing at the $100 tables, but these days he’s more likely to be found among the high rollers.
The Tiger Woods foundation also runs ‘Tiger Jam’ – a yearly celebrity poker tournament that raises money for good causes. At the most recent event, Tiger wiped Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban out. But at least it was all for charity.
Tiger and Elin have now divorced – and Woods has since dated a number of other women. He briefly managed to get his golf game back on track too – winning five tournaments in his 2013 season, although poker-winnings aside, his performance in 2015 has been notably poor.
3. Michael Phelps
There is no man or woman on this earth who has won more Olympic medals than Michael Phelps – the superhuman swimmer with no fewer than 22 medals (18 of them gold) to his name.
Growing up in Maryland, sport and discipline were already in his blood – with a father who had been both a college football player and a state trooper, and a middle school principal for a mother.
Phelps was only 7 years old when he first took up swimming – and by the age of 10 was already the best in the country for his grade. In 2000, at the age of just 15, he qualified for the summer Olympics – becoming the youngest member of the US Swim Team in almost 70 years.
He didn’t win a medal that year – but came back with a vengeance in 2004, picking up 6 gold and 2 bronze medals. In 2008, he again won 8 medals – this time, all of their gold. And most recently in London 2012, he took home 4 gold and 2 silver medals.
To say that Michael Phelps is obsessive is an understatement – he was born with a definite advantage, but he’s a man who trains to the point of perfection. And that obsession can also be seen when it comes to the way he plays poker.
Back in 2012 a close friend of Phelps’ told The National Enquirer that they were worried about his casino habit – because he was applying the ‘don’t quit until you win’ mentality that has stood him in such good stead in the pool, to his gambling.
It was online poker that first reeled him in – starting with low-stakes games, Phelps gradually got into bigger and bigger money. According to the friend, back in 2012, he played a weekly game with a minimum buy-in of $25,000 – and they were worried. More recently, Phelps tweeted a picture of a poker table with chips worth $3.6million in play – so it appears the stakes have risen.
In 2014 it was reported that Phelps had been arrested in Baltimore on suspicion of driving under the influence – after what sources claimed was an eight-hour “gambling binge” in the VIP room at the Horseshoe Casino. He was way over the legal drink-drive limit, and after the incident tweeted “I know these words may not mean much right now but I am deeply sorry to everyone I have let down”.
With the 2016 Olympics just around the corner, let’s hope that Michael Phelps starts to focus on his swimming, and leaves the rest of us to gamble on him. If he does, it’s a safe bet that he’ll be bringing home even more gold medals next year.