Over the last decade, many celebrities took to the felt to try their luck at the poker tables. Some of them only visit certain tournaments and don’t play all that much while others are die-hard poker fans, attending the WSOP every year and playing in tournaments all over the world.
Some of the biggest names to grace the poker tables include Tobey Maguire, Michael Phelps and Ben Affleck. Matt Damon, who has been spotted in many tournaments, is rumored to have lost over $25,000 at the WSOP while doing research for his role of Mike McDermott in the 1998 hit, “Rounders.”
Some of the regulars you can catch at the WSOP every year include household names like Kevin Pollak, Ray Romano, Jason Alexander, James Woods and many more.
However, at the end of the day, poker is not just about showing up, it’s about winning. With that in mind, here are the Top 10 Biggest Tournament Scores by Celebrities.
10. Sam Simon
Samuel Michael “Sam” Simon is an American director, producer, writer, boxing manager and philanthropist. Simon wrote and produced for TV series like, “Cheers,” and, “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show.”
While Simon has won nine primetime Emmy Awards for his television work, he is probably best known for the development of “The Simpsons” with Matt Groening and James L. Brooks in 1989. Simon assembled the show’s first writing team and co-wrote eight episodes.
Simon is a regular poker player and even though he does not have any major results to his name, he does have six cashes at the World Series of Poker. As for Sam’s biggest score, that came in 2010 at the Winnin’ o’ The Green Series Los Angeles. Sam took down the $200 No Limit Hold’em event for $57,308. His total live tournament winnings amount to $358,655.
9. Gerard Piqué
Gerard Piqué is a Spanish professional soccer player who currently plays for FC Barcelona. He is also in a relationship with pop-star, Shakira. His soccer career initially took off in Manchester United, where he played for four years before coming back to play for Barcelona. Since 2008, he has helped Barcelona become the first club to ever complete a Sextuple by winning six top-tier trophies in a single season. Piqué is also one of four players to have won the UEFA Champions League two years in a row with different teams.
Alongside great success on the soccer pitch, Gerard also enjoyed some of it at the poker tables. In September 2013, he finished 19th in the EPT Barcelona €10,000 High Roller Re-Entry Tournament, cashing for $28,292. His largest cash also came at one of the EPT Barcelona events in 2011, where he finished 3rd in a €5,000 No Limit Hold’em – Six Max Turbo tournament, winning $58,996. His total live tournament earnings amount to $87,288.
8. Mars Callahan
Mars Callahan is an American actor, director, producer and writer, perhaps best known for the film, “Poolhall Junkies,” for which he served as director, actor and screenwriter. In 2007 he gave an interview in which he revealed that he had a tumor in his right kidney. He later had his right kidney removed and has been in and out of a wheelchair for years. Nonetheless, he survived the ordeal.
While Mars is not a regular guest at the poker tables, he does occasionally play tournaments and recorded a memorable run in the 2011 WSOP Main Event where he finished 94th, earning $64,531. Up to this day, that remains his only live tournament cash.
7. Audley Harrison
Audley Harrison, a professional boxer from England, became the first British fighter to win an Olympic gold medal in the superheavyweight division at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Audley is a regular poker player. In fact, poker has played a critical role in his life.
At one point, Audley had just suffered his fourth defeat in eight fights and was looking at what might have been the end of his boxing career. During that time, he registered in a poker tournament in Vegas and by chance, got drawn to the same table as boxing promoter, Eddie Hearn. Hearn offered him the chance to take part in his Prizefighter Tournament which he went on to win, propelling himself toward a world title fight with David Haye. In 2013, at the age of 41, he retired from boxing.
With 17 recorded live tournament cashes, two of them stand out in particular. In 2007, Audley finished in 2nd place in a $2,500 Bellagio Cup III No Limit Hold’em tournament, winning $76,895. In 2010, he took 3rd place in the Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza III $2,000 No Limit Hold’em tournament which was worth $90,298. With total live tournament earnings of $230,304, Audley is definitely one of the biggest celebrity poker fans out there.
6. Shannon Elizabeth
Shannon Elizabeth is an American actress and former fashion model. Elizabeth is best known for her roles in comedies like “American Pie”, “Scary Movie” and “Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back.” Shannon has played a lot of poker over the last decade, recording 14 live tournament cashes.
One of her biggest cashes came at the 2010 WSOP when she finished 2nd in the $5,000 Ante Up For Africa Charity Event, taking home $79,776. Her biggest cash came in 2007 when she participated in the 2007 $25,000 No Limit Hold’em NBC National Heads-Up Championship. Defeating René Angélil, Jeff Madsen, Barry Greenstein and Humberto Brenes, Shannon made it all the way to the semi-finals where she was one card away from eliminating Paul Wasica. Unfortunately, Paul eventually eliminated her in 3rd place, but she still collected $125,000 for her performance.
5. Teddy Sheringham
Edward Paul “Teddy” Sheringham is a former English soccer player and current attacking coach at West Ham United. Sheringham’s professional career lasted a remarkable 24 years. Sheringham began his career at Millwall and later mover to Tottenham Hotspur. After five seasons at Spurs, Sheringham joined Manchester United where he won three Premier League titles, one FA Cup and the Champions League. Sheringham also holds the record for being the oldest player to appear in a Premier League match and the oldest player to score in a Premier League match, scoring his last goal at 40 years and 268 days old.
Teddy is also known as a devoted poker player with 20 recorded live tournament cashes. In 2012, Sheringham finished 388th in the WSOP Main Event, earning $28,530 and in 2009, he came close to final tabling the WSOPE Main Event, finishing in 14th place for $66,738. His biggest cash came in 2010, when he final tabled the Main Event of EPT Vilamoura, finishing 5th for $118,347. His total live earnings stand at $329,477.
4. Jennifer Tilly
Jennifer Tilly is a Canadian-American actress, Academy Award nominee and a poker player. Tilly burst onto the Hollywood scene in the movie, “The Fabulous Baker Boys.” She was later nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Woody Allen’s “Bullets Over Broadway”. She is also a cast member on Family Guy, voicing Bonnie Swanson.
Jennifer Tilly is one of the most successful celebrity poker players with 53 live tournament cashes, seven of which were first place finishes. Two of her largest cashes came in 2013, when she finished 7th in the PartyPoker.com Premier League Poker VI for $98,000 and in 2010, when she won the $5,000 buy-in Bellagio Cup VI for $124,455. Her biggest score, which also brought her a WSOP bracelet, came in 2005 when she won the Ladies Only No Limit Hold’em Event for $158,335. Jennifer’s live tournament earnings now total $891,254.
3. Sully Erna
Salvatore Paul “Sully” Erna is an American vocalist and primary songwriter for Godsmack. Sully is perhaps the only celebrity that got himself a tattoo because of poker. While playing a $5/$10 cash game at the Bellagio, Sully got involved in a pot where he flopped quad aces and got his opponent to move all-in on the turn. His opponent rivered a royal flush after which Sully stood up and said, “There’s no justice in poker!” After that, Sully headed down to a tattoo parlor where he tattooed four aces going up in flames across his entire back with a sign below which reads: “No Justice.”
As for Sully’s tournament success, he only has three recorded cashes, two of which came in the 2006 and 2007 WSOP Main Events. In 2006 he finished 713th, cashing for $17,730 and in 2007 he ran even deeper, finishing 237th for $45,422. His biggest cash by far came later in 2007, when he finished 2nd in the $5,000 Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $307,325.
2. Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck is an American actor, film director, screenwriter and producer. His early successful performances include “Dazed and Confused”, “Chasing Amy” and “Dogma”. Affleck also gained recognition as a writer when he won the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for best original screenplay for the film, “Good Will Hunting”. Perhaps his most anticipated performance will come in 2016, when he will star as Batman in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”.
While Affleck doesn’t seem to be much of a poker enthusiast, having only one recorded tournament cash, he made it count by winning the $10,000 buy-in California State Poker Championship in 2004 for $356,400. Even if Ben Affleck doesn’t like poker all that much, he is apparently very good at BlackJack as he has been banned for life from the blackjack tables at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas for counting cards. However, Hard Rock officials allow Affleck to play other games in the casino.
1. Rick Salomon
Richard Allan “Rick” Salomon is perhaps mostly known for his relationships with various female celebrities like E.G. Daily, Shannen Doherty, Paris Hilton and Pamela Anderson. In 2003, a sex tape featuring Salomon and Paris Hilton was leaked which accounts for much of his fame. In September of 2007, Salomon and Pamela Anderson got married in Las Vegas and just five months later, Anderson filed to end the marriage because of fraud. While the marriage was annulled in March of 2008, the couple later remarried in 2014.
Rick is a well-known poker player, with 10 recorded live tournament cashes, including a deep run in the 2006 WSOP Main Event where he finished 196th for $42,882 and a win in the $1,000 Bellagio Cup II in 2006 for $125,715. His biggest score, which is also the biggest score by any celebrity by a large margin, came in this year’s WSOP Big One for One Drop. Rick actually went to the final table as the chip leader, but the tough table proved to be too much for him to take it down. He eventually finished 4th for $2,800,000 which bumped his total tournament earnings to $3,087,077.
Unfortunately for him, Pamela Anderson filed for divorce again just two days after his huge score. If the divorce goes through and it turns out that no prenup was signed, Rick’s score might be cut down to only $1,400,000.