Celebrity gambling disasters in Vegas
Image by Kaloozer
Las Vegas is a place where it’s easy to lose control – especially if you’re a celeb with more money than you know what to do with! Sin City has always had its fair share of celeb visitors, who are there to have fun just like everyone else, but somehow their big losses get more attention than an average Vegas gambler’s.
Last year, boy band One Direction lost the plot completely in Vegas, and received a dressing down from their management team the next day after they’d lost a considerable amount of money. We never found out exactly how much, only that it was ‘a lot’. One of the boys, Niall, told We Love Pop magazine that it had seemed a good idea at the time, but then it all got ‘a bit ugly’.
The One Direction boys aren’t the first celebs to lose money gambling, of course. Basketball player Michael Jordan has allegedly lost millions playing craps and poker, as well as on unlucky sports bets, including bets on his own golfing ability! And Senator John McCain had to be hauled away from lengthy gambling binges at the craps tables, even when he was in the middle of his campaign for Presidency.
Of course, there’s a way around the public humiliation of losing big bets at the gaming tables for celebs. They could always choose to do what millions of other people do and play their favourite games online. Slots and blackjack are two games that claimed a few celebrity scalps and some gamers argue that online casinos market these games more ardently than others. If they liked variety in their gaming, a celebrity could spend hours playing online. Looking at the diversity of slots action at bgo for instance makes it clear why celebrities and ordinary gamers are attracted to the online casino entertainment. They could play as much as they wanted and their anonymity would be guaranteed behind whatever user name they opted to have. But then there wouldn’t be half as much fodder for the celeb mags, would there?
But even though they could lose online without it being talked about, celebrities would have no less protection from the kind of online meltdowns that some people suffer when playing online. Charlie Sheen’s ex-wife, Denise Richards, claimed during their divorce hearing that he lost about $200,000 a week on gambling, much of that being spent on online casino games and sports bets. It’s not just celebs who get their fingers burnt though. Englishman Graham Calvert placed the biggest online bet in golf history at the time on the Ryder Cup in 2006. Graham bet £347,000 on America to win the Ryder Cup and would have won £753,000 if America had been successful. However, the bet was lost. Calvert actually sued William Hill for negligence as he had closed his account a few months earlier as he had recognised his betting had got out of control. However the system allowed him to open another account in his name and that’s how he placed his fateful Ryder Cup bet.
Another celeb who got a reputation as a gambling addict is singer Gladys Knight who was gambling $40,000 a night on baccarat at one stage. She did manage to kick the habit eventually though.
And Friends star Matthew Perry has had his fair share of bad press about his gambling (and other) habits, so apparently he’s switched to gambling online more than at land-based casinos. But he also sometimes plays at the Bellagio, reportedly having pre-arranged to be seated in private areas, and use back entrances to avoid the glare of the public eye while he’s there.
Some celebs do seem to be genuinely gifted poker players and two of them are actors Ben Affleck and Jennifer Tilly. Affleck first demonstrated his poker skills at a California State Poker Championship in 2004, beating a field of 90 other players. He’s since been a regular at WSOP main events. He’s also been seen placing huge bets at the blackjack table, and reportedly left the blackjack table with an $800,000 profit one night.
Jennifer Tilly was the first non-poker celeb to win a WSOP bracelet in the Ladies’ No-Limit Texas Hold’em event in 2005 and has been a regular participant in TV poker shows. She dated poker pro Phil Laak and he was her personal poker tutor for a while, which probably did help her to raise her game!
But for those celebs who just don’t seem to have luck on their side, playing online would seem a great way forward if they want to keep their losses at craps, poker or blackjack quiet.