Top 5 Celebrity Poker Players

Masters of Poker: Famous Poker-Playing Personalities You Didn’t Know About

The world of poker is a diverse one and often, players of different backgrounds come to play. And so it wouldn’t be surprising if you find celebrities channeling their acting skills by wearing their poker faces and showing their bluffing skills at poker tournaments. Here are just five of these celebrities who are also experts in the tactical card game:

Gabe Kaplan

Gabe Kaplan


Gabe Kaplan
An actor comedian, a poker commentator, and a poker pro, the 68-year old is what you call an ace in the competitive entertainment industry. With more than $1.3 million in tournament winnings, Kaplan is widely regarded as the most successful poker playing celebrity of all time. In fact, Kaplan is considered the Phil Ivey of celebrity poker players. Today, the former Welcome Back, Kotter star remains a regular at poker tournaments.

Jennifer Tilly

Jennifer Tilly


Jennifer Tilly
The poker world is a male dominated sport, but that doesn’t mean women aren’t competitive enough to play. In fact, the industry is full of today’s gorgeous poker players. Take for example Poker Night Live host Kara Scott or Betfair’s lovely top 11 WSOP finisher last 2012, Elisabeth Hille. But for celebrity actresses, no other woman could match Phil Laak’s girlfriend, Jennifer Tilly. The actress boasts of a WSOP bracelet and a win at the WPT Ladies Night III.

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps


Michael Phelps
The world of sports may be full of poker loving players, but no one could measure up to Olympic legend Michael Phelps. The celebrated swimmer recently joined the WSOP this May and although he failed to bag the gold in the mind sport, Phelps says he did it for fun. Phelps was reportedly a fan of online poker.

Tobey Maquire

Tobey Maquire


Tobey Maguire
Talk about poker super heroes and one hero comes to mind—Spiderman. The former actor of the web-slinging protagonist, Tobey Maguire is known as a card shark at poker tournaments. Poker pro Phil Hellmuth even claims that Maguire has won more than $10 million in a celebrity invitational event. Like his big screen counterpart, Maguire does have a “spider sense”, in poker.

Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck


Ben Affleck
The controversial Batman-to-be actor, Ben Affleck, is a regular at poker tournaments. He won the 2004 California State Poker Championship and remains a poker fanatic to date. Affleck is tutored by top poker pros Annie Duke and Amir Vahedi. Protection Status

Raider Todd Christensen dead at 57

Todd Christensen during his BYU days Twitter: BYU

Todd Christensen during his BYU days
Twitter: BYU

ALPINE, UTAH – The Raider Nation is mourning the loss of five-time pro-bowler Todd Christensen who died Wednesday morning of complications following surgery. He was 57.

Christensen died this morning at Intermountain Medical Center, this according to his son Toby Christensen. He had been battling liver disease in recent years.

Christensen’s 12 year career in the NFL was spent mostly with the Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders. He recorded 461 receptions and 41 touchdowns during his stellar career, and helped lead the Raiders to two Super Bowl championships in the ‘80s.

Christensen retired in 1987 and started working as an NFL analyst for NBC. According to BYU’s website, the football great was inducted into the BYU Hall of Fame and the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.

BYU posted on twitter, “Former #BYU TE Todd Christensen passed away this morning due to complications from surgery. Our love & prayers are w/the Christensen family.”

Sheryl Crow witnessed Lance Armstrong doping

Lance Armstrong Photo: Randy Miramontez

Lance Armstrong
Photo: Randy Miramontez

According to a new book due out next Tuesday, singer Sheryl Crow witnessed a blood transfusion during a trip to Belgium in Armstrong’s private jet.

The book, “”Wheelmen: Lance Armstrong, the Tour de France and the Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever,”  is from Wall Street Journal reporters Reed Albergotti and Vanessa O’Connell.

Read: Armstrong confesses to Oprah

“Rather than try to hide the transfusion from her, Armstrong was completely open about it,” the authors write. “He trusted that Crow would have no desire to tell the press or anyone else about the team’s doping program. He explained that it was simply part of the sport – that all cyclists were doing the same thing.”

At the time, Armstrong had just left his wife Kristen after his romance with Crow became public. In 2006 Crow and Armstrong were briefly engaged.

Five years after Crow’s relationship ended with Armstrong, federal investigators came knocking on her door asking questions around Armstrong’s doping ways. Crow spoke to investigators in late 2011.

According to the book, Crow spoke to investigators about Armstrong after Food and Drug Administration criminal investigator, Jeff Novitzky, gave her an agreement protecting her from criminal prosecution if she cooperated with the investigation.

“Wheelman” tells of how Armstrong’s closest friends and supporters helped perpetuate his deceptions.

Armstrong had long denied charges that he doped, but earlier this year that all changed after the cyclist agreed to an interview with Oprah Winfrey where he readily admitted to doping.

After Armstrong’s interview with Winfrey, the International Olympic Committee stripped him of the bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Games. Armstrong was also stripped of the seven Tour de France titles he won from 1999-2005.

Several weeks ago, the U.S. Olympic Committee received the bronze medal from Armstrong, after months of delays.

“Yes, we have it,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams told The Associated Press. “It is in the vaults.” The return of the medal marks “the end of a sad chapter for the sport,” Adams said.

The Justice Department is currently suing Armstrong and several members of the U.S. Postal Service team. The lawsuit cites the False Claims Act in an effort to retrieve the tens of millions the U.S. Postal Service paid to Armstrong and team members.

Blood transfusions allow athletes to increase the number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells without using drugs. Armstrong was using transfusions in conjunction with a number of banned substances throughout his career.


Former boxing heavyweight champion dead at 44

tommy-morrisonOMAHA, NB – Former heavyweight champion Tommy Morrison died on Sunday at a Nebraska hospital. He was 44.

Longtime promoter Tony Holden made the announcement. The family has not disclosed the cause of death.

Morrison beat George Foreman in 1993 to win the WBO heavyweight title, later losing to Michael Bentt. Morrison went on to fight Lennox Lewis a couple of years later, which resulted in Morrison getting knocked out in the sixth round in Atlantic City, N.J.

Morrison, who was nicknamed “The Duke,” had a full career, but never quite was able to reach the status of a super fighter like Evander Holyfield or Mike Tyson.

Morrison also made it into the movies when he landed himself a roll alongside Sylvester Stallone in the movie “Rocky V.”

Overshadowing Morrison’s fighting career were numerous legal issues and his testing positive for HIV. However, Morrison would later claim the test was false. He spent time in prison over weapons charges and drunk driving.

“If Tommy was fighting today, he no doubt would be a world champion,” Holden said. “You have to look at who he was fighting in the ’90s, the guys in that division were Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Riddick Bowe, Ray Mercer, George Foreman. There’s no one with that talent today. Tommy would absolutely dominate if he were in his prime boxing today.”

Reaching the height of his career in 1993, Morrison won a unanimous decision over George Foreman. However, Morrison would never hit a potential $7.5 million payday going up against Lewis, after Morrison was upset by Bentt in Tulsa, Okla. He was knocked down several times and the fight was called before the first round ended.

When Morrison’s blood test came back positive for HIV, the Nevada licensing board immediately suspended his license.

In 2002, after serving a two year prison term, Morrison said his HIV tests were a result of false positives. He went on to pass medical tests in Arizona and, despite the Nevada board sticking by their decision, he went on to fight two more bouts.

He finished his career with a 48-3-1 record which included 42 knockouts.

Tony Stewart undergoes surgery after sprint car crash

134_0501_tonyw_1_zOSKALOOSA, IA – NASCAR Champion Tony Stewart undergoes surgery after his sprint car crashed Monday night.

According to a spokesman for Stewart, the 3-time NASCAR Champion will miss this weekend’s road course race at Watkins Glen.

The 42-year-old driver broke his right tibia and fibula, undergoing  surgery after being transported to a local hospital. An update was expected Tuesday afternoon, and so far Stewart-Haas Racing has not announced a replacement driver for the No. 14 car at Watkins Glen.

Stewart was leading the 30-lap feature in a 360 winged sprint car with five laps remaining when a car spun in Turn 4 causing a chain-reaction crash that included Stewart.

The winner Brian Brown told The Des Moines Register that he saw the accident in front of him, turned left, hit an infield tire and kept going.

“It looked like he got into a lapped car,” Brown told the Register. “When I got close, he was flipping cage down. I didn’t really have time to watch and see what was going on.

On Sunday Stewart finished ninth in the NASCAR race at Pocono Raceway. He’s currently 11th in the Sprint Cup standings with five races to go until the Chase for the Cup field is set. Missing the Watkins Glen race will more than likely mean that Stewart will miss the Chase.

Official Statement:

“KANNAPOLIS, N.C., (Aug. 6, 2013) – Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, sustained a broken right tibia and fibula in a Sprint Car crash Monday night at Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa.

Stewart was transported to a local hospital immediately following the accident and underwent surgery. An injury update will be provided later this afternoon.

A scheduled test for today at Atlanta Motor Speedway has been canceled. A replacement driver for this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International has not been determined. Information regarding the No. 14 team’s driver status at Watkins Glen will be provided once it is known.”

Soccer star Christian Benitez dead at 27

Promo photo

Promo photo

DOHAR, QATAR –Christian Benitez, Ecuador’s top scorer from last year died suddenly on Monday at the age of 27.

The striker popularly known as ‘Chucho’ died in the Qatari capital Doha, only a day after his first game for El Jaish.

Benitez was considered an important component of Ecuadorian side bidding to reach next year’s finals in Brazil.

He was ranked the third highest scorer for Ecuador’s national team, with 24 international goals.

Benitez’s agent, Jose Chamorro, told an Ecuadorian television station that Benitez had suffered a heart attack and later died at the hospital. He was rushed to the hospital after complaining of abdominal pains.

Ecuador’s interior minister Jose Serrano tweeted, “Dear Chucho, thank you for your goals and your happiness.”

Sunderland’s Craig Gardner also wrote, “Can’t believe Christian Benitez has died. I had the pleasure to play with him. He was a top bloke. My thoughts go out to his family.”

El Jaish in a statement on their website said, “The club would like to offer its sincere condolences to the family of the player.” Continuing they wrote, “Benitez had recently joined the club from Club America for three seasons. The player participated for the first time with the team during yesterday’s match against Qatar Sports Club in the Sheikh Jassem Cup without complaining of any health problems.

“His sudden departure is a big shock for each member of the technical and administrative staff. He was a player that over the short period he was here was regarded for his high moral character.”

ESPN Friday Night Fights at Thunder Valley

Burgos vs Amidu

Burgos vs Amidu

LINCOLN, CA – ESPN’s Friday Night Fights shined the boxing spotlight on Thunder Valley Casino Resort as Juan Carlos Burgos battled Yakubu Amidu.

Burgos was scheduled to fight Arash Usmantee of Montreal, but Usmantee was unable to fight due to an injury and late comer Amidu stepped in.

Burgos’ last fight in January ended in a gut-wrenching draw against Roman Martinez, with many fans upset with the final outcome and Burgos feeling unfairly treated by ringside officials.

Burgos vs Amidu

Burgos vs Amidu

While Burgos was dealt yet another draw in his fight with Amidu, it appeared both fighters were fine with the decision and more than happy to see the end of the fight, as the sweltering weather was over 100 degree at fight time.

Amidu is stunned in 11th round

Amidu is stunned in 11th round

Amidu’s last fight in April saw a loss from a split-decision to Haskell Rhodes in Oklahoma.

Burgos was able to keep Amidu at bay early on, as Amidu struggled to put together any kind of assault. Burgos utilized the ring and remained a moving target preventing Amidu from mounting any type of attack.

Burgos was relentless with his body punches throughout the fight.

Dos Santos vs Gonzalez

Dos Santos vs Gonzalez

Amidu dominated the third and fourth rounds as he came alive towards the end of round three, backing Burgo into the ropes with some well-timed combinations, but the bell rang too soon sending both men to their corners.

Click for more photos

Feeling the momentum from the third round, Amidu continued his assault on Burgos, but landed a low-blow to Borgos, who immediately went into a crouched position, Amidu was given a warning.

In the 11th round Burgos went on the attack with several combinations that put some hurt into Amidu. It was the first time in the fight that Amdiu seemed phased by Borgos’ combinations.

Dos Santos vs Gonzalez

Dos Santos vs Gonzalez

In the 12th and final round the two went at it realizing the fight hung in the balance as both boxers landed several solid combinations.

In the end, the judges scored it 116-112 for each fighter respectively, with a 114-114 score ruling it a draw.

In a battle of fringe lightweight contenders, Miguel Gonzalez (22-3, 16 KOs) of Cleveland, Ohio put down Brazilian Josenilson Dos Santos (26-2, 16 KOs), eventually knocking him to the mat in the eighth round with a body shot.

Dos Santos on the ropes

Dos Santos on the ropes

The start of the fight saw the mercury rise to 110 degrees. According to ESPN the mat surface was a toasty 132 degrees at fight time.

Dos Santos appeared to be the more active fighter in early rounds, but that was misleading as Gonzalez was obviously in better condition and a better technical fighter than Dos Santos.

Dos Santos Down and out

Dos Santos Down and out

There was a lot of holding with the referee continually breaking the two fighters up.

As the fight wore on you could see exhaustion set in for both fighters, but more obviously with Dos Santos. In the eighth round Dos Santos went down after a body shot from Gonzalez, landing on his butt in his own corner. Dos Santos didn’t get back up as exhaustion got the better of him.

Lance Armstrong scheduled to compete in swim event

Lance Armstrong Photo: Randy Miramontez

Lance Armstrong
Photo: Randy Miramontez

According to the LA Times Lance Armstrong will be competing this week at the Masters South Central Zone Swimming Championship in Austin, Tex. Incidentally, it’s a competition that does not require drug testing.

There is a chance Armstrong may not be able to compete as he awaits word from the International Swimming Federation.

While the Federation reviews his eligibility, the director of this weekend’s event, Ed Coates, and the executive director of the U.S. Masters Swimming Rob Butcher are saying Armstrong is free to compete in the event.

Read: Armstrong confesses to Oprah

The review is taking place since the event is sanctioned by South Texas LMSC, which is an arm of U.S. Masters Swimming, a member of the United States Aquatic Sports. The United States Aquatic Sports is a member of the International Swimming Federation, which goes by FINA. FINA also oversees Olympic swimming and follows the World Anti-Doping Code.

UPDATE: According to CNN Armstrong will not be competing this weekend after FINA got word that he was scheduled to compete they intervened and said no.

Butcher told CNN “The word back is that he is not eligible to participate in our competition because FINA follows the WADA code — the World Anti-Doping Authority code. And, as such, we are bound — through a couple layers of separation down — to our events as well.” Boiling it down he went on to say,  “So the takeaway is: while he has entered and you’ll see him on a heat sheet, he is not eligible to participate in that event. Or any other U.S.M.S competition.”

Earlier this year Armstrong, in hopes of reviving his cycling career, admitted to doping in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. His admission stunned his fans and his friends because of his vehement denials over the past decade. The result of his confession was a request for all his medals to be returned and numerous lawsuits being filed again Armstrong himself and his past team the U.S. Postal Service.

Last year, the 41-year-old was stripped of all seven Tour de France titles following an investigation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, whose report portrayed Armstrong as a ruthless competitor, and willing to go to any length to win the Tour de France. He has also been banned for life from competing in any Olympic sporting event due to his doping.

“The word back is that he is not eligible to participate in our competition because FINA follows the WADA code — the World Anti-Doping Authority code.

“And, as such, we are bound — through a couple layers of separation down — to our events as well.

“So the takeaway is: while he has entered and you’ll see him on a heat sheet, he is not eligible to participate in that event. Or any other U.S.M.S competition.”

“Fashionista Daddy” wins Dorito’s ‘Crash the Super Bowl’ grand prize

doritosToday Dorito’s announced the winner of their annual “Crash the Super Bowl” contest with “Fashionista Daddy” walking away with top honors.

Ranked among the most popular ads of the Super Bowl, as measured by USA Today and Ad Meter, tow of Dorito’s user-generated submissions were in the top ten with “Fashionista Daddy” coming in at number four and “Goat 4 Sale” at number seven.

Airing for the first time nationally during yesterday’s Super Bowl XLVII broadcast, “Fashionista Daddy” has earned its creator, 29-year-old Mark Freiburger, the opportunity to work with acclaimed film director Michael Bay on the next installment of the blockbuster “Transformers” movie from Paramount Pictures and Hasbro “Transformers 4.”

Five finalists were chosen from thousands of entries, with each finalist receiving $25,000 and a trip to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.

Ben Callner’s “Goat 4 Sale” scored the 28-year-old second place.

Since Crash the Super Bowl began in 2007, consumer-created Doritos ads have consistently ranked within the top-five spots on the USA TODAY Ad Meter, and three of the last five years they have scored the No. 1 ranking.

“The Doritos brand has always been about offering our consumers the biggest, boldest opportunities imaginable. And it doesn’t get much bolder than turning over the world’s biggest advertising stage to our fans,” said Ram Krishnan, vice president of marketing, Frito-Lay North America. “We are so excited to award Mark the chance to work with one of the most acclaimed directors of our time. It’s an exciting finish for one of the most exciting engagement programs the Doritos brand has created to date.”

Past winners include:

Super Bowl XLI “Live the Flavor” by Dale Backus
Super Bowl XLII “Message From Your Heart.” By Kina Grannis
Super Bowl XLIII “Free Doritos” by Joe and Dave Herbert
Super Bowl XLIV “Underdog” by William Kyle Gerardi
Super Bowl XLV “Pug Attack” by J.R. Burningham
Super Bowl XLVI “Man’s Best Friend” by Jonathan Friedman


Top 10 Super Bowl XLVII ads

rafaeli2f-2-webLast night’s Super Bowl ads have everyone buzzing as ratings roll in. The latest poll released today shows Anheuser-Busch’s heart-tugging spot “Brotherhood” featuring a Clydesdale horse and his former owner taking top spot.

According to USA Today and Ad Meter, “Brotherhood” won by a nose over Procter & Gamble’s Tide spot “Miracle Stain.”

According to AdBowl’s survey released last night, the top honors went to Dodge’s “Farmer” featuring their Ram Truck and the radio voice of the legendary Paul Harvey, with second place going to “Miracle Stain.”

Ad Meter ranks two user-generated submissions from Doritos in the top ten, while AdBowl ranks two low-budget cat commercials in the top ten, with no mention of the Dorito spots. AdBowl wrote in a press release, “Two everyday Internet kitten videos outperformed most of the big-budget commercials.“ Huh? I don’t even recall seeing the commercials they’re referencing.

Looking at AdBowl’s latest update on their website, it appears the cat commercials have gone to the dogs, as they are no longer listed in their top ten list.

One of the most talked about videos has got to go to Go Daddy’s spot featuring super model Bar Rafaeli kissing a nerd.

Ad Meter’s top ten:

  1. Anheuser-Busch: “Brotherhood
  2. Tide: “Miracle Stain
  3. RAM: “Farmers
  4. Doritos: “Fashionista Dad
  5. JEEP: “Whole Again
  6. Kia: “Space Babies
  7. Doritos: “Goat 4 Sale
  8. NFL: “Deion Sanders returns”
  9. Hyundai: “Kid assembles team
  10. Audi: “Prom

AdBowl’s top ten:

  1. RAM: “Farmer”
  2. Tide: “Miracle Stain”
  3. Budweiser: “Brotherhood”
  4. Coca-Cola: “Security Camera
  5. Audi: “Prom”
  6. VW: “Get in Get Happy
  7. Taco Bell: “Viva Young
  8. Kia: “Space Babies”
  9. Jeep: “Whole Again”
  10. Oreo: “Whisper Fight


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