Betting, especially online, has never been easier, and it’s not just the man on the street taking advantage of the opportunity. The rich and famous also like sports betting, slots, and cards, and here are some of the best examples.


James Woods

Some actors take their roles more seriously than others, with some opting to go for the method approach to really get into character. One man who certainly isn’t afraid to immerse himself in the betting world is actor James Woods, who is a prolific poker player.

Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising for a man who starred in films called The Gambler and Casino, and nowadays Woods enjoys relaxing at the poker table. Nominated on multiple occasions at the Oscars, Woods never found luck there but has when it comes to cards. Although luck might be a little bit unfair as a way to describe a famously intelligent actor’s success given poker’s a game that rewards both a sharp grasp of the odds and the ability to trick others with bluffs and poker faces. At one point he was playing every morning, online, and won 30 out of 31 days (always aiming for $500 and ending the session once he hit his target). That’s enough to make a living (not that Woods is hurting for cash, of course, given his success on-screen and an estimated net worth of some $20m).

It was a friend of Woods’ who got him into poker, specifically Texas Hold’em, citing the actor’s sound understanding of psychology. And he’s been an avid player ever since, usually finishing ahead.

Gambling Popularity on the Rise

Shifting to permit single-event sports betting has helped to increase the popularity of betting on sports in the USA, and a similarly more positive attitude towards online casinos means these are increasingly accessible too. Luckily, it isn’t hard to find the best US online casinos. There are several US friendly no deposit casinos that are trusted, reliable and offer convenient methods of online banking, generous promotions for both newcomers and existing players, as well as a great array of classic table games and the latest slots. Plus, many online casinos also have live dealer games that add an extra layer of immersion.

Jennifer Tilly

Reaching the top of either the acting or the poker professions is quite some achievement, but to have effectively two highly successful careers in both is something else entirely. Jennifer Tilly’s breakthrough film role came in 1994 (in Bullets Over Broadway) and her performance got her nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Two years later, her role in the thriller Bound got her nominated for MTV and Saturn Awards, and she’s starred in many movies since (as well as playing Family Guy’s Bonnie Swanson).


Tilly’s success in the world of poker might even be better than those of her acting career. She became the first celebrity to win a World Series tournament and claim a Ladies’ Event bracelet. At the third World Poker Tour Ladies Invitational Tournament, held in 2005, it was Tilly who won the event and she’s won over $1 million at the poker table.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan is one of the greatest basketball players of all time, winning six NBA championships, and being named the NBA Finals MVP on half a dozen occasions. Even to this day, he holds the records for most points per game in both the regular season and playoffs, despite retiring in 2003. Many a bettor made a pretty penny backing Jordan’s Bulls to win, or backing him to score high. And the man himself is also something of a betting enthusiast.

Jordan’s love of betting encompasses a broad range of markets, and he’s been known to bet on everything from golf to cards. He was gambling way back in high school and this continued in his college years when he bet against not only teammates but even coaches. As might be expected, these were for small stakes as it was long before his time as a sporting sensation when Jordan was rolling in cash.

Betting on sport was another avenue that Jordan enjoyed strolling down, although it didn’t always go his way. One debt became infamous, when he had to testify he was paying a $57,000 gambling loss to suspected drug dealer James “Slim” Bouler after losing out on the golf course.

When he was flush with cash, Jordan was a card shark who usually played for big bucks but was also more than willing to enjoy games for smaller stakes, indicating it was the thrill of the game rather than the money that was the real draw (with cash being more of a score card). Sometimes this dovetailed perfectly with his sporting career, as when Team USA had Olympic preparation in Monaco (famed throughout the world for its casinos).

Michael Jordan made history in many ways, not only with an array of records and victories, plus personal awards but also becoming the third richest African-American. Most of this, of course, was down to his salary and sponsorship deals, which were plentiful and allowed him to amass a net worth of an estimated $1.7bn (in 2022).

Many famous men and women enjoy betting on sports or at the casino as a pastime and some, like Jennifer Tilly, can even turn it into a second career. But just as with everyone else, success does depend on the golden rule: only betting what you can afford to lose.

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