Famous Poker Players

One of the biggest draws of playing online poker is to participate in games alongside celebrity players. Famous online poker players may be individuals well-known to the poker community due to their large number of wins. Alternatively, many famous actors, singers and sports professionals take part in online poker games for fun and to earn extra cash. Many poker sites advertise the famous players who are members of their gaming community to draw in new enrollees. To seek out a famous player, find out what usernames they go by on poker sites and what avatars they use. Most famous players use avatars that resemble their actual appearance to entice players to enter games to compete against them for huge cash prizes.

Barry Greenstein

When you think about poker, Barry Greenstein may not be the typical celeb player you envision. Although he started playing card games from a young age, he pursued mathematics and computer science degrees instead of playing professionally. Greenstein has a doctorate degree in mathematics and helped bankroll his ten years worth of college courses by earning money from poker games. Known as the Robin Hood of poker, he donates a large amount of his tournament and online earnings to charities, especially organizations that support children. Due to his wild success playing tables and online games, he authored the bestselling poker strategy book “Ace on the River” in 2005. Favored games of Greenstein include No Limit Deuce to Seven Draw and Pot Limit Omaha. His online handle on poker websites is typically “barryg1.” As a member of the online Team PokerStars, he is featured in tournaments and works as a consultant on the design of the poker website. Television appearances have furthered his celebrity and he’s been featured on the shows “Poker Superstars Invitational,” “High Stakes Poker” and “NBC Heads-Up Championship.”

Vanessa Rousso

The French-American dual citizen Vanessa Rousso is another famed online player in the poker community. Rousso is known for her brains and beauty when wiping out her opponents. Studying at Duke University on a full scholarship to become a litigator, she decided to use her knowledge of Game Theory to begin succeeding at poker games. Game Theory uses mathematical tactics to accomplish things in everyday life. By 2005, her litigator plans were sidelined and she began to take part in professional poker events. Her celebrity has extended beyond the online community by becoming a spokesperson for the web hosting service and making an appearance in the 2009 “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.” Her online screen name for poker games is “LadyMaverick” and she is found on sites like PokerStars. Many of the top prizes she has earned come from No Limit Hold ‘Em championship games. TV appearances include “NBC Heads-Up Championship,” “Bank of Hollywood” and “Million Dollar Challenge.”

Phil Hellmuth Jr.

Famous for his lucky streak as much as his bad attitude, Phil Hellmuth Jr. is a college dropout who began his professional career in the 1980s. At 24, he won the World Series of Poker Main Event in 1989 beating out heavy favorite Johnny Chan who had won the two previous years. As his career took off, so did his ego. He’s well-known for making disparaging remarks about his poker competitors. He has famously said if luck wasn’t involved, he’d win every single match. Known as the “poker brat,” he opened a webstore using this as a domain name and selling poker gear to enthusiasts. He plays online mostly on the UltimateBet website and helped design the software used for game play. Hellmuth is a regular at large buy-in tournaments and $10,000 max no-limit online poker tables. His celebrity status heightened when he was featured on the cash game show “High Stakes Poker” for multiple seasons. A mobile app was also created and released called “Texas Hold ‘Em by Phil Hellmuth.” He also made appearances on the television shows “Celebrity Poker Showdown” and “Best Damn Poker Show.”

Annie Duke

Los Angeles resident Annie Duke comes from a poker playing dynasty and is sister to famous professional player Howard Lederer. In the 1990s, Duke began playing poker professionally when coaching from her brother helped her find success at the tables. In 2004, she won major events including the $2 million prize in the World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions and her first World Series of Poker bracelet in the $2,000 Omaha Hi/Lo event. Her brother plays many online tournaments through Full Tilt while Duke is most often found on the poker website UlimateBet. She has also worked as a poker coach for famous celebrity players including Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. A series of informative DVDs were released by Duke as a way to give tips and tricks to win Texas Hold ‘Em games. Duke was also a contestant on the network television show “Celebrity Apprentice.”

James Woods

Actor James Woods has appeared in over 70 different film and television appearances. He has been nominated and won multiple awards in the industry including two Academy Award Nominations and ten Golden Globe nominations. Woods has used his celebrity to endorse the Hollywood Poker website along with actor Vince Van Patten. On the site, players can enter matches with celebrities who are marked with a gold star. A blog is also featured on the site with advice and news provided by Woods. Woods has won several high-paying poker tournaments over the years with top prizes including the L.A. Poker Classic for $40,000. He has also participated in World Poker Tour events.


It is very possible you may end up in a final round showdown in an online poker tournament with some of the most famous players in the industry. Celebrity poker players are more often found at high stakes online poker tables where cash prizes are large. Novice players beware before paying a hefty entrance fee to a celeb tournament. Famous online poker players have years of experience and although you may find it thrilling to play against them, you may end up coming home empty-handed.

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