Hollywood and Poker in 2017: Ben Affleck, Kevin Hart Bring Celebrity Shame and Scandal

December 23rd, 2017 by Davida Mintz

Hollywood celebrities have long been fans of poker, but in 2017, that posse made more than their fair share of bad decisions away from the tables. Big names such as Ben Affleck and Kevin Hart got plenty of ink, but not all of it was positive.

Ben Affleck 2017 scandal

From heartthrob to heartbreak: “Runner Runner” actor and one-time Las Vegas poker regular Ben Affleck didn’t have his best year ever in 2017. His post-rehab weight gain turned out to be the least of his problems. (Image: radaronline.com)

Affleck completed rehab for alcohol addiction in March. This was not a new problem either, the actor noted on his own Facebook page. The first time he got help for his drinking problem was in 2001 at the Promises Addiction Treatment Center, in Malibu.

Even his now-amicable split from wife Jennifer Garner, which finally reached divorce status in April, wasn’t the pinnacle of his problems in 2017. The former Runner Runner star and 2004 California State Poker Championship winner found himself in the vortex of the Harvey Weinstein sexual allegations scandal in October, and in more ways that he would no doubt have liked.

No sooner had Affleck been called out by actress Rose McGowan for “knowing” about Weinstein’s bad behavior towards women for years (which Weinstein himself fessed up to), than he was also called out for a 2003 on-camera appearance in which he touched the cleavage of then 21-year-old former MTV Total Request Live host Hilarie Burton. Affleck was forced to do a mea culpa, and tweeted out that he had ” … acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize.”

Tip of the LaLa Land Iceberg

A collaboration announced back in April between the world’s largest online poker room and comedian Kevin Hart took a serious turn south when the PokerStars Ambassador unknowingly appeared in a sexually suggestive video with someone other than his wifey. TMZ reported that an anonymous person approached the celebrity threatening to release the video if he didn’t pay a multimillion-dollar sum.

Kevin Hart sex scandal

Comedian Kevin Hart wasn’t laughing over his own poorly played sexual ensnarement scenario while his wife Eniko (seen here) was preggers. (Image: thehollywoodunlocked.com)

He refused, instead recording a short video of his own apologizing to his then-pregnant wife, Eniko Parris, and his two children from a previous marriage. He turned to social media to communicate with fans:

“I’m at a place in my life where I feel like I have a target on my back,” Hart said on Instagram video. “And because of that I should make smart decisions. And recently, I didn’t. You know, I’m not perfect. I’m not going to sit up here and say that I am or claim to be in any way shape or form.”

The fallout didn’t seem to affect his relationship with PokerStars at least, not that Hart needs the money. He is reportedly the highest-paid comedian on Earth these days, with $87.5 million in annual earnings in 2016, according to Forbes.

And Now, Some Good News…

At least some of the news out of Hollywood wasn’t dumb and dumber.

This year at the WSOP, the media was enamored with chatty amateur British poker player John Hesp. He delighted the crowd by taking down his first significant cash when he came in fourth in the 2017 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event.

Hesp walked away with a $2.6 million prize, and multiple movie offers, quickly becoming an international sensation. He was spotted with filmmakers from the US, China, and the UK, and a biopic is reported to be in the works.

Another figure from the poker world whose life is playing out on the big screen is former Hollywood Home Game Queen Molly Bloom. Under the direction of Aaron Sorkin, Molly’s Game was released November 22. Jessica Chastain stars in the true story of the woman who was dubbed the “poker princess.”

Based on Bloom’s memoir Molly’s Game: From Hollywood’s Elite to Wall Street’s Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker, the film was the latest to come out with a poker theme. Bloom ran into some FBI headwind for running an unlicensed game where stars were reported to have routinely gambled as much as $2 million a night in cold, hard cash.

And this kind of wraps up 2017 with a nice, neat bow, because guess who used to attend Bloom’s famed exclusive high-stakes poker cash games she ran for a decade? Yup, those luminaries included Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Spiderman Tobey Maguire.

12 Responses to “Hollywood and Poker in 2017: Ben Affleck, Kevin Hart Bring Celebrity Shame and Scandal”

  1. godblessiraq says:

    errr….Ben Affleck was not in Rounders…Right? Call me crazy but…I don’t think he was in that movie…

  2. ovitoo says:

    Ben Affleck wasn’t in Rounders.

  3. John says:

    Ben Affleck wasn’t in rounders.

  4. Andy says:

    Which role did Ben Affleck have in ‘Rounders’ then? 😀

  5. ebellari says:

    i like ben affleck as an actor, i dont care about his private life and problems, we all do have problems, but its good to see celebrity’s playing poker
    and for sure he wasn’t in rounders 😀

  6. ihmac46 says:

    def not in rounders.

  7. Dejange says:

    Molly’s Game will be interesting to watch, so far only good responses for that movie from the side of experts …

  8. K. King says:

    Yes, we are all not beyond reproach, bar these guys are role models. It us one thing tobhave addiction issues, etc, but anotherbto openly grope a woman not your wife and participate in behavior embarrassing to your family. Then apologize because you got caught it because you arebtruly sorry?

  9. icnbe56 says:

    I believe it is great that all these guys are being held accountable for their behaviour – it is about time.
    They think because they are famous or rich , they can do anything they want when they want and everyone should accept it.
    It is just too bad that they do so well in their professions and so bad in their personal lives.

  10. milencenov says:

    Wow – while reading the article, two times I jumped to conclusions… and I was hilariously wrong !

    First, I read “Affleck” and I imagined in my mind that there would be something about the poker player Matt Affleck… but it was the movie star Ben Affleck…
    I still remember how Matt was hit on the river in an allin situation at the WSOP – and his AA was beaten by JJ… then he smashed a can on the ground in the corridor, and started crying…

    Then, I read “chatty amateur British poker player” – and I thought about… Will Kassouf !!!
    LOL – it was about John Hesp…

    It is very interesting how one and the same set of adjectives may refer to Kassouf and to hesp, but in a soooooo different way !!!
    You may be “chatty”, amateur and British… and may annoy everybody everywhere…
    You may be “chatty”, amateur and British… and may be liked by everyone, and get numerous offers to star in movies…

  11. SPANKYSN says:

    I appreciate the fact that bad behavior by a celebrity is, unfortunately, news. It shouldn’t be, but it is. I would like to think that the news in Cardschat remains more about poker, or gambling/gaming in general. Personal stuff is for supermarket tabloids.
    I am looking forward to watching “Molly’s Game”.

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