Gambling games have an almost bizarre knack for staying relevant despite changing very little over the decades. Games like poker, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and craps are all still wildly popular, attracting some of the biggest stars and names from around the world to play at their tables every year. This is all despite how drastically pop culture and preferences have changed even over the last ten years, let alone the last thirty or forty.
Just as it always has been, a big-name star sitting down at a table to play cards or bet on the outcome of the spin still grabs peoples’ attention. They may not have any experience of the game beyond a casual interest, but it still captivates the celebrity news cycle and can add a bit of extra prestige to an upcoming casino tournament or event. Here, we’re looking at those mega-fans without much of a professional background in classic gambling games as well as how you can follow in their footsteps.
Celebs proving to be mega-fans of casino classics
Just by their very presence, celebrities always help to bolster the prestige of a venue and the relevance of whatever activity they’re partaking in – just look at how Henry Cavill unlocks the inner-geek of people whenever he posts about painting Warhammer 40,000 miniatures or is seen with a book from the sci-fi franchise. As casinos have always emphasised glitz and glamour, celebrities have been common visitors, especially in Las Vegas and particularly at poker tables.
Celebrities love poker, especially if it’s in the name of charity, it seems. Still, one of the biggest mega-fans of the classic competitive card game is DJ superstar Steve Aoki. Without any kind of pro record, Aoki is still known to be a huge fan of the game and is friends with several big names in the game. These include Phil Hellmuth, who boasts 16 World Series of Poker bracelets, and Dan Bilzerian. Given his superstar status in the US, his surprise showing at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown certainly got fans buzzing.
Of course, Aoki isn’t the only celebrity with an affinity for gambling games and not the only one who has turned up to major events, competitions, or tournaments. In 2020, known poker player Ben Affleck put on a poker game online to raise money for charity, with his call bringing in Matt Damon, Jon Hamm, Tobey Maguire, Adam Sandler, Tom Brady, Sarah Silverman, Adam Levine, Cheryl Hines, and Bryan Cranston. Harry Styles seemingly prefers the luck of the spin in roulette, seen playing in Australia while toting a '17 Black' tattoo on his shoulder.
Mega fan preparation for the big show
It’s not always easy to be a big fan of classic games like poker, roulette, blackjack, or baccarat, especially in the beginning. As a general rule, or as it was in the past, to learn the games and get experience, you invariably have to put money down and be around other people. Of course, early on, you’re likely to not be great at these games, with most success coming through experience and developing skill. Nowadays, though, more mega fans are emerging as they can find their feet and hone their skills thanks to the digitisation of the industry.
With smartphone penetration rates exceeding 78 percent globally and laptops and desktops being a common feature of modern homes, digitising casino games instantly made them more accessible. Now, online casinos in the UK feature thousands of games. The glut of these games is slots, with many bonuses of the online casinos centring on free spins, but each platform has several table games too. For the most part, the sites have a newly specialised live casino games section, which put online players opposite a real dealer in real-time. This offers a realistic but still solo experience that can allow players to build and develop know-how.
Flipping the case entirely, many professionals of casino games are known to turn to digital versions and variants both for casual play and practice. Of course, this is quite prevalent in poker circles, with video poker being a go-to way to flex pro poker skills.
Especially the mega fans, but overall, you’ll often see celebrities wanting to get in on the action of a gambling game, event, or tournament. To prepare yourself, you can always turn to the readily available landscape of online gaming.