While it might be frowned upon by some, gambling is a popular pastime in the UK. From bingo and casinos to sports betting, gambling has been embraced by people from all walks of life. In recent years, some UK celebrities have also picked up the hobby, with some sharing their experiences with the public.
We take a look at five famous UK celebrities who love to gamble and what they like most about it.
A childhood supporter of Ipswich Town, Ed Sheeran has always been a sports enthusiast. But it’s casino gambling that has captivated the Grammy-winning musician. “I don’t bet big, but I love Black Jack,” he said once when asked about his love for gambling.
His love for gambling is more about the thrill of winning rather than making money. “I would always start the night with $100, and if you ever watch Entourage, you know when they walk into a Casino and put $5, and if they win, it’s going to be a good night? It’s kind of like that,” he said.
Although Ed Sheeran doesn’t like to bet big, he once famously went on a splurge on the blackjack tables in Las Vegas courtesy of a Google executive. Compared to online casinos that often feature Free Spins Keep What You Win offers, it’s hard to come by such luck in Vegas. “I don’t know why you are doing this, but cheers,” that’s all Ed Sheeran could say to the executive.
The musician doesn’t expect to notch life-changing wins, but he often wins sizable amounts. He once won $14,000 in Australia, with the highest amount he’s ever lost on a night being $100.
But according to fellow musician and a close friend of his, Rita Ora, Ed Sheeran did come pretty close to losing her watch on the gambling table at the Rock In Rio festival in Las Vegas a few years back. But after gambling into the wee hours, they ultimately won $600. That’s better than losing a watch!
A casual darts player in younger years, TV presenter Hellen Chamberlain has gone on to win hundreds of thousands playing poker. Unlike many poker players who appreciate the psychology involved in poker and the challenge of reading their opponents, Hellen Chamberlain has no patience for it.
When asked if she prefers online to a table, she said, “Has to be online. I just haven’t got the patience to sit there during a live game, going through all the pretense of bluffing and double-bluffing.”
She loves the adrenaline rush of it all. In addition to poker, Hellen Chamberlain loves to bet on football and has won big from bold bets on players to score.
Having won millions playing poker, “Only Connects” presenter Victoria Coren-Mitchel is one of the most successful women in gambling. She first got into poker as a teenager when she joined her brother’s game to fit in with his friends. Little did she know how much she would fall in love with the game and make history.
Coen-Mitchel is the first woman to win on the European Poker Tour (EPT) and the first player to win two of the European Poker Tour Main Events. She has won over $2.5 million in winnings, per the Global Poker Index.
Michael Greco came to prominence playing Beppe di Marco in the popular UK soap opera EastEnders. The actor also appeared in Celebrity Love Island and was recently cast in Netflix’s Cleopatra. Outside the acting world, Michael Greco has made a buzz in poker circles, with total winnings exceeding $1.1 million.
While acting is Greco’s main passion, he finds the thrill of poker unmatchable. “I’ve been on stage in front of thousands of people in London in the play Chicago in the West End in front of thousands of people singing with first night nerves. The adrenaline that runs through your body, there’s no comparison other than when I’ve been at a poker table,” he said.
For years, British mentalist and illusionist Derren Brown has wowed the masses with his reality-defying tricks, and it would take long before he took his talents to the Casino tables. But while card counting is perfectly legal in the UK, his exceptional ability to do so saw him kicked out of many UK casinos.
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