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What films have poker pros starred in?

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What do the game of poker and movies have in common? Actually, more than meets the eye.

Poker players sometimes display a range of emotions at the table that would make novice actors jealous. It’s no wonder that poker stars are sometimes invited to the set.

Of course, though, it’s not even about emotion. Producers bring in well-known poker pros to expand the audience with an army of fans of the game. And many poker stars have already tried their hand at acting.

Dan Bilzerian

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The poker community is still undecided as to whether Dan Bilzerian should be considered a professional player. The self-proclaimed king of Instagram has repeatedly stated that he made his millions playing poker, but has provided no proof.

The Hendon Mob has only one notable entry in its database — 180th place in the WSOP Main Event in 2009 ($36,600). Choose one of the best Irish offline casinos, and you can earn money too, playing poker, slots or anything you like.

Although he’s had little success in poker tournaments, he does have a big filmography. A pumped-up Dan is a good fit for the character of a tough mercenary, which is why he is sometimes invited for cameo roles.

In 2013, he performed stunts for the film Olympus Has Fallen. The atmosphere on the set must have been to Dan’s liking, because after that he invested a million dollars in the film Lone Survivor in exchange for the role.

The deal eventually ended up in court. Bilzerian was expecting at least 8 minutes of screen time and 80 words of dialogue, but in fact got a minor role of less than a minute.

There were further small roles in The Other Woman and The Righteous. In 2015, Bilzerian played alongside Bruce Willis himself in The Salvation. He also has a cameo in the comedy War Dogs.

Daniel Negreanu

KidPoker results at the WSOP 2019

Of all the real-life poker pros, Daniel Negreanu has appeared on the movie screen the most. In almost all the movies he plays either himself or just a seasoned poker player.

His first role came in the TV series Tilt, which was released in 2005. He even managed to say something in a couple of seconds in the frame of the first episode.

Two years later, Daniel, in the company of famous colleagues, starred in one of the most popular poker movies Lucky You. He had no lines, but in a couple of scenes he diligently portrayed a tough player.

The most famous non-poker-themed movie where Negreanu appeared was X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Daniel appeared in the scene where Wolverine meets Gambit.

The popular poker player also starred in the American youth film Detention. In this film he played a small role, appearing on screen as a newscaster.

Negreanu received much more text and screen time in 2013 when he appeared in an episode of the Canadian sitcom Mr. D about a school teacher. The Canadian poker pro appeared in episode 9 of season 2. According to the plot, Mr. D accidentally meets Daniel in a bar. He talks about his money problems, and the protagonist decides to help him and invites him to stay with him.

Negreanu got another role in the 2016 Canadian comedy series Private Eyes. Daniel starred in episode 5 of the first season, which was dubbed ‘Six’. The Canadian played a cameo role. But unlike many other films, here he was given a few lines.

Then Negreanu appeared on screen in the Canadian series Four Kings. It’s a story about the lives of three professional poker players and a bookie living in Las Vegas. And then there’s the biographical documentary about Negreanu’s life called KidPoker, which was released in 2015.

Daniel’s filmography includes such documentaries as 2006’s No Limit: A Search for the American Dream on the Poker Tournament Trail, 2004’s Poker Lings and the 2007 pseudo-documentary comedy film The Grand.

The poker pro has even managed to make an appearance in Katy Perry’s music video Waking Up in Vegas. In the video, he plays heads-up against the pop star and her companion Joel David Moore, and ends up losing the entire stack.

Antonio Esfandiari

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Big One For One Drop high roller champion Antonio Esfandiari most recently starred in the 2019 comedy 7 Days to Vegas. The film is about a crazy wager in which the protagonist Duke tries to get from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on foot in a week. At stake is a million dollars. The prerequisite is that the entire journey must be done in a light-coloured suit. Esfandiari played a character named Antonio, and not too out of his everyday image.

The screenplay for 7 Days to Vegas was written by Vincent Van Patten. He also played the title role.

Esfandiari also managed to work on the sets of films such as: The Baytown Outlaw, Freelancers, Set Up, Deal, The Thing and Children of Heaven.

Phil Laak

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A close friend of Antonio’s, Phil Laak fell in love with the entertainment industry after appearing on TV shows such as Poker After Dark, High Stakes Poker and I Bet You. Many of the movies Antonio has starred in have also starred Phil.

But not all of them. In the American series “Knight Rider,” where he played a professional poker player, Phil appeared without his friend.

Perhaps Laak’s biggest role was in the 2013 film Runner Runner. There was a lot of discussion on the internet about the reasons why Phil might have been asked to appear in the film. The most popular version was his antics both at the table and in everyday life.

Whatever the case, Laak’s appearance in the film had a positive effect on the popularity of poker among film buffs.

It’s easy to feel like you’re among the professionals of the poker world. Playing online slots at an internet casino, you can enjoy that special atmosphere and excitement to the fullest! Maybe you’ll be as lucky as Daniel Negreanu.