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Report: A-Rod’s poker playing could earn him suspensionAlex Rodriguez's(notes) reported participation in an illegal poker game that involved violence and drug use could end with the New York Yankees star being suspended by Major League Baseball.

That's what ESPN's Wallace Matthews is reporting after a Radar Online article on Wednesday morning cited A-Rod's appearance at a high-stakes Hollywood game that involved other rich stars like Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire.

According to Matthews, A-Rod had been warned by Bud Selig in 2005 not to play in the games. If there's solid proof that he ignored the warnings and continued gambling, Matthews' source said there could be consequences for the Yankees' third baseman.

From ESPN New York:

"We're talking to people involved in the investigation and we're taking this very seriously," [an MLB executive who spoke to ESPNNewYork.com on condition of anonymity] said. "Because he had been warned about this before, I would say a possible suspension would be very much in play." [...]

"I could see us trying to pursue this a lot further," the executive said. "The truth is still out there somewhere."

Though one could argue the amounts being wagered at this game were relatively no more than a couple of bucks to your average Joe, the game doesn't sound like it can be described as "friendly." Tempers reportedly got heated when one player refused to cough up his losses of a half-million bucks, and cocaine was openly used at the table.

A-Rod has not been implicated in neither the violence nor the drugs.

From Radar Online:

With tempers at the table flaring, A-Rod tried to distance himself from the game, another insider told Star. "He just shook his head, not knowing what the hell happened,'' the whistle-blower revealed.

"He didn't want to deal with it at all. He was like, 'OK, whatever. It's your game.' I would estimate A-Rod lost, like, a few thousand dollars that night. After everything that happened, he paid-up and left."

Competitive athletes seeking a competitive thrill through gambling is nothing new, of course. Michael Jordan had his well-publicized dalliances with high-stakes gambling and card games played for real money are a fixture on any team charter. Where this seems different is that A-Rod was warned about participating in an atmosphere that could turn dangerous or be perceived the wrong way by the public and he chose to play anyway. With both the tabloid and New York media hot on this story, it'll be interesting to see where it goes.

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