5 Former NBA Stars Who Love To Play Poker In Casinos

Poker is a game that has transcended barriers and boundaries, bringing together people from all walks of life. Many well-known personalities enjoy playing poker in their free time, from Hollywood celebrities to pro athletes. Basketball players, in particular, have shown a great interest in online casino games, with some of them taking their love for the game to a professional level. This article will closely review five former NBA stars passionate about playing a card game in casinos. We will delve into their career bios, the poker tournaments they participated in, and the casinos where they played.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan, the legendary former Chicago Bulls guard, is known for his accomplishments in the NBA. He’s also known for his Air Jordan deal with Nike and his gambling exploits. Wagering has been part of Jordan’s life since high school, with evidence from biographies that he was betting during that time.

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While in college, there are stories of him wagering, including a $5 check he wrote to a fellow student for losing a pool game. By the time he joined the NBA, he was known to play with the high rollers in the Bulls camp and frequently played cards with beat writers while on road trips. He even had a rolling bet with staff at the Chicago Stadium, betting on the Jumbotron cartoon races. He was also willing to take his habit anywhere he could find a game, such as playing at Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco.

Jordan was even an ambassador for a few of the best poker tournaments. These include the World Series of Poker and the Celebrity Invitational Poker Tournament. In these events, he showed that he loved poker. Further, he played against other famous players who love poker. Michael actively plays poker at home and has been seen playing in casinos like the Bellagio in Las Vegas. He plays in this casino most of his free time, but he has appeared in various gambling controversies. These include the $57,000 check to James “Slim” Boulder, a gambler and alleged drug dealer. There’s an allegation that he owed $1.3 million in golf gambling debts. All in all, Jordan’s betting habits were a cause of much controversy.

Charles Oakley is a former NBA star known for his tough playing style and tenacity on the court. But it turns out that he also enjoys taking risks and betting in casinos. Oakley, like many other basketball players, is a passionate gambler. He has shared a few stories about his experiences with fellow NBA players and celebrities.

In an interview on Shannon Sharpe’s Club Shay Shay podcast, Oakley revealed something. He said he once lost $50,000 while playing Tonk with Michael Jordan and Jay-Z at MJ’s birthday party. Despite the loss, Oakley could remember the night fondly and enjoy the experience.


Oakley has played in various casinos throughout his career. Although he has zero poker news on winning related tournaments, Oakley has top-notch playing skills and has enjoyed moderate success in his poker career. Also, despite his love for wagering, Oakley has experienced some negative consequences from his habit. These include a lawsuit over a $400,000 debt he allegedly failed to pay. Even so, Oakley remains among NBA stars who enjoy playing poker and staking in casinos. Moreover, his love for the game shows no signs of diminishing.

Antoine Walker

Antoine Walker is a former NBA star known for his love of betting and poker table games. He is said to have learned to gamble from his friend and fellow NBA player Michael Jordan. The former Celtics player started making headlines in popular casinos around 2009. He has a track record of playing in high-roller casinos such as Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, and Red Rock Casino and Spa. However, betting proved to be difficult and the cause of many problems for Walker.

His staking addiction and debts from numerous poker site games at many different casinos resulted in the demise of his career. In 2009, it was speculated that Walker owed money to at least ten casinos in Las Vegas and that the total amount had exceeded $1 million. Walker has continued playing slots despite his troubles and even participated in some tournaments.


In an interview, he shared a story about playing high-stakes spades with Michael Jordan for 36 straight hours, with the money on the table almost hitting seven-figure digits at one point. While Walker lost most of his money gaming, he continues to be passionate about playing slot games.

Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan, widely considered the best power forward in NBA history, is known to be an avid poker player. While he retired from basketball in 2016 after playing for the San Antonio Spurs for 19 seasons, he has frequently been spotted playing his favorite card game at various casinos.

Duncan has not publicly disclosed his earnings from poker games, but he is believed to have won significant money through his love for the game. Some of the casinos where he has been spotted playing poker include JACK Cleveland Casino and 7 Kings Casino & Sportsbook, among others.


Besides his basketball career and poker games, Duncan is known for his philanthropic work. He has donated millions of dollars to various causes, including hurricane relief efforts in the US Virgin Islands, where he grew up.

Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley, a former NBA superstar, is well-known for his passion for wagering. Barkley had a successful 16-year career in the NBA, playing for teams like the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, and Houston Rockets. Off the court, Barkley was known for his love of betting and having a good time. He had talked openly about his wins and losses at various casinos, including when he won $250k during one of his trips to Las Vegas while playing for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Despite his big wins, Barkley has also suffered significant losses. In a 2007 interview with ESPN’s Trey Wingo, he claimed to have lost around $10 million through staking. There have been instances where he has lost enough money to make even the wealthy blush. One infamous six-hour blackjack session cost him $2.5 million.


However, in a recent interview with Seth Davis on The Seth Davis Show, Barkley revealed that he has learned to control his betting habits to some extent. After years of seven-figure wins and losses, Barkley has found a way to moderate his losses. He said that now he gambles in moderation and tries to win a couple of hundred thousand dollars during his trips to Las Vegas. If he loses, he quits and still has a good trip. According to Barkley, doing it in moderation is alright.


Basketball players and poker seem to go hand in hand, with many NBA stars enjoying playing the game in their free time. While some athletes have been successful in poker tournaments and have won significant amounts of money, others have had negative consequences from their gambling habits. Nevertheless, their love for slots continues, with some still playing and participating in tournaments.

While many NBA poker players have enjoyed success on these slot games, it’s important to remember that poker can be risky. It’s crucial for anyone playing poker to understand the risks involved and to play responsibly. The game of poker remains a popular pastime for NBA players and fans. Also, its popularity is expected to grow in the coming years.

Story originally appeared on Mountain West Wire