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Actor Ben Affleck has numerous passions, but one of his favorite is playing poker. Although he has less time to play these days thanks to his growing family, this Hollywood actor still has a love for the game and he gets action in on the action when he can.

The turning point for Affleck was “Rounders”, a film concerning Texas Hold’em that he starred in with long-time buddy Matt Damon. Although he started out as a novice with the game, Affleck used his star power to connect with Ultimatebet’s Annie Duke. According to Affleck, Duke’s instruction was key in helping him better his game and her instruction helped him go from being average to being a more competent player that could win at any time.

Unlike many other celebrity poker players, Affleck has proven he has more than just a talent for acting. In 2004, Aflfleck dominated the field in the California State Poker Championship. Although he doesn’t need the money, Affleck pocketed $356,400 for the win and he earned the respect of many of the tournament players that participated in the event.

In 2008, he won a tournament held at Denver’s Coors Field that was sponsored by the Poker Players Alliance, a Washington lobbying organization dedicated to protecting the right to play poker (their motto? “Poker is Not a Crime: Join the Fight.”). John Pappas, the head of the Poker Players Alliance, quoted Affleck stating he was “in it to win it,” before the tournament — either hype or prophecy, because win it he did. The six-hour tournament left more than 100 other players eating Affleck’s dust (including Saturday Night Live star Seth Myers, Sarah Silverman, Richard Dreyfuss, Montel Williams, and professional poker players such as Andy Bloch, who won more than $1 million with a second-place finish in the 2005 World Series of Poker). The event raised about $60,000 for the Paralyzed Veterans of America.

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Most recently, Affleck (and Damon) participated in the Ante Up for Africa celebrity poker tournament at Las Vegas’ Rio Hotel & Casino on July 2, 2009. Proceeds from the event were given to Enough Project and the International Rescue Committee, which aids the hundreds of thousands of people uprooted by the Darfur crisis in Sudan.

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