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Although there are a lot of celebrity poker players, few have had the impact on the game the way Matt Damon has. One of the stars of the hit poker movie Rounders, Damon’s charismatic portrayal of Mike McDermott introduced many of today’s players to the game.

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In the movie, Damon’s spot on portrayal of an aspiring but troubled poker player nailed its mark right down to the character’s willingness to step[ up to help a friend that was in trouble with the several tough guys including the film’s heavy Teddy KGB (played perfectly by John Malkovich).

Taking place in New York City (which is arguably another character in the movie), the film and Damon’s portrayal found a following because it was as true to life as poker movies can be in that several of the characters where inspired by real-life grinders and existing underground poker clubs that have flourished in the Big Apple.

Although Damon’s career has skyrocketed since staring in the movie, many consider this one of his best films. An avid supporter of charitable endeavors, Damon has used his celebrity status and his love of poker to raise money for a number of worthy causes including Ante Up for Africa.

Despite being one of the world’s top leading tough guys, Damon recognizes that he has a target on his back at the poker table and he plays primarily to raise money for charities these days. “As for poker, I’ve stayed away from that, even though I was in Vegas for Ocean’s Eleven. I would get accosted by these guys begging me to play. They just want to take my money. They see me, think “actor” and see some easy money.”

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