If there’s one thing celebrities love, this is definitely to spend some time in Las Vegas. Hollywood actors, musicians, and sports stars love to do that as they love to enjoy a break in Sin City every now and then.
Apart from the thousands of extravagant activities that the city offers, the reason why they all flock to the Strip is probably that dear old ‘what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’ that gives them the chance to enjoy some privacy and escape from the social media dictatorship we live in.
While in places like L.A. they would be hounded by hungry paparazzi, once in Vegas celebs can slip under the radar and do (almost) exactly what they want in a lovely win-win situation. Because celebrities get what they want – often for free -, and casinos get the publicity that they need to stay ahead of the competition.
That being said, the link between famous people and Sin City goes a long way back. Ever since gambling was legalized in 1931, the trend of celebrities flocking to Vegas has virtually been non-stop.
Vegas’ popularity surely soared in the 50s, when Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack made Vegas their home. Since then, the attraction and the legend of the Strip has grown in leaps and bounds.
And, let’s face it: the fact that Vegas lies one hour away from Los Angeles is something that makes it even more attractive for the rich and the famous.
Today, Vegas offers celebrities things that are unheard of elsewhere.
From hotel suites the size of mansions, that come along with their own private basketball courts and swimming pools, to world class restaurants – the Sin City has an attraction for all tastes (as long as you can pay the price).
However, in spite of these distractions, the real attractions in Vegas are its casinos.
After all, when the partying has been done and the luxuries indulged in, there’s only one place where the rich head over to, with the hope to have a nice rendezvous with Lady Luck – the casino floor.
With private luxurious rooms accessible only to where anything goes, it’s easy to see why Las Vegas casinos are the go to destination for most celebrities.
That being said, who are Sin City’s real stars?
Clooney’s love for Las Vegas certainly did not start when he lived there at the time he acted in the remake of the 60’s hit Ocean’s 11.
He became a real regular long before, when his aunt – the singer Rosemary Clooney – used to perform there. However it’s certainly during the making of the Ocean’s trilogy that his love for gambling reached a whole different level.
According to some rumors, in between takes Clooney and his motley crew of Hollywood A-listers would regularly head down to the casino floors to get some gambling done.
If one particular story about Matt Damon is to be believed, this one time Clooney ended up losing 25 hands of blackjack in a row and Damon had to cover the losses when the dealer refused to take an IOU.
However that did not diminish Clooney’s love for taking risks in Vegas. A few years later, he and his partner in crime Brad Pitt, almost built themselves their own Hotel Casino on the Strip, before the developers for the ‘W hotel & Casinos’ jumped in and bought them out for a massive $202 million.
While the casino floors might not have proven lucky for big George, he clearly found a better way to make some good bucks in the Sin City, as he ended up with a roughly 150% profit on the final sale of the hotel property.
Just a few days back, the new “Batman” Ben Affleck admitted that he had gotten so good at blackjack that he could easily count cards while playing his hand, a practice that many casinos do not really appreciate.
Is it legal? Yes, it is. Can the regular Joe brag about it? Well – better not.
Why is it so? Well, let’s say that we have a good reason to believe that this explains why he has been banned for life from playing blackjack at the Hard Rock Café in Vegas, a casino where he once won $140,000 in a single session.
That was the night Affleck became a true legend in Vegas, as after his big win, he gave the whole €$140,000 in tips to dealers, waitresses and door boys.
And since Karma likes these things, when he came back a year later – Affleck won €800,000 while playing three hands at the same time.
As is blackjack was not enough already, Affleck then hired poker professionals Amir Vahedi and Annie Duke to tutor him and teach him all the best poker strategies.
The result? Affleck won the California State Poker Championship in 2004, pocketing a cool $356,400 and securing himself a $25,000 seat in the World Poker Tour Finals.
Tiger gained his notoriety by gambling in special high roller private suites with NBA legends Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan. And someone who has been in that room, told us that the stakes were as high as $25,000 a hand – just so you get an idea.
Since then, the only thing that Tiger has paid more attention to than gambling, is playing hanky-panky in luxurious suites with Playboy playmates and supermodels.
Experts have estimated that it took Tiger merely 7 years after turning pro to gamble away almost €50m. So, when he makes a small detour to Vegas in between golf tournaments, it’s no wonder that casino owners really love to see him in their rooms and they really treat him like royalty.
It’s impossible to make a list of celebrities who gamble and not include Charlie Sheen in it. This man really grabs any addiction out there with both hands – and no, we are not only talking about gambling.
Charlie’s passion for gambling is so big, that his ex-wife Denise Richards is quoted as saying that while they were together he regularly blew away around $200,000 per week only on casino games.
She further claims that, even while on the way to the hospital for the birth of their daughter, Sheen was reportedly calling bookies and placing bets on sporting events.
Later he was found checking the newspapers to see how his bets did.
On other occasions, she says, he was busy gambling online while they were supposed to be away on a romantic getaway.
It comes as no surprise that Charlie Sheen has been gambling since he was in his teens, and although he might claim that his hardcore gambling days are over, we’d ask him not to bet on it.
What would Vegas be without its favorite son Frank Sinatra.
When Sinatra died in 1998, hotels on the Las Vegas Strip shut off their famous neon signs in memory of the man who more than anyone else brought Las Vegas to prominence.
Back in the 50s, Sinatra and his cronies – the Rat Pack – virtually made Vegas their home. They sang there, they drank there and most of all, they gambled there.
They became such an impressive attraction that people would throng to the desert town just to get a glimpse of the Rat Pack frolicking around and be a part of their lavish lifestyle.
At the famous Sands Hotel and Casinos, they used to give Sinatra $50,000 to gamble away and allow him to keep all the winnings for himself. And this just because his presence on the casino floor would bring an enormous number of high-rollers.
When he moved over to the Caesars Palace, the marque would simply say, “He’s here” every time he was in town.