Imagine a lifestyle in which all of the things you desire are within reach. Expensive cars, luxurious homes and all sorts of exciting amenities are just par for the course for those that thrive in the world of high-stakes poker. When you regularly play in the high limits arena colloquially referred to as the ‘nosebleeds’, the only things bigger than the risks are the tremendous rewards.
Spending time playing in televised tournaments on shows such as ‘High Stakes Poker’ and ‘Poker After Dark’ have allowed some of the world’s best and most popular poker players to transcend the traditional ceilings of poker fame and reach new levels of success. Rubbing elbows with Hollywood celebrities and professional athletes is commonplace, as you’d expect when multi-million dollar paydays are always within reach. Want a little more insight into the lifestyles of these rich and famous poker superstars? Let’s delve a little deeper.
The World’s Most Famous Female Poker Player
Vanessa Rousso isn’t just a terror for her opponents, she’s also the life of every party she attends and one of the smartest individuals on the gaming scene. She’s known for her skill in the deejay booth, which she regularly displays in Sin City, as well as her arm wrestling proficiency. Wherever she is, Rousso radiates energy, which has made her Las Vegas home one of the most exciting party destinations in the desert.
Rousso first burst onto the scene as a spokesperson for GoDaddy.com. Later, she posed in the 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. After entering the world of professional poker, she quickly made her mark. By the age of 24, her winnings at the tables had surpassed the $1 million mark, and she’s now amassed over $3.5 million in lifetime poker winnings. To sum it all up, she’s one of the world’s richest female poker players, and she knows how to party.
A Professional Poker Baller
You probably know a few people who would describe themselves as ‘ballers’, but they may not have the same evidence to support this claim as Matt Marafioti. A member of the World Poker Tour’s original “One’s to Watch” list, Marafioti isn’t shy about showing off his 6,000 square foot penthouse on the Las Vegas Strip. His closet is loaded to the brim with designer clothes and shoes, and he’s a regular at Sin City’s most upscale restaurants.
By almost any definition of the word, Marafioti is a true baller on the poker scene. Despite his success, he maintains a great sense of humor about his lifestyle. His friends say they idolize his accomplishments because he is living the dream of every other twenty-something on the planet.
A More Secluded Approach
Not every successful poker player targets the baller lifestyle. With that said, Phil Ivey doesn’t skimp when it comes to the luxuries his success has afforded him. From a beachfront home in Cabo San Lucas to a private chef, Ivey is most definitely enjoying the spoils of professional poker success. When visiting a casino, he is promptly greeted and taken to a complementary suite reserved for the biggest players in the world. In 2010, he took this recognition to a whole new level when the Aria opened a new high-limit poker room named ‘The Ivy Room’ in his honor.
Sometimes you’ve got to get out of the casino, right? Ivey also enjoys golfing at some of the world’s finest courses in destinations ranging from Australia to China. While golfing in Aruba, Ivey bet fellow poker star Joe Cassidy that he would land an unbelievably difficult shot. When Cassidy agreed to 200:1 odds, his competitive juices must have started pumping. Ivey sank the shot, netting a cool $200,000. That’s not a bad afternoon on the links.
In addition to his love of luxury, Ivey is also renowned for his entrepreneurial spirit. He owns and operates a sports and entertainment firm called All In Entertainment, which represents a collection of high profile clientele such as boxer Andre Ward, sports broadcaster James Brown and basketball star Ty Lawson. Add in his generous contributions to charity, and you’ve got an all-around amazing lifestyle that all started with success on the poker circuit.
How much success, you ask? Well, Ivey’s net worth is largely a mystery, because the majority of his wealth came from high stakes cash tables around the world. In total, it’s estimated that his live winnings amount to just over $21.25 million, including nine World Series of Poker bracelets. Online, it’s estimated that Ivey’s added another $14.75 million to the pot.
The Bad Boy of Poker
Few poker players are more polarizing than investment banker turned high-stakes poker player Dan Bilzerian. Although unconfirmed, Bilzerian claims to have won more than $50 million in high-stakes cash games. However, his money is so plentiful that he’s often nonchalant about the prospects of these winnings. Last February, Blizerian took to Twitter to inform his followers that “sometimes losing a million doesn’t phase me.”
Regardless of his results at the tables, Bilzerian is enjoying the fantasy life of men everywhere. He’s got yachts, private jets, a helicopter and four homes throughout the United States. He also owns more than a dozen of the world’s most prized automobiles – including a Bentley, a Ferrari and a Lamborghini. Bilzerian is well known for showing off these assets via social media, and his Instagram account boasts more than two million active followers. If you’re wondering what it’s like to be a big timer, ask Bilzerian’s cat, Smushball, who currently has more than 177,500 followers of her own.
If you’ve always dreamt of a job with a schedule that is completely up to you and an annual salary that can support whatever lifestyle your heart desires, the world of professional poker may be a worthwhile place to start. Whether these superstars want to retire to their own private islands or carry on with their fantasy lifestyles, the world is their oyster as long as success continues at the poker tables. When the expensive possessions fade away and the glamorous lifestyles take a backseat, however, it’s all about the cards and your opponents at the table.