Apr 29, 2015
5 Poker Players besides Alex Jacob who were Game Show Contestants
By RTR Dennis
Alex Jacob recently ended the most triumphant run for a poker-pro-turned-game-show-contestant in history. Okay, so maybe it's not that large of a category, but Jacob's performance was still extremely impressive, given that he won six Jeopardy! episodes along with $130k. But what other poker players besides Jacob have gone the game-show route? Here's a look at five who made splashes on famous shows.
1. Jean-Robert Bellande: "Survivor: China" in 2007
Long before he became infamous for bragging about his shaky high stakes poker play and party lifestyle, JRB was slumming it up in the wilderness of China. He frequently clashed with eventual runner-up Courtney Yates, and met his demise when the eventual champion, Todd Herzog, turned on him. But Bellande has arguably become the most-famous alum from Survivor: China, as his decade-old poker career and heavy following of his BrokeLivingJRB Instagram account indicate.
2. Liv Boeree: "Golden Balls" in 2007
Boeree has actually made multiple TV appearances, including her co-hosting duties on the Discovery Channel show "Mind Control Freaks." But one of her most-memorable TV appearances was the time she put her deception skills to the test on ITV's Golden Balls. Her opponent chose to "split" the money with Liv, but she tricked him by picking "steal," thus earning herself £6,500. Anybody who's followed Boeree's poker career, which includes a 2010 EPT title, shouldn't be surprised at the incredible Golden Balls bluff she pulled off.
3. Annie Duke: "Celebrity Apprentice" in 2009 (Season 8)
Most don't really consider Duke a poker pro these days, but with $4.2 million in winnings and a WSOP bracelet, she certainly used to be one. That said, it's worth bringing up her run on Celebrity Apprentice, which was explosive to say the least. Duke's time on the show is characterized by her battles with the late Joan Rivers, who, during an argument with Duke, said, "You're a poker player, a poker player - that's beyond white trash!" Rivers got whatever justice she felt that she deserved, taking first place while Duke finished second.
4. Dave 'Devilfish' Ulliott: "Celebrity Darts" in 2008
The late Ulliott will always be remembered for his fantastic poker career, funny one-liners and quick wit. But yet one more thing to remember him by is his appearance on ITV's Celebrity Darts back in the late-2000s. Devilfish's popularity was easily evident since the crowd cheered for him on every shot. Ulliott and his partner, darts pro Peter Manley, would lose to the championship team of three-time Olympic javelin medalist Steve Backley and James Wade, but his performance was still quite impressive.
5. JJ Hazan: "Dragon's Den" in 2009
The UK show Dragon's Den, which has about a dozen variations, including America's "Shark Tank," once featured poker pro JJ Hazan, who was looking for an investment of £65,000. As Hazan explained to the investors, the deal would secure them 40% of his tournament winnings out of the 33 upcoming events he'd be playing. He sweetened the deal by guaranteeing that investors would receive 100% of the first £50k that he won. It was pretty clear from the beginning that the investors both didn't understand poker staking, and they weren't interested in the matter. So it's little surprise that Hazan walked away from the show without a staking deal.