Celebrity Players Clash in High-Stakes Game

On June 23, 2024, Hustler Casino in Los Angeles hosted what was dubbed the “greatest event in poker history.” Miami Heat’s Jimmy Butler, Brazilian soccer sensation Neymar Jr., boxer Ryan Garcia, and other well-known figures sat down at the felt, creating an unprecedented convergence of talent and entertainment.

The event, broadcast live on Hustler Casino’s livestream, drew a surge of spectators throughout the match. As reported by GrinderlabPoker, the star-studded gathering brought together an eclectic mix of sports stars, celebrities, and live poker professionals for a high-stakes game that captivated audiences worldwide.

With blinds set at $50/$100 and a minimum buy-in of $10,000, everything was set for an electrifying night of poker. We’ll go over the night’s most memorable moments, unexpected twists, and the aftermath of this extraordinary poker event that has set tongues wagging in both the sports and poker worlds.

The event was part of Hustler Casino Live’s 2024 Million Dollar Week, which featured four days of nosebleed cash game action. This particular night saw peak concurrent viewership reach over 30,000, with the peak cash on the table exceeding $11 million at one point. The combination of high stakes, celebrity players, and unexpected outcomes made this event a landmark moment in televised poker history, setting a new standard for future high-profile poker gatherings.

Key Moments and Big Pots

The night was marked by several notable hands and very large pots, showcasing the high-stakes nature of the game and the unpredictable dynamics between the celebrity players around one poker table.

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1. Jimmy Butler vs. Neymar

One of the most talked-about moments was a showdown between NBA star Jimmy Butler and soccer icon Neymar Jr. The hand began with Butler making a $5,000 bet, which Neymar raised to $10,000. Butler then 3-bet, and both players eventually went all-in. Butler emerged victorious, winning a substantial pot of $174,000 from the Brazilian soccer star with a full house (fives full). Despite the competitive nature of the game, Butler playfully expressed affection for his friend Neymar after the hand, saying “I love you my boy” as he felted him.

2. Neymar’s Comeback vs. Alan Keating

Although Neymar lost big to Butler, he later showcased his poker skills in a remarkable hand against professional player Alan Keating. This hand has been dubbed one of the “most absurd poker hands ever seen”. The initial pot was $198,000, with Neymar holding 9♣5♥ against Keating’s A♦4♦. After the flop of 9♠2♠Q♣, Neymar was a 79% favorite. They agreed to run it twice, but this was just the beginning of the madness.

Keating, in a series of increasingly daring moves, suggested multiple additional runs of the river. In total, they ended up running the river eight times, with Neymar winning seven consecutive flips after losing the first. The pair flipped for increasingly large side pots, starting at $50,000 and escalating to $75,000 for the final flip. In an improbable turn of events, Neymar won every flip after the initial split, ultimately securing a staggering $360,000 victory and leaving Keating with an empty stack.

3. Ninja vs. Ryan Garcia

Another highlight of the night was a big pot between professional streamer Ninja and boxer Ryan Garcia. Ninja “slowrolled” Garcia, taking his time to call an all-in despite having the best possible hand. This move sent Garcia packing and contributed to his overall loss of more than $80,000 for the night. The incident added to the night’s drama, with Garcia’s behavior at the table drawing attention and criticism from fans.

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4. Dan Bilzerian’s Appearance

The event also marked Dan Bilzerian‘s first public poker game appearance in years. He booked a $24,000 win, although he was up more than $150,000 at one point during the night.

These high-stakes hands kept viewers on the edge of their seats and demonstrated the unpredictable nature of poker, even among celebrities and athletes. The event, broadcast live on Hustler Casino’s livestream, drew a surge of spectators throughout the match, living up to its billing as the “greatest event in poker history”.

A Memorable Night

The “Legends on the Felt” at the Hustler Casino Live event certainly lived up to its billing as an extraordinary poker gathering. It showcased the universal appeal of poker, bringing together elite athletes, entertainers, and poker professionals in a high-stakes, high-drama setting.

From Butler’s calculated play to Neymar’s improbable comeback and Garcia’s energetic presence, the night provided a unique blend of competition and camaraderie. The event not only entertained but also highlighted the unpredictable nature of poker, even among celebrities and seasoned players.

Moreover, this star-studded game demonstrated the growing convergence of sports, entertainment, and poker. It underscored poker’s potential as a spectator sport, capable of drawing massive online audiences.

The success of this event may pave the way for more celebrity-driven poker tournaments, potentially reshaping the landscape of televised poker. As the poker world continues to buzz about this unprecedented gathering, it’s clear that the intersection of sports, entertainment, and poker has reached new heights of excitement and unpredictability, setting a new standard for future high-profile poker events.

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