Gambling can get heated, so it’s only natural for some poker feuds to arise.
Obviously, no one likes handing over a ton of cash, and while poker games and tournaments are notorious for some big wins, it’s a given that unless you’re a winner, at some point you’re going to hand over some cash—Or a watch, or a wedding ring…We’re not here to judge.
But what happens when the bad feelings go beyond the loss you feel when handing over cash to the winner? When the poker table talk turns trash talk? A fight or a feud, typically—We’re here to share some of the biggest fights in the poker and gambling industry.
Read on to learn about 5 of the biggest feuds in poker/gambling of all time.
I’m Sorry Fifty: 50 Cent Vs. Randall Emmet
What’s now known as a historic weekend in poker, gambling and general celebrity-crossover news, film producer Randall Emmett (of Bravo fame and Gotti-infamy) and 50 Cent were involved in a back-and-forth via social media over a poker debt Emmett owed 50.
If you’re familiar with 50 Cent’s Instagram, you know you’re guaranteed to find A) ruthlessness and B) a #bronsoncognac hashtag. When Emmett failed to pay up in a timely fashion, Fifty took to social media to berate Emmett and demand his money by the following Monday.
The back-and-forth included 50 Cent taking shots at Emmett’s fiancée, Vanderpump Rules star Lala Kent and a now iconic texted plea from Emmett asking 50 Cent to stop which said, “I’m said sorry Fofty” and “I apologized”.
As you can probably tell, Fifty Cent didn’t offer mercy. The feud concluded with a stressed Emmett visiting the hospital for cardiac testing as he claimed the stress causes chest pain, a promise to deliver his money the following Monday and a reply from ‘Fofty’: “when the money hits the accounts everything comes down.”
(Even celebrities weighed in on 50 Cent’s wrath.)
50 Cent had a timeline in mind and demanded his money from Emmett by Monday, using the hashtag #MoneyByMonday to, uh, encourage Emmett to pay up. Thankfully (for Emmett and Lala Kent, Emmett’s fiancée, who both endured a pretty embarrassing weekend) he had 50’s money by Monday, and Fofty ceased his social media fire.
PS—Can you believe it’s been a year since this infamous weekend? A moment lost too soon, but forever cherished.
Daniel Negreanu VS. Annie Duke
If you’re active in the online poker world, you likely know a little bit about at least one argument between Daniel Negreanu VS. Annie Duke. But did you know the Negreanu Vs. Duke feud is nearly two decades old? It sure does—Let’s (briefly) dive in.
Where do we begin with this one? This feud can be traced back to early 2000’s on the internet, where Negreanu began posting on poker forums about his experience playing professional poker. His posts began alluding to a female professional poker player who he was clearly not a fan of.
Eventually, her brother, another professional poker player, Howard Lederer realized the posts targeted his sister and wrote an open letter listing his issues with Negreanu, among these the fact that Negreanu refers to duke as ‘Annie Puke’. Not one to back down, Negreanu retaliated with details of taunts Duke allegedly made at him.
The two were seen playing poker together, but more internet posts from Negreanu confirmed his feelings for Duke hadn’t softened. Duke actually stayed fairly mum throughout the feud, but mentioned Negreanu in her book ‘Annie Duke: How I Raised, Folded, Bluffed, Flirted, Cursed, and Won Millions at the World Series’ as her ‘online bully’.
We could write a whole article about their 20-year feud, but essentially the two continued to trade barbs in the form of insults and critiques (despite a brief moment where Negreanu apologized)—One of the latest was a post Negreanu shared in 2015, where Negreanu wrote a list critiquing Duke’s Epic Poker League (EPL) and opined she should be banned from the WSOP.
Phil Hellmuth VS. Everyone
Now, many poker players have feuds (the aforementioned Dan Negreanu being one that comes to mind!) but Phil Hellmuth is a guy that really takes the cake—He has feuds with quite a few big names in poker.
Here are just a few names in professional poker Phil Hellmuth has feuded with: Phil Ivey, Mike Matusow, Terrence Chan, Sam Grizzle (whose altercation with Hullmuth got physical) and Tom Dwan.
With the exception of his physical fight with Grizzle, Hellmuth has (for the most part) kept his feuds confined to the poker table, but a quick internet search will bring up many stories of Hellmuth’s feuds and fight.
Molly Bloom VS. Toby Maguire
This poker feud is a little different than others on our list—Not a feud per se, but an A-list illegal gambling ring investigated by the FBI and detailed in a book (and later a film directed by Aaron Sorkin, Molly’s Game) by the same woman who ran it, former skier, Molly Bloom.
For those not in-the-know, Molly Bloom wrote a little book called ’Molly’s Game: The True Story of the 26-Year-Old Woman Behind the Most Exclusive, High-Stakes Underground Poker Game in the World’ that shed a light on an illegal, celebrity poker game she helped manage (and would later go on to write a book about). In it, she detailed a weekly poker matches with A-list names like Ben Affleck, Leonardo DiCaprio, Rick Solomon (is he an A-lister?) and Toby Maguire, where the Spiderman star proved to be a controversial guest and opponent during these games.
Among some of his more questionable tactics were bringing an automatic card shuffler and demanding it be used—And rented, at that, but also being a poor tipper and once even demanding Bloom barked like a seal …Seriously, we can’t make this up.
Bloom’s book named the actor only as ‘Tobey’, but described him as the “worst tipper, the best player, and the absolute worst loser”. Since, Maguire has faces his fair share of ire in the press that’s sullied his reputation slightly.
Although this is definitely not a traditional poker ‘feud’ and Maguire hasn’t exactly publicly defended himself (maybe due to an FBI investigation on the scheme), however, Bloom and Maguire certainly didn’t see eye-to-eye during the poker games, if the events in Bloom’s novel and the Sorkin-directed adaptation are true.
Jack McCall VS. Wild Bill Hickok
Finally, we’re taking it way back to 1876—Although most people might consider this a straight-up murder rather than feud.
‘Wild Bill’ Hickok, was a prominent figure on the American frontier, was a gunfighter in the American West, known for his ‘wild west’ antics. He also enjoyed a good card game, and was a frequent poker player at the No. 10 Saloon.
On August 1, 1876, Wild Bill was playing a card game in Deadwood, South Dakota, which a man named Jack McCall joined. McCall proceeded to lose several hands, and Hickok offered him some money and advice—Maybe he should take a break from playing cards until he had more money.
The next day Hickock was playing a game of poker, and McCall stormed the saloon and shot Hickok on the back of the head. McCall was apprehended and later hanged.
Wild Bill’s murder was an infamous moment, mainly due to Wild Bill’s own gun skills, but also because he typically sat in a corner, so no one could catch him unaware—If only Wild Bill took usual seat that day.
Do you have a favourite gambling poker feud? We know we had tons of choices between feuds, but these are just a few that stuck out to us, from the famous rappers and producers, professional gamblers and A-list stars.
Which gambling related or poker feud stands out to you?