Ben Affleck has been on our screens since the age of just 12 years old – and in the years since, has become one of Hollywood’s most prolific film stars. Much of his success can be linked to his casting in Good Will Hunting – alongside Robin Williams and Ben’s childhood friend Matt Damon – a film that won a string of awards, and pushed both Affleck and Damon firmly into the limelight.
These days Affleck isn’t just an actor – he’s also a screenwriter, a director, and a producer. He even had the unusual experience of ‘directing’ himself in 2013’s Argo – a film that won three Oscars, two Golden Globes and three Bafta Awards. Argo is a comedy about a covert CIA operation to rescue US citizens from Iran. That operation takes the guise of a film shoot. In the film, Affleck plays Tony Mendez – an extractor pretending to be a Hollywood Producer. Real Director and pretend Producer all in one film – must have been pretty confusing.
But Ben Affleck is notoriously sharp – and his exploits in the casino prove that he’s got the ability to keep his mind across an incredible amount of information at any one time, because in 2014 he was banned from every single Las Vegas casino, after getting caught out counting cards.
According to one Newspaper, Affleck was dismissive of the incident, and critical of the casino’s response: “I took some time to learn the game and become a decent blackjack player. And once I became decent, the casinos asked me not to play blackjack… the fact that being good at the game is against the rules at a casino should tell you something about it.”
Counting cards isn’t illegal, but casinos reserve the right to ban any player from any game – and are notorious for invoking this right when a player is doing well. Coverage at the time suggested Affleck had been kicked out of the casino – in actual fact, the staff had tried to guide him towards a game in which his ability to count cards wouldn’t have made a difference: “We can’t let you play blackjack – but we have Chinese poker?”, the casino’s manager had reportedly said.
In the 2013 movie ‘Runner Runner’, Affleck plays Ivan Block – an Online Poker player who cheats Justin Timberlake’s character Richie Furst out of the money he was planning to spend on his tuition. If the casino staff in Vegas had seen that film, it was probably only a matter of time before one of them ended up catching Affleck out.