Poker craze among Orioles fans

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Famous fans of the O’s hit a home run in the poker room.

Baltimore Orioles fans are now eagerly anticipating the comeback of the O’s on March 22 for a brand new season of the MLB. And as they look forward to the return of Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and J.J. Hardy on the field, many Orioles fans are currently spending their time hitting a home run in poker rooms. Three of the Orioles’ most popular followers – Greg Merson, Michael Phelps and Edward Norton – have earned their respective places in the world of poker.

Greg Merson

No one can deny the fact that poker pro Greg Merson is a diehard Orioles fan. Wearing the O’s orange and black uniform when he won the 2012 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event in Las Vegas shows how he loves his Birds. He specifically chose the Jones jersey because of his friendship with the center fielder. Aside from his $8-million escapade at the WSOP, Merson also competed in other elite-level tournaments like the World Poker Tour (WPT) Borgota Poker Open and the North American Poker Tour (NAPT). His success has led him to the top rankings of the Global Poker Index (GPI), where he currently ranks #5 in North America. Merson continues attend O’s games at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which is just 20 miles away from his hometown of Laurel.

Michael Phelps

Coming out of his retirement from swimming, the world’s most decorated Olympian is now building a name both as a poker player and a big Orioles fan. 22-time Olympic medalist Michael Phelps is now making a splash in buy-in tournaments such as the WSOP Main Event and the European Poker Tour (EPT) Grand Finals, where the Baltimore native proudly dons his Orioles cap. While his $5.2k total poker earnings pale in comparison with his 18 Olympic golds, watch out for Baltimore’s “Flying Fish” as he soon flies his way to elite-level poker competitions!

Edward Norton

Having a family that has strong roots in Baltimore makes Hollywood star Edward Norton a natural Orioles fanatic. Over the years, the 2-time Oscar nominee has thrown a ceremonial pitch at Camden Yards, has attended the team’s away games (including at the Yankee Stadium, to the jeers of New York fans), and has developed close relations with the legendary Cal Ripken, Jr.. Norton first took interest in poker in the 1998 movie “Rounders,” where he played the role of an ex-con card player. With the help of co-star and poker addict Matt Damon, he became an erstwhile competitor in celebrity poker tournaments. He also hosted a charity poker event in 2009 for the benefit of the Sunflower Children Foundation.

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About Derek Arnold

Derek Arnold
RSR/ESR Senior Editor. Derek is originally from and a current resident of Pasadena, MD. He’s a graduate of UMBC and has been a lifelong Baltimore sports fan. In 2007 he founded B’More Birds’ Nest, where he wrote about the Ravens and Orioles before joining RSR in 2012. Derek’s work has...more