Who knew? Ellen DeGeneres is a poker freak. She regularly hosts high-stakes games at the home she shares with wife Portia De Rossi, and only invites the top of Hollywood’s top names. The games are legal in California, and can sometimes rack up pots worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. What makes the games even more interesting, however, is the side of DeGeneres that isn’t shown on TV.
DeGeneres, according to reports, has a tendency to not hold anything back during the games. She has been described as a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, her choice of medicine being poker chips. One recent invitee, who wasn’t able to keep up with the game, received the wrath and rage of the comedienne, who accused her of ruining the game, Radar Online reported.
The unidentified participant told the news site: “The energy around the table was very tense. Ellen threw a tantrum, and her screams echoed through the halls as frightened guests looked on in sheer disbelief!” It caused the guest so much grief that she felt compelled to fold her cards and abandon the $18.6-million oceanfront property.
This is all extremely contrary to the way DeGeneres appears on TV, who began her stand-up comedy routines in 1978 and made an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1986. She has appeared in several films and also voiced Dory in the animated films Finding Nemo and Finding Dory. She was also the star of Ellen from 1994 to 1998 and has hosted her talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, since 2003.
DeGeneres has won 29 Daytime Emmy Awards and one Primetime Emmy Award. All of her Daytime Emmy Awards have been a result of her daily talk show. She has also been nominated for two Grammy Awards and three Golden Globes.
Melissa Etheridge, Chelsea Handler and Olivia Munn are just a few of those that have risked their evenings—and pride—going up against the poker fan. The games are described as tense and dark, with participants having to walk on eggshells to not upset the host. She has even been known to throw objects across the room if things aren’t going her way. Being invited to a game at her house must feel like both a reward and a punishment.