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Comedian, Poker Player Norm Macdonald Passes Away At 61

Comedy Legend, Poker Enthusiast And Host Of High Stakes Poker Dies After Private, Nine-Year Battle With Cancer


Comedy legend and poker player Norm Macdonald passed away Tuesday at the age of 61.

According to a Deadline report, the iconic member of the Saturday Night Live from 1993-98, died after privately battling cancer for nine years. Some of his most famous work came during the three years he served as the anchor for the show’s “Weekend Update” segments, but away from the stage, Macdonald was just another poker player.

In a 2019 interview with USA Today, Macdonald said that he began playing poker at 15 years old with most of that time spent playing cash games. Despite his affinity for cash game play, it wasn’t out of the ordinary for him to be spotted playing a mid-stakes tournament in Los Angeles or Las Vegas.

The Quebec native earned $54,019 in live tournament earnings, most of which came after his 2012 cancer diagnosis. He cashed three times in World Series of Poker events, including a 20th-place finish in a $3,000 no-limit hold’em at the 2007 WSOP and two more in-the-money finishes at the 2019 series.

He was more than just a celebrity occasionally spotted at the tables. He was part of the community and truly loved the game. His biggest cash of his career didn’t come in a WSOP event. It came when there were no cameras anywhere to be found as he finished third for $20,915 in a 2006 Bellagio weekly tournament.

Just several months before his career-best cash, Macdonald replaced Gabe Kaplan as the host of High Stakes Poker. It was the show’s seventh and final season on Game Show Network and required analysis of some of the game’s best players at the highest stakes.

He was one of the poker community’s favorite comedians, which is why PokerStars chose him to headline a stand-up comedy show at the 2019 PokerStars Players Championship. Macdonald also made several appearances on televised poker games, including a 2019 episode of PokerGO’s Poker After Dark.

Tags: Poker,   Norm Macdonald,   Comedy