Born in Quebec, Norm Macdonald is best known for his years as the host of Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live. His career began as a writer for The Dennis Miller Show, and Roseanne.
Norm read Beat the Dealer at age eight and learned to count cards. While growing up on a farm in rural Canada, he passed the time by learning and practicing card games. By age 12, he had developed into such a good backgammon player that he was competitive on the tournament circuit. But despite his skills at math and interest in card games, he hadn't actually done much gambling before moving to Los Angeles.
Unfortunately, his interest in gambling grew into something more serious. It is well-known that Norm is a serious gambler on a good day, and an addict on a bad day. An article in the April 2007 issue of Bluff Magazine titled, "Norm Macdonald's Big Gamble" gave some interesting details about his experiences.
While he was writer on Rosanne, a fellow writer on the show introduced Norm to the Commerce Casino where he started playing 7-card Stud before moving on to Hold 'Em. He was quickly hooked and would play all night at the Commerce before going straight back to the show. Once Norm discovered Vegas, in 1993, the Mirage became his favorite place to go.
During his tenure at SNL in New York, he would go to Atlantic City right after the show to gamble. One night he got up from Taj Mahal blackjack table to go to the ATM and ran into his friend Danny, a production assistant from SNL, who introduced Norm to craps, a game he knew nothing about. During his first-ever session, Norm won about $75,000. He had so many chips and he didn't want to cash them in (for tax reasons) so he stuffed them in a bag in his refrigerator. He planned to cash out his chips a little at a time every weekend and keep his profits. But he said that he couldn't go back to playing low stakes, so he ended up gambling the money away after six months.
Norm has become a visible celebrity poker player over the last few years. His poker playing generates income while keeping him away from the money-losing casino games. His only cash at the WSOP though was in 2007, when he came in 20th place in the $3,000 No Limit Texas Hold 'em event, winning $14,608.
There has also been a rumor that the movie Rounders was based on Norm MacDonald because Norn occasionally played at the Mayfair Club where the writers of the movie had scouted out to do research. But the writers stated that the movie had nothing to do with him.
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