Guy Laliberte is not nor ever has been a professional poker player. Guy Laliberte has been a professional fire breather. Guy Laliberte has been on the Time List for the 100 Most Influential People in the World.
Born on September 2, 1959, Guy Laliberte has become known to poker audiences over the past 3 years, dipping into his billionaire fortune to play big buy-in tournament and high-stakes cash game poker. But Guy’s first career brought him more acclaim or wealth than any poker player could hope to achieve – Guy is the creator and 95% proprietary owner of Cirque Du Soleil.
By the age of 19, Guy had dropped out of college and taken to the street as a travelling performer. There, he experimented and honed what would come to be recognized as an iconic movement in modern entertainment. By 1987 he had transformed an act once performed for nickels in the streets of Europe into a burgeoning art form – a reinvention of the circus. After receiving significant grants from the Canadian Government, Guy set up shop in Montreal and grew his show’s reputation.
In 1991, Las Vegas mogul Steve Wynn brought Guy and his Cirque Du Soleil into Las Vegas. Like poker years before it, Cirque Du Soleil would fuse with Las Vegas itself, becoming as indelible a segment of what has come to be known as the Las Vegas Experience as any gambling. Cirque Du Soleil has left its 47 year old progenitor with more than $1.5 billion in assets.
Beginning in late 2005, Guy took up an interest in poker. Within two months he was regularly buying into the legendary Big Game held nightly in Bobby’s Room in the once Wynn owned Bellagio Hotel. While his only notable tournament success came in the form of a 4th place finish in a 2007 World Poker Tour event, his cash game endeavors have become mythic in the online poker community.
One hand in particular from the popular GSN show “High Stakes Poker” has captured a lot of attention, here’s a link to the YouTube page: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csgzYv4jo6k
As of October 2008, the $818,000 pot is the biggest cash poker pot to have ever been aired on US television. While Guy Laliberte did not win the monster, his play would’ve worked against 99% of the professional poker players in the world – he just happened to be playing against Doyle Brunson. We won’t get to see him in many tournaments as his many business ventures occupy the great majority of his time, but Guy Laliberte has become a fixture of the super high stakes poker world.