Antoine Walker says that playing cards with Michael Jordan is definitely always a high-stakes game, because he doesn’t use low buy-ins.
Jordan’s gambling addiction, or at least his weakness for the activity, is something that we’ve all heard about. There are some who even believe in conspiracy theories linking his 2-year retirement to gambling debts.
Jordan was a regular visitor to Atlantic City and Las Vegas, often sitting at the tables with the highest stakes. He’d also continually play cards with his friends and teammates – even for days on end sometimes.
Antoine Walker is another old-school player who loved playing cards and living the high life. Walker is often cited as one of those players who never bloomed to their full potential, even with 3 All-Star selections.
Antoine Walker reveals more about Michael Jordan and his gambling ways
Apart from that 36-hour spell of spades, Walker has also played high-stakes card games with Jordan on many other occasions. Walker began developing an understanding of what motivates Mike to play. According to him, it was just the thrill of being in danger of losing real money that was his addiction:
“It was many a days he would be like, ‘Let’s go to the back [of my] restaurant and play and have dinner,’”
“When Mike calls, the buy-in goes up a little higher. Let me just start with that. It’s going to be a number put on [the game] that everybody’s gotta bring to the table.”
Michael Jordan canceled the original press conference announcing his NBA return in 1995.
Antoine Walker says they were in the middle of a 36-hour game of Spades, down $900k at one point — eventually losing $180k after MJ fell asleep at the table.
— Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) March 5, 2021
“I’d say probably $20,000. You’ve gotta have $20,000 to get in, just to get in. If you ain’t got $20,000 to get in, you can’t even play.”