Late 'Friends' Actor Matthew Perry Was a Prolific Gambler From a Country With Really Bad Casinos

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:

When news broke this week that "Friends'" star Matthew Perry was pronounced dead after an apparent drowning incident, the media immediately went into overdrive in regard to his self-acknowledged long battle with drug addiction and the damage it did to his body.


Few discussed the actor's contributions to the world of gambling, specifically poker tournament play.

In 2015, Perry was once photographed by a paparazzi playing at the Commerce Casino in LA.  Nothing wrong with that...except that this was at 6 am in the morning. 

Perry was one of a handful of celebrity poker players and high stakes gamblers who once (or still do) call Canada home:  Pam Anderson, Guy Laliberté, Daniel Negreanu, Drake, Jonathan Duhamel (read all about him if you dare) and Deadmau5. 

Before Ontario began licensing sports betting outits, the best thing to happen on the gambling scene in Canada came by way of Gambling911 setting up shop in beautiful, but cold, Lloydminster, Alberta.  Drake was a youngster at the time.  Perry had just finished wrapping up the final season of "Friends".

The reality is that the best gambling experience in Canada is the online kind these days.

Now compare that with the land-based casinos.

You won't be dealing with drunks.  You won't get thrown out by security for no reason.   You won't have to wait 7 hours to play!

The reviews of land-based Canadian casinos are not always easy to stomach (literally, if you read the buffet reviews especially).  Hence the reason we recommend their online counterparts.  There are no Bellagios, Venetians or Monte Carlo Casinos here.

The Great Canadian Casino Resort in Toronto is supposed to be pretty good but check out what this poker player had to say:

"Came to play, long wait - over 7 hours. Then capped game with 20 dollar rake, no drink or food service, slow incompetent management and staff. Went to cash out and told I had to pay a 35 percent processing fee."

Another wrote:

"Dealer raked us preflop, would constantly make mistake, one of the regs would correct and tell him correct amount. he would rake 20$ on a 150$ pot sometimes.  this is run by the mafia or something."

The Montreal Casino situated on Notre Dame Island, in Jean-Drapeau Park, is the biggest land-based gaming operator in Canada.  There's a poker room that seems to do everything to discourage us from going here.  Like the Great Canadian, it's supposed to be one of the nicer casinos in Canada but the website is far from inspiring.

The casino proclaims on its site: "Low buy-in tournaments are temporarily suspended"  followed by "Now anyone can experience the joy of playing poker!"

Oh the joy of temporarily suspended poker tournaments!

"Did we live up to the hype?," the casino asks.  "Please take 30 seconds to let us know how we can improve your experience with us."  Gee, a whole 30 seconds to respond! 

One reviewer via Trip Advisor wrote of their experience:

"No drinks .no restaurant open but fast food .smoke meat , casino hamburger dry. $2800 never won sad."

The casino wrote back that they are returning to normal operating hours and juicier burgers.  This was in October 2023.  Covid done!

Another wrote:

"Better operating hours are needed. We arrived by taxi at noon. Casino does not open until 2 p.m. There were many people waiting outside in the rain."

Another wrote: "Staff is so rude and boring. Most looks like govt agents just waiting to retire and get their pension."

This reviewer also noted that there are "No more craps table. Are you serious?"

The casino replied with a solution to the missing crap tables conundrum: "We are commited to offer you the best experience during your visit, while dealing with certain imponderables. We are in constant reflection to improve our offers and services. * did you know that several table games have been added in electronic version to better entertain you."

Yes, there was an asterick in the response. 

River Cree Resort and Casino is described by as a place where "drunken people wandering in the halls and lobbies" are common.

"Worst Casino I’ve been to. I’ve been to many casinos from Toronto to the U.S.A casinos. I went there with my mom for my birthday. I befriended this couple and we were talking getting to know each other. And I think they just pick out random happy people to kick out. The security picked us out, asked to see all of our ID’s then all of a sudden we’re like “oh none of you paid for your drinks”.
So I just happened to randomly meet a couple who also didn’t pay for their drinks and neither did I?! When I clearly have the bank statements that I did. If you want to enjoy yourself don’t go to this casino. It’s not a joke. I wouldn’t waste my time reviewing if I thought by any means it was my fault. This casino is weird and discriminatory. I think you have to be miserable looking for them to leave you alone and actually let you stay there."

Another wrote:

"The River Cree Ruined My 65th Birthday.  On October 5th my kids threw a surprise party for me at home with the addition of a stay at one of the nearly $400/night suites at River Cree that night. Since most of my friends are older a family friend kindly picked us up in his party bus and we went to enjoy the suite before we all went down stairs to gamble.

"At 11:00pm River Cree security knocked on the door of our suite and without accessing the situation or asking any questions kicked out everyone. No person in my room was yelling, we had no music playing, and three of the people in the room were disabled. One person was blind and uses a cane, one is in a wheelchair due to just recently having one of her legs removed and one person is a stroke victim with limited mobility. We specifically rented a suite because it was easier to accommodate both the disabled people and the older people for a birthday drink before heading downstairs to have some fun."

This reviewer offered:

"In their casino no respect I didn’t do anything and didn’t even say anything one lady’s she was working in poker room she told me shut up even I didn’t respond after supervisor came call me all I said to him why u talking to me go talk her she disrespect me he told me if u not happy you can leave then I got upset they band me for that no respect other there don’t go to casino there is no respect."

This person had bad eyes (not blind though):

"I always have fun going to this casino but not until tonight. I went with my friend and my bf to watch the fight. I had a few drinks and shots in there with my friend just to have fun because he's never been to the casino for a long time. Everything was going good until my friend's gf came.. literally just got off work. We went outside because my friends gf smoke. but when we tried to go in they won't let us back in,which is weird, because they said my eyes were red and i look intoxicated.. And I was like my eyes were always red even if I don't drink or not. The security told us to try the other door to get in which is dumb because obviously he called the other security to not let us in anyways. If I could give 0 stars I would. Sorry not sorry..."

Starlight Casino Edmonton doesn't fare too well either.

"Crowded and congested. I looked all over for a place to each and was told there was a place upstairs called Aces. I walked up the broken escalator and found it with one customer. Not for me. Walked down the same escalator... broken."

Another wrote:

"Stay away from slot machines, Noticed before I come in this Casino that there are in some kind of renovation !!! So I start playing slot machines, spend $ 100, ok, I said, let's go try different slot, spend another $ 100.....change machine, another $ 100 gone...not even the bonus.....shame....then I walk around to see if anyone wining something....nobody win anything....they need money for that renovation....I guess."

Take our advise at any price....When in Canada and you wish to gamble, do it online.

- Jagajeet Chiba,

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