You might know Jim Harbaugh as the football coach who’s been screaming up and down the sidelines at Michigan, San Francisco, and Stanford for the past decade. But it turns out that Harbaugh has a lot of celebrity friends that he hangs out with too, including some poker pros.
ESPN recently did a report that mentioned Harbaugh’s experiences with noted poker pros Johnny Chan and Phil Hellmuth.
“Whether he’s in a high-stakes Las Vegas poker room with Johnny Chan or building a bamboo home in rural South America (yes, he has done both), Harbaugh’s relentless quest to find an edge never ends,” wrote ESPN’s Dan Murphy.
It appears that Harbaugh is especially tight with Hellmuth because the two hang out together and text each other.
They met when Harbaugh, a coach at Stanford University, sat courtside next to Hellmuth at a basketball game. Given that not many celebrities make their way to Stanford games, Harbaugh asked Hellmuth if he’d like to hang out on the sidelines of Cardinals football games.
The Poker Brat couldn’t resist the chance to spend time with more celebrities, so he gladly hung out in Harbaugh’s locker rooms in Palo Alto and, later, San Francisco.
Even though Harbaugh is now college’s highest-paid football coach ($9 million) with the Michigan Wolverines, the two still text and meet up. For example, Hellmuth went to Harbaugh’s national signing day event last February and flew with him and Desmond Howard to watch the Super Bowl.
Some of the texts that Hellmuth has sent Harbaugh even wind up in the latter’s press conferences. For example, Harbaugh once told the media that San Francisco “may be ahead in the chip count, but we don’t have a seat at the final table” following a 9-2 start.
Hellmuth told ESPN, “He [freaking] loved it. The next week there were all these poker analogies in his press conference. I said, ‘This is awesome.’
It’s doubtful that we’ll see Harbaugh grinding on the poker tables any time in the near future. But it’s still cool that he spends time in poker rooms and is friends with Hellmuth.