Tuesday March 8, 2016 at 7:14 pm

One of the most talented writers in the history of Hollywood has been harboring a dark secret over the last decade – a crippling addiction to gambling – which supposedly cost him his entire $100 million fortune. David Milch, a former English Lit professor at Yale and best known as the creator of hit TV shows NYPD Blue and Deadwood, is currently $17 million in debt and being sued by the IRS for over $5 million in back taxes. Another lawsuit details Milch's atrocious gambling problem in which he squandered at least $25 million on horse racing between 2000 and 2011.

David Milch
David Milch, uber-degen gambler, donked off $25 million betting horses in 11 years. (Pic by Hollywood Reporter)

If you want to consider first-ballot Hall of Famers for the Degen Gambling Hall of Fame, then look no further than award-winning television writer David Milch. Last month, a huge story broke in the Hollywood Reporter that Milch gambled away his fortune worth $100 million, which he amassed over a 30-year career as a writer and producer. Milch is over $17 million in debt, including $5 million owed in back taxes and penalties to the IRS. Milch, a highly-successful television writer and producer with 4 Emmy Awards, is most known as the co-creator of NYPD Blue and the head honcho behind Deadwood, which is often regarded one of the greatest shows in the history of television.


Milch graduated from Yale University and was a fraternity brother with George W. Bush (yes, the former President W himself). Milch later taught at Yale as an English literature professor, but got his start in Hollywood by writing a spec script for 1980s cop drama Hill Street Blues. The producers bought Milch's edgy script and he was quickly hired. Milch's first-ever script actually won an Emmy Award. He worked on Hill Street Blues for five seasons androse to the rank of executive producer. Milch stuck with the cop genre and co-created NYPD Blue with Steven Bochco. Critics praised NYPD Blue for its controversial content, nudity, and raw language... all considered edgy for a network television show. After NYPD Blue's run ended, Milch focused on the wild wild west for his next project with Deadwood.


The critically-acclaimed HBO series Deadwood is a gritty, fictionalized version of events in the infamous Dakota Hills mining town in the 1870s. Milch was at the helm as creator, producer, and head writer. He peppered Deadwood's lush Shakespearian dialogue with coarse language and profanity. The short-lived, award winning series only ran for three seasons, but there had been rumors about two feature films to put an appropriate ending to Deadwood storylines.


My dad used to call me a degenerate gambler. You hear that, and you spend time trying to live up to those ideas. I would say gambling became a problem for me. It distorts relationships, the way you want to live. If you don't realize when it has you in its grip, shame on you.

Wild Bill shot
Wild Bill Hickok's shooting is depicted by Milch in Season 1 of "Deadwood"

The first season of Deadwood included the arrival of Wild Bill Hickok. Milch portrayed Hickok as a degenerate card player who was more interested in Five-Card Draw than anything else. In the series, Hickok was spewing money upon his arrival, but as soon as his fortune started to turn, he was shot in the back while still clutching his cards. At the time of his murder, Hickok was holding two pair – Aces and eights – which earned the nickname “Dead Man's Hand.


Milch has been card dead since Deadwood and struggled in the post-Deadwood years. The Hollywood Reporter put it best, “He has admirers and fans across the spectrum of the television world, though he has not had a successful show since Deadwood ended in 2006.”


Milch's last two projects for HBO – John from Cincinnati and Luck – were both busts. John from Cincinnati only lasted one season and HBO execs pulled the plug on Luck before the first season had finished airing. Luck, featuring Dustin Hoffman, was a drama about the vagaries of the modern horse racing industry. Luck was snap-cancelled after a deluge of bad publicity over the death of three horses, all injured during the filming of the series.


The stench of bad luck that Luck was drenched in could not escape Milch. Other projects he had in development fell apart, or never came to fruition. Aside from the rumors of a Deadwood movie, Milch also has a deal with HBO to develop a series based on the writings of southern novelist William Faulkner.


According to the Hollywood Reporter, “A lawsuit, which was filed last year and is proceeding in Los Angeles Superior Court in Santa Monica, indicates that he lost $25 million from gambling between 2000 and 2011 alone. Colleagues estimate he has earned more than $100 million across his three-decade Hollywood career, but the lawsuit reveals he is left with $17 million in debts.”


Milch recently tried to sell his house on Martha's Vineyard, but no one was interested at the $9 million price tag. The new price has been dropped to $7 million. Alas, even the sale of the house is only a portion of the amount Milch owes to the IRS and other creditors. Legal documents also indicate that Milch had borrowed $3 million from Laughlin Philips, a friend who was rumored to be a former CIA agent.


Milch was crazy. He'd bet thousands and thousands of dollars. He'd bet every race.

LUCK and Hoffman
David Milch's "Luck" with Dustin Hoffman, an HBO series about the racing industry in SoCal, was canceled after the unlucky deaths of three horses.

Milch had also owned race horses at different points in his life, but all of the horses were sold. Milch previously owned a colt named Gilded Time, which won the 1992 Breeders' Cup Juvenile.


Milch was a self-admitted drug addict during the 1980s and he had an affinity for heroin. He successfully kicked his drug habit by 1999, but unfortunately he only swapped addictions and instead of heroin, he was getting his fix by betting on the ponies. Milch was first introduced to race tracks in Saratoga by his father, who was a surgeon in Buffalo, New York.


In a blunt interview with the Daily Racing Form, Milch was asked how often he went to Santa Anita, a track outside of Los Angeles. He responded, "It depends on who I'm lying to. I have several different masks that I wear."


Milch always had an outside-the-box approach to writing and showrunning, which is why his shows are unlike anything else. Milch's handicapping expertise fell in line with his writing genius. Although he was a top notch handicapper, Milch had the ability to see outside-the-box when determining exotic bets. Milch hit his fair share of insane wagers, but he also hit the skids more than once. His desperation did him in and he lost focus when handicapping races.


Milch is still regarded in Hollywood circles as a creative genius. His family and close friends hope he can channel his frenetic energy into upcoming projects he's developing, such as the William Faulkner series for HBO or the potential Deadwood movie. Milch's wife, Rita, is also suing their business manager for $25 million for not informing her of the true status of their business affairs and for covering up Milch's degeneracy. The gambling binges at Santa Anita race track had grown so ugly that Milch's business manager had to cut checks totaling $25 million to the race track. At present, Milch's wife only trusts him with a $40 per week cash allowance. She knows that with anything more, he'd drive straight to the track and donk it all off on the ponies.


  • Beverly Hills Buntz (1987)
  • L.A. Law (1992)
  • NYPD Blue (1993-2005)
  • Brooklyn South (1997-98)
  • Big Apple (2001)
  • Deadwood (2004-06)
  • John from Cincinnati (2007)
  • Luck (2012)
Latest news
Thursday July 18, 2019 at 4:56 pm
Chris Moneymaker and David Oppenheim inducted into 2019 Poker Hall of Fame

The 2019 World Series of Poker announced the newest class of inductees into the Hall of Fame. Chris Moneymaker and David Oppenheim got nods this year. They were the only two recognized on a ballot of ten possible candidates that also included Antonio Esfandiari, Huck Seed, David Chiu, Eli Elezra, Jesus Ferguson, Ted Forrest, and Mike Matusow.

Wednesday July 17, 2019 at 9:18 am
Breaking News
Germany's Hossein Ensan wins 2019 WSOP Main Event and $10 million

The 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event Championship concluded at the Rio Casino when Germany's Hossein Ensan defeated Italy's Dario Sammartino heads up to win $10,000,000 and the coveted Main Event bracelet. Three players began Day 10 with Ensan holding a sizable lead. Canada's Alex Livingston busted in third place for a $4 million score. After 101 hands of heads-up action, Sammartino banked $6 million for a runner-up consolation prize. Ensan, 55, became the oldest Main Event Champ since Noel Furlong in 1999.

Tuesday July 16, 2019 at 6:55 am
2019 WSOP Main Event: Hossein Ensan leads final three with 326M

The 2019 WSOP Main Event continued with Day 9 action that saw the returning five players play down to the final three. Germany's Hossein Ensan began the day with the big stack and by the end of Day 9, he retained the lead with 375M. On Day 9, Chicago Cubs superfan Kevin Maahs busted in fifth place and Garry Gates got picked off in fourth place. Alex Livingston is second in chips, while Italian pro Dario Sammartino is the short stack. They return on Tuesday to play down to a champion.

Monday July 15, 2019 at 6:07 am
2019 WSOP Main Event: Hossein Ensan leads with 5 to go

The 2019 WSOP Main Event final table played down from nine to five players on the first of three days of action. Two players busted in the first 11 hands and four players were eliminated overall including Zhen Cai, Nick Marchington, Tim Su, and Milos Skrbic. At the end of Day 8, Hossein Ensan continued to hold the lead with 207.7 million, while Garry Gates was not far behind with 171.7 million.

Sunday July 14, 2019 at 3:33 pm
2019 WSOP: Keith Tiltson wins 100K High Roller; Negreanu 2nd

Daniel Negreanu cashed in his 15th event this summer and advanced to his fourth final table, but he fell short in his quest for bracelet #7 when Keith Tiltson defeated him heads up to win 2019 WSOP Event #83 $100,000 High Roller for a sensational score worth $2,792,406. Tiltson made a pair of final tables in the final week of the 2019 WSOP with a sixth place finish a couple days earlier in the FINAL FIFTY. Meanwhile, Negreanu launched a late assault on the WSOP Player of the Year race.

Saturday July 13, 2019 at 1:57 pm
Breaking News
2019 WSOP: Germany's Hossein Ensan leads final table with 9 remaining

After a lengthy Day 7, the final table for the 2019 WSOP Main Event Championship is set. Only 35 players began Day 7 and when it ended, nine players were still alive and in the hunt for $10 million. Germany's Hossein Ensan bagged up the lead with 177M. Also advancing to the final table are... Garry Gates, Zhen Cai, Kevin Maahs, Alex Livingston, Dario Sammartino, Milos Skrbic, Timothy Su, and Nick Marchington. Action resumes on Sunday.

Friday July 12, 2019 at 7:47 pm
2019 WSOP Main Event: Nicholas Marchington leads final 35 on Day 6

On Day 6 of the 2019 WSOP Main Event Championship, they played down from 106 to 35 players. When play ended, Nicholas Marchington bagged up the lead with 39.8 million. Rounding out the top five are Tim Su, Milos Skrbic, Henry Lu, and Garry Gates. Among the notables who busted on Day 6 were Same Greenwood, Chris Hunichen, Lars Bonding, Alex Winter, Romain Lewis, Jake Schindler, Dan Hachem, Antonio Esfandiari, and Jeff Madsen.

Thursday July 11, 2019 at 9:34 pm
2019 WSOP: Main Event down to 106, Tim Su leader at end Day 5

The 2019 WSOP Main Event played down to 106 entrants on Day 5. Tim Su bagged the chip lead with 19.2 million. Also still alive are Sam Greenwood, Antonio Esfandiari, Romain Lewis, Chad Power, and Chris Hunichen. Among the notables to bust on Day 5 were Andrew Brokos, Chainsaw Kessler, Danielle Anderson, former NFL player Richard Seymour, Chance Kornuth, Adam Friedman, Galen Hall, Todd Brunson and Todd Wittles.

Tuesday July 9, 2019 at 12:53 pm
2019 WSOP: Money bubble bursts, Defending champ Cynn busto

The 2019 WSOP Main Event continued with the first time the entire field condensed into one. Day 3 commenced with 2,880 remaining and fewer than 1,300 getting paid. The money bubble snuck into play late last night and actually burst. Only 1,286 players remain. Everyone who returns for Day 4 locked up a min-cash worth $15,000. Norway's Preben Stokkan bagged and tagged the big stack with 2.18 million even though he was down to chip and a chair at one point. Andrew Brokos chipped up to 1.9M.

Monday July 8, 2019 at 4:32 pm
2019 WSOP: $10M to Main Event champ and 2,880 remain in second-biggest field ever

The 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event allowed late registration up to the start of Day 2 (ABC) and 444 runners took advantage of the extended time. A total of 8,569 are in this year's field, which marks the second highest of all time. The 2019 champion will bank $10 million with all final table players winning at least $1 million. Only 2,880 players advanced to Day 3 with Julian Milliard sitting on the big stack with 948K.

Sunday July 7, 2019 at 4:10 pm
2019 WSOP Main Event: Earthquakes, Naked Guys, and Second Largest Field in History

The 2019 WSOP Main Event hit its second day of action and thus far the total is 8,225 runners and counting. Late registration is still open until Day 2C. The combined Day 1A and Day 1B flights competed into Day 2AB and when the dust settled, only 1,100 or so players remained. Tim Sui bagged the lead with 791K and counting. Of course, Day 2AB was rather boring compared to Day 1C, which was punctuated with a 7.1 earthquake that sent players scattering for cover and a naked guy that went viral.

Friday July 5, 2019 at 4:49 pm
2019 WSOP: Chainsaw Kessler with a big stack after Main Event Day 1B

The 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event continued with Day 1B action on the Fourth of July holiday. A total of 1,915 runners took part in the second of three opening flights. At the end of the night, only 1,417 players survived Day 1B and live on to fight in Day 2. British pro Adam Owen bagged up the big stack with nearly 352K. Chainsaw Kessler bagged up 301,800, which was good for fifth overall. John Hesp, one of the more popular players from last year's Main Event final table, busted on Day 1B.

Friday July 5, 2019 at 3:05 pm
2019 WSOP: Juha Helppi wins 10K Limit bracelet, Joao Vieira wins 5K NL bling

Another blast from the past won a bracelet at the 2019 WSOP in Las Vegas. This time, Finnish pro Juha Helppi emerged victorious after outlasting a field of 118 runners in Event #72 $10,000 Limit Hold'em Championship. He banked $306,622 for the win. Meanwhile, Joao Vieria from Portugal won Event #70 $5,000 NL 6-max and outlasted 815 players for his first bracelet and a sick payout worth $758,011.

Thursday July 4, 2019 at 8:15 pm
 2019 WSOP: Big Day 1A at Main Event, Jeremy Saderne wins Mini Main

The 2019 World Series of Poker continued with the start of the $10,000 buy-in Main Event Championship. This year's Day 1A is one of the biggest in recent memory with an 44% uptick from last year with 1,336 entries. 2013 bracelet winner Bryan Campanello bagged up the Day 1A chip lead with 417,500. Meanwhile, Frenchman Jeremy Saderne won his first bracelet with a victory in WSOP Event #69 $1,000 Mini Main Event. Saderne banked $628,654.

Wednesday July 3, 2019 at 3:35 pm
2019 WSOP: Robert Campbell wins 10K Stud 8, First double-bracelet winner this summer

Australian pro Robert Campbell won his second bracelet at the 2019 World Series of Poker to become the first and only player with multiple bracelet victories in 2019. Campbell moved into first place in the WSOP POY Race ahead of Dan Zack with a victory in Event #67 $10,000 Stud 8 Championship. He outlasted a small field of 151 runners to bank $385,763.

Wednesday July 3, 2019 at 1:41 am
2019 WSOP: David 'ODB' Baker wins second bracelet with LHE score

David 'ODB' Baker outlasted a field of 541 runners to win 2019 WSOP Event #64 $1,500 Limit Hold'em. His final table included Greg FBT Mueller and Jesus Ferguson. ODB banked $161,139 and moved over $3M in career WSOP earnings. Also, over in Event #68, Nicky 'Illari' Baris won the bracelet in the $1,000 NL ONLINE CHAMPIONSHIP and a first-place prize worth $303,738.75. He also prevented Jesus Ferguson from winning a bracelet and denied David 'Bakes' Baker another title.

Saturday June 29, 2019 at 12:25 pm
2019 WSOP: Philip Hui wins $50K Poker Players Championship, Anthony Zinno wins PLO8 bling

Philip Hui faded a field of 74 runners to win the 2019 WSOP $50,000 Poker Players Championship after he outlasted a tough final table and defeated Josh Arieh heads-up for the victory. Hui banked $1,099,311 for first place and he earned his second career bracelet. Meanwhile, Anthony Zinno won his second bracelet with a victory in Event #60 $1,500 PLO8 for a score worth $279,920.

Friday June 28, 2019 at 5:58 am
2019 WSOP: Josh Arieh Leads $50K Poker Players Championship final table

And then there were six remaining in the 2019 WSOP Poker Players Championship. Phil Ivey was the big stack at the end of Day 2 and Day 3 in the 50K PPC. However, on Day 4 Ivey met his fate in 8th place. David Oppenheim bubbled the final table that includes big stack Josh Arieh, Bryce Yockey, Phil Hui, John Esposito, Shaun Deeb, and Dan Cates. First place pays out $1.1 million on Friday.

Thursday June 27, 2019 at 3:16 pm
2019 WSOP: Kainalu McCue-Unciano wins MONSTER Stack for $1M, Ivey Leads 50K PPC with 12 to go

The 2019 50K Players Championship is down to 12 players and Phil Ivey is the chi pleader. He held the big stack at the end of Day 2 and he's got the big stack at the end of Day 3. Over in 2019 WSOP Event #50 $1,5000 MONSTER STACK, Kainalu McCue-Unciano outlasted a massive field of 6,035 runners to win a cool million and his first bracelet.

Free tournaments and added prizes

The Club Poker organizes freerolls and special tournaments with added prizes.
To qualify for free, register on our poker partners websites:

Tournaments Club Poker
Big Poker League
Thursday July 25, 2019 at 7:04 pm
$125 added
Big Poker League
Thursday August 1, 2019 at 7:04 pm
$125 added
Big Poker League
Thursday August 8, 2019 at 7:04 pm
$125 added
Big Poker League
Thursday August 15, 2019 at 7:04 pm
$125 added
Big Poker League
Thursday August 22, 2019 at 7:04 pm
$125 added