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Infamous ‘American Idol’ Contestant William Hung Lost Wife Over Poker, Gambling Addiction



One of “American Idol’s” most memorable contestants, William Hung, a Los Angeles area poker player, told People magazine his gambling addiction led to a failed marriage.

Hung, 41, infamously appeared on Season 3 of American Idol in 2004. He didn’t advance beyond the initial phase after having “one of the worst auditions” judge Simon Cowell had heard after listening to a horrendous off-key rendition of Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs.”

Despite the public humiliation, Hung parlayed the appearance on the popular musical talent scouting show into some fame and notoriety. He gave up the musical career years ago and has since played poker regularly, although those days now appear to be over. But his gambling habit, according to an interview with People, turned into an addiction that doomed his first marriage.

“I was earning way more doing that than I was at my regular job. It was going well for a while,” Hung said of his poker game.

Gambling on More than Just Poker

William Hung American Idol Poker
William Hung winning a charity poker tournament.

The only problem was he didn’t stick to just playing poker. He began to bet on sports heavily to a point it became an addition, and a costly one for multiple reasons.

“I know better 1705900746. I wasn’t supposed to do those things, but I did it anyway,” he said, calling himself “greedy. And I paid for it. I got divorced, and I learned I had to be smart about which risks I chose to take,” Hung continued.

On a positive note, Hung has since remarried and now has a stable job in Los Angeles as a data analyst. For the past decade, he’s played cash games regularly in Southern California, at Commerce Casino and other LA area card rooms.

Hung does have some small results on The Hendon Mob totaling $108,295 in lifetime live tournament cashes, his most recent being last June at Venetian in Las Vegas, a small cash in a $600 buy-in event. He’s also appeared as a headliner in some charity events, including a 2023 Ante 4 Autism tournament at South Point in Las Vegas, a tournament Hung won in 2022.

The former American Idol contestant has competed in some World Series of Poker (WSOP) events but hasn’t recorded a cash.

Hung told People he knew he was good at poker but “got greedy” and that’s why he started to bet on sports, which apparently was his downfall in the gambling world.

PokerNews Podcast: William Hung Tackles Poker

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