Who is Gabe Kaplan?
Born on March 31, 1945 in Brooklyn, New York City, USA, Gabriel Weston Kaplan is a professional poker player, actor and comedian, perhaps best known for his role on the television series “Welcome Back, Kotter”, which aired during the 1970s. In recent years he has become better known for his work on the GSN program “High Stakes Poker”, in which he acts as a commentator.
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Gabe Kaplan’s Net Worth
As of early 2020, Gabe Kaplan’s net worth is estimated to be over $30 million, earned through success in his various endeavors. Most of his wealth came from successful acting projects, which in turn financed many financial investments that helped him prosper.
He has also won over $2 million in poker competitions.
Early life, education and career start
Gabe grew up in Brooklyn and is of Jewish descent. His family settled in the US to find safer and better opportunities. As a child, he became very interested in a career as a professional baseball player, hoping to make it in Major League Baseball (MLB). He went to New Utrecht High School near home.
After his entrance exam, he tried to be part of a minor league team, but couldn’t.
This led him to decide that baseball wasn’t really for him, and he started looking for other avenues. While doing this, he worked in New Jersey as a doorman for a hotel, where he saw comedians going to the hotel and performing stand-up shows, inspiring him to pursue something similar. He began to develop his skills and jokes, often performing at Café Tel Aviv in New York City and other local venues. He improved to the point that his comedic routine attracted a lot of attention.
Acting career – Welcome back Kotter
Gabe had the opportunity to tour the country and perform his stand-up routine, which often consisted of experiences he had as a child.
At the time, he was invited to several television programs, including “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” in which he made five guest appearances in a year. While working on a comedy album about his high school experiences, he was then approached by television producers to create a sitcom starring himself.
He seized this opportunity, which led to the creation of “Welcome back, Kotter”. The comedy show centers on him as the titular high school teacher, who becomes involved in a remedial class of ethnically and racially diverse children.
The show ran for four years and elevated its career nationally. The show continued to build his comedic career and he incorporated his personal experiences into the show. While working on the show, he also participated in “Battle of the Network Stars” representing ABC. After his show ended in 1979, he continued his stand-up tours and also landed a starring role in “Fast Break”, which was released shortly after.
Continued acting and poker
Over the next few years, Gabe balanced his balance comic work with different acting endeavors. In 1981, he had another starring role in “Lewis & Clark,” playing the titular Lewis, who ran and had a New York native who dreamed of starting a country music club.
After a few more TV appearances, he took a long hiatus from acting to focus on other endeavors brought about by the financial success of his career. He invested much of his money in the financial markets and was successful, growing his wealth exponentially. He then became interested in playing poker professional level and made his World Series of Poker debut in the late 1970s. After a few years, his skill became known and he was considered one of the best players of the time, which was confirmed with a victory in the Super Bowl of Poker. He continued to demonstrate his skills over the next five years and remained a mainstay of poker for decades to come.
In 2004, Kaplan made headlines again when he placed third in a Texas Hold’em event by World Poker Tour, winning over $250,000. He has also consistently held high positions at several World Series of Poker (WSOP) events. During this time, he became a close partner and collaborator for WSOP and became a commentator for many of their events.
He also took part in an episode of “Poker After Dark”, where he defeated Vanessa Rousson, Kristy Gazes, Ali Nejad, Annie Duke and Howard Lederer.
He continued to build his career with a ninth-place finish at the 2007 WSOP HORSE event.
He then re-entered “Poker After Dark” and won again, with many considering the episode one of the biggest comebacks in the show’s history. As for his television work, he often appeared on various poker-related programs such as “Intercontinental Poker Championship”, “High Stakes Poker” and “National Heads-Up Poker Championship”. He also appeared in “The Grand” and released the book “Kotter’s Back: Emails from a Faded Celebrity to a Bewildered World,” featuring absurd emails he wrote and people’s reactions to them. In 2018, he returned to mainstream television with a guest appearance on “BoJack Horseman” – the Netflix show is considered one of the greatest series of all time.
Gabe has never revealed any information about a romantic partner or a woman, preferring to keep it to herself. He does have a daughter, but has not shared any information about her mother. He is rumored to be gay because of his support for same-sex marriage in the US, but the rumors were shot after he posed for a photo with his daughter. There were also some rumors that he would be in a romantic relationship with “Welcome Back, Kotter” co-star Marcia Strassman, who played his on-screen wife, but it has never been confirmed. She passed away in 2014, and it led to a lot of coverage of Gabe’s end due to their professional relationship.