Gabe Kaplan at the 2006 World Series of Poker
|Residence||Los Angeles, California|
|Born||March 31, 1945|
|World Series of Poker|
Main Event finish
|World Poker Tour|
He was born in Brooklyn, New York. He is best known for his role as Gabriel "Gabe" Kotter in the 1970s sitcom, Welcome Back, Kotter, but he has become more visible in recent years in relation to the popularity of poker, especially the "No-Limit Texas Hold-'Em" type, particularly as co-host and joint commentator, with A.J. Benza, on previous seasons of High Stakes Poker on GSN.
As a boy, Kaplan had aspirations of being a Major League Baseball player. However, he was unable to make the roster of a minor league team and decided to pursue other interests. He began working as a bellman at a hotel in Lakewood, New Jersey. Touring comedians would sometimes perform at the hotel, and Kaplan began to work toward his own career as a stand-up comedian. Gabe honed his standup routine in 1964 in places such as the Cafe Tel Aviv at 250 West 72nd Street, New York City.
Kaplan's comedy was successful, and he toured the country with his act based on his childhood experiences in Brooklyn. He appeared five times on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson from May 1973 to December 1974. During this period he also recorded the comedy album Holes and Mello-Rolls, which included long routines about his high-school days, among other topics; the sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter, whose central characters he helped Eric Cohen and Alan Sacks create and whose core format he helped them to develop, was in part based on his comedy act. In the sitcom, Kaplan played Gabe Kotter, who returns as a teacher to the dysfunctional high school where he had himself been a student. The series ran from 1975 to 1979.
From 1976-1978, Kaplan served as team captain for ABC in the Battle of the Network Stars. In 1976, as ABC team captain, Kaplan out-sprinted a disgruntled Robert Conrad in a show-down to determine the final winner. Kaplan passed Conrad with a strong sprint to the finish line, giving ABC television network the win with 175 points.
After Welcome Back, Kotter, Kaplan continued with his stand-up act and was in several movies including a starring role in Fast Break in 1979, and portrayed comic Groucho Marx in a one-man show. In 1981, he starred in the TV series Lewis & Clark, which ran for one season, and served as team captain for NBC in the Battle of the Network Stars in that year.
Kaplan became involved in financial markets and poker during his acting career. He made his first appearance at the World Series of Poker in 1978. In 1980, Kaplan was considered one of poker's elite as he won the main event at Amarillo Slim's Super Bowl of Poker (SBOP) and was presented with "a loving cup that was so enormous it made the gaudy gold bracelets given to the winners at the World Series of Poker look understated." Over the next five years his reputation was solidified as he made the final table at the Super Bowl's main event two more times.
In July 2004, he finished third in a World Poker Tour no-limit Texas hold 'em event, earning more than $250,000. He also finished second in the 2005 World Series of Poker $5000 Limit Hold 'Em event, winning $222,515. Kaplan was joint TV commentator for the 1997 and 2002 WSOP events. In 2007, Kaplan won on NBC's Poker After Dark in the episode "Queens and Kings" after defeating Kristy Gazes heads-up and outlasting Howard Lederer, Ali Nejad, Vanessa Rousso and Annie Duke.
In the 2007 World Series of Poker Kaplan finished in ninth place in the $50,000 World Championship H.O.R.S.E event, winning $131,424; Freddy Deeb eventually won the event after defeating Bruno Fitoussi in heads-up play.
Kaplan has resumed performing stand-up comedy and is also working on adaptations of Welcome Back, Kotter. He still plays poker frequently and became a commentator for poker events and televised poker shows, including the National Heads-Up Poker Championship on NBC; High Stakes Poker on GSN; and the Intercontinental Poker Championship on CBS.
- US Search "Gabe Kaplan"
- Reback, Storm (2009-03-05). "From the Poker Vaults: Amarillo Slim's Super Bowl of Poker, Part I". PokerNews. Retrieved 2010-03-10.
- thehendonmob database Money winnings stats
- World Series of Poker Earnings, worldseriesofpoker.com
- *"NBC's 'Heads-Up' aces ratings" Variety.com, retrieved April 15, 2007
- *"High Stakes Poker Season 3 Premieres on Monday, January 15 at 9 PM" GSN.com retrieved April 15, 2007
- Gabe Kaplan at the Internet Movie Database
- World Poker Tour profile
- Hendon Mob tournament results
- Gabe Kaplan Official Web Site