• Gabe Kaplan is a professional poker player, actor, and comedian, known for Welcome Back, Kotter and High Stakes Poker.
• His net worth is estimated to be over $30 million, mainly from acting projects and financial investments.
• He has won over $2 million in poker competitions.
• After a failed attempt to become a professional baseball player, he pursued a career in comedy and acting, leading to the creation of Welcome Back, Kotter.
• Over the years he has also appeared in several television programs, films, and poker tournaments.

Known for movies

Short Info

Net Worth$30 million
Date Of BirthMarch 31, 1945
FactHis experiences as a student in an under-achieving class (like the Sweathogs) in the early 1960s was the basis for Welcome Back, Kotter (1975).

Who is Gabe Kaplan?

Gabriel Weston Kaplan was born on 31 March 1945, in Brooklyn, New York City USA, and is a professional poker player, actor and comedian, perhaps still best known for his role in the television sitcom “Welcome Back, Kotter” which aired during the 1970s. In recent years, he’s been better known for his work on the GSN program “High Stakes Poker”, in which he serves as a commentator.

The Net Worth of Gabe Kaplan

As of early-2020, Gabe Kaplan’s net worth is estimated to be over $30 million, earned through success in his various endeavors. The majority of his wealth was gained from successful acting projects, which in turn funded many financial investments which helped him prosper.

He’s also won over $2 million in poker competitions.

Early Life, Education, and Career Beginnings

Gabe grew up in Brooklyn and is of Jewish descent, with his family settling 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 attended New Utrecht High School located near home.

After matriculating, he tried out to become a part of a minor league team but was unsuccessful.

This led him to decide that baseball wasn’t really for him, and he began looking at other avenues. While doing so, he worked in New Jersey as a bellman for a hotel, where he saw comedians go to the hotel and perform stand-up shows, which inspired him to pursue something similar. He began developing his skills and jokes, often performing at New York City’s Café Tel Aviv and other local locations. He improved to the point that his comedy routine was attracting a lot of attention.

Acting Career – Welcome Back Kotter

Gabe gained the opportunity to tour around the country, performing his stand-up routine, which often consisted of experiences he had as a child.

Gabe Kaplan

At this time, he was being 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 got on board with this opportunity, leading to the creation of “Welcome Back, Kotter”. The comedy show focuses on him playing the titular high school teacher, who becomes involved in a remedial class featuring ethnically and racially diverse children.

The show ran for four years and elevated his career nationally. The show built his comedy career further, and he incorporated his personal experiences into the show. While working on the show, he also competed in “Battle of the Network Stars” representing ABC. After the end of his show in 1979, he continued his stand-up tours, and also got a lead role in “Fast Break”, which was released shortly afterwards.

Continued Acting Work and Poker

Over the next few years, Gabe balanced his comedy work with several acting endeavors. In 1981, he had another starring role in “Lewis & Clark”, playing the titular Lewis, which ran and featured a New York native who has a dream of starting a country-music club.

After a few more television appearances, he took a long break from acting, to focus on other endeavors brought about by the financial success his career brought him. He invested a lot of his money in the financial markets and was successful, leading to his wealth growing exponentially. He then became interested in playing poker at a professional level, making his debut in the World Series of Poker during the late 1970s. After a few years his skill became well known, and he was considered one of the best players at the time, solidified with a win at the Super Bowl of Poker. He continued to showcase his skill in the next five years, and remained a mainstay of poker for decades to come.

Recent Endeavors

In 2004, Kaplan made headlines once more as he reached third place of a Texas hold’em event by World Poker Tour, at which he won over $250,000. He also consistently placed highly at various World Series of Poker (WSOP) events. During this time he became a close partner and collaborator for WSOP, becoming a commentator for many of their events.

He also competed in an episode of “Poker After Dark”, in which he defeated Vanessa Rousson, Kristy Gazes, Ali Nejad, Annie Duke, and Howard Lederer.

He continued to build his tenure with a ninth-place finish at the 2007 WSOP HORSE event.

He then competed in “Poker After Dark” once more, and won again, with many considering the episode one of the greatest comebacks in the show’s history. In terms of his television work, he often appeared in various poker-related programs such as “Intercontinental Poker Championship”, “High Stakes Poker”, and “National Heads-Up Poker Championship”. He also made an appearance in “The Grand”, and released the book “Kotter’s Back: E-mails from a Faded Celebrity to a Bewildered World”, which featured absurd emails he composed and people’s reaction to them. In 2018, he returned to mainstream television with a guest appearance in “BoJack Horseman” – the Netflix show is considered one of the greatest series of all time.

Personal Life

Gabe has never revealed any information about a romantic partner or a wife, preferring to keep to himself. He does have a daughter, but has shared no information about her mother. There have been rumors that he is gay, due to his support of same-sex marriage in the US, but the rumors were shot down after he posed in a picture with his daughter. There were also some rumors that he became romantically involved 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 on Gabe’s end due to their professional relationship.

General Info

Full NameGabe Kaplan
Net Worth$30 million
Date Of BirthMarch 31, 1945
Height1.82 m
ProfessionScreenwriter, Sports commentator, Comedian, Actor, Professional Poker Player, Investor


ChildrenRachel Kaplan
ParentsDorothy Kaplan, Charles Kaplan


AwardsTV Land Anniversary Award, TV Land Teacher of the Year Award
NominationsPeople's Choice Award for Favorite Performer in a New TV Program
MoviesMr. Kaplan, The Grand, Tulips, Nobody's Perfekt, Fast Break
TV ShowsNational Heads-Up Poker Championship, High Stakes Poker, Lewis & Clark, Welcome Back, Kotter

Social profile links


1Finished 3rd in the World Poker Tour Event at The Mirage in Las Vegas [March 2005]
2Finished 2nd in the 2005 WSOP $5000 Limit Hold 'Em Event. [2005]
3Release of his book, "Kotter's Back". [2007]
4Working with the original creator of Welcome Back, Kotter (1975) to create a new movie musical. [1998]
5Was a broadcaster for the only outdoor World Series of Poker along with Phil Hellmuth in 1997 on ESPN. The event took place outside of Binion's in the middle of the Fremont Street Experience.
6His experiences as a student in an under-achieving class (like the Sweathogs) in the early 1960s was the basis for Welcome Back, Kotter (1975).
7Provided commentary for the National Heads-Up Poker Challenge on CNBC in 2005.
8Worked as a standup comic, a sitcom and film actor, and a disc jockey.
9Provided coverage on ESPN for the 2002 World Series of Poker.
10Champion poker player
11Financial investor




Lewis & Clark1981-1982TV Series written by - 2 episodes
Welcome Back, KotterTV Series created by - 95 episodes, 1975 - 1979 creator - 94 episodes, 1975 - 1979 written by - 2 episodes, 1977 - 1978 story - 1 episode, 1978 teleplay - 1 episode, 1978


The Grand2007Seth Schwartzman
Jack the Dog2001Richie
The Hoboken Chicken Emergency1984TV MovieAnthony DePalma
Murder, She Wrote1984TV SeriesFreddy York
Lewis & Clark1981-1982TV SeriesStewart Lewis
Tulips1981Leland Irving
Nobody's Perfekt1981Dibley
Welcome Back, Kotter1975-1979TV SeriesGabe Kotter
Fast Break1979David Greene (as Gabriel Kaplan)
Police Story1977TV SeriesPaul Cazenovia
The Love Boat1976TV MovieStan Nichols


Mike & Mike2015TV Series 1 episode
Welcome Back, Kotter1976TV Series performer - 1 episode


Mr. Show with Bob and David1996TV Series special thanks - 1 episode


Gotham Comedy Live2014TV Series documentaryHimself - Host
The 9th Annual TV Land Awards2011TV SpecialHimself
Good Morning America1979-2011TV SeriesHimself
High Stakes Poker2006-2010TV SeriesHimself
TV's 50 Funniest Catch Phrases2009TV MovieHimself
National Heads-Up Poker Championship2008TV Mini-SeriesHimself
Poker After Dark2007-2008TV SeriesHimself
The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch2005TV SeriesHimself
National Heads-Up Poker Championship2005TV SeriesHimself - Host (2005)
World Poker Tour2004TV SeriesHimself
Hollywood Squares2004TV SeriesHimself
Just for Laughs2003TV SeriesHimself
ABC's 50th Anniversary Celebration2003TV Special documentaryHimself
TV Land Awards: A Celebration of Classic TV2003TV Special documentaryHimself
Just for Laughs: Montreal Comedy Festival2001TV Special documentaryHimself
E! True Hollywood Story2000TV Series documentaryHimself
Truth Behind the Sitcom Scandals 52000TV Movie documentaryHimself
50 Years of Television: A Celebration of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Golden Anniversary1997TV Movie documentaryHimself
The New Hollywood Squares1989TV SeriesHimself
War of the Stars1987TV Series 1987
The 37th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards1985TV SpecialHimself
Dropout1985TV MovieHimself - Host
Catch a Rising Star's 10th Anniversary1982TV SpecialHimself - Comedian
Battle of the Network Stars XI1981TV SpecialHimself - NBC Team Captain (as Gabriel Kaplan)
The Hollywood Squares1975-1979TV SeriesHimself / Himself - Panelist
Battle of the Network Stars V1978TV SpecialHimself - ABC Team Captain (as Gabriel Kaplan)
Battle of the Network Stars IV1978TV SpecialHimself - ABC Team Captain
A Tribute to Mr. Television Milton Berle1978TV SpecialHimself
The CBS Festival of Lively Arts for Young People1978TV SeriesHimself - Host
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson1973-1978TV SeriesHimself / Himself - Guest Host
ABC's Silver Anniversary Celebration1978TV SpecialHimself
Celebrity Challenge of the Sexes 21977TV MovieHimself
Battle of the Network Stars III1977TV SpecialHimself - ABC Team Captain
The 29th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards1977TV SpecialHimself - Presenter
US Against the World1977TV MovieHimself
Celebrity Challenge of the Sexes1977TV MovieHimself
Battle of the Network Stars II1977TV SpecialHimself - ABC Team Captain
Dinah!1975-1977TV SeriesHimself
Dean Martin Celebrity Roast: Gabe Kaplan1977TV SpecialHimself
Battle of the Network Stars1976TV SpecialHimself - ABC Team Captain
The Sonny and Cher Show1976TV SeriesHimself / Various Characters
The Captain and Tennille1976TV SeriesHimself
Van Dyke and Company1976TV SeriesHimself
Dean Martin Celebrity Roast: Joe Garagiola1976TV SpecialHimself
The Mike Douglas Show1974-1976TV SeriesHimself - Co-Host / Himself - Comedian / Himself - Actor / ...
Donny and Marie1976TV SeriesHimself
Dean Martin Celebrity Roast: Dean Martin1976TV SpecialHimself
The 2nd Annual People's Choice Awards1976TV SpecialHimself - Accepting Award for Favourite New Television Program and Presenter: Introducing Raymond Burr to Stage
The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast: Muhammad Ali1976TV SpecialHimself
Lola!1976TV SeriesHimself
Celebration: The American Spirit1976TV MovieHimself
Celebrity Bowling1976TV SeriesHimself
Celebrity Sweepstakes1975TV SeriesHimself
The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast: Evel Knievel1975TV SpecialHimself
Van Dyke and Company1975TV SpecialHimself
The Gladys Knight & the Pips Show1975TV SeriesHimself
The Hollywood Palladium1974TV MovieHimself
The Merv Griffin Show1973TV SeriesHimself

Archive Footage

Inside Edition2014TV Series documentaryHimself - Welcome Back Kotter
Paul Williams Still Alive2011DocumentaryHimself
When Stand-Up Comics Ruled the World2004TV Movie documentaryHimself (uncredited)


Won Awards

2006TV Land AwardTV Land AwardsTeacher of the YearWelcome Back, Kotter (1975)
2003TV Land AwardTV Land AwardsClassic TV Teacher of the YearWelcome Back, Kotter (1975)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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