The director of The Notebook and Alpha Dog is known to play in some of the biggest celebrity home games in Los Angeles and said that although he loves playing poker, he knows there's a big difference between home-game players and the pros he's facing at the World Series of Poker.
“We play all the time in Los Angeles. I like the game but it's not my life. There's a giant difference between amateurs and professionals,” Cassavetes told PokerListings in Las Vegas.
“It's an active community in Los Angeles. People like to play and they like to play big and they're not very good, me included.
“It's exclusivity number one, but number two if you're not very good maybe you can use your money against someone else. Maybe that's one of the weapons in their arsenal.
“Nobody thinks they suck. Everyone thinks they're good,” he laughed.
Cassavetes Has Played WSOP Since 2005
Despite ranking himself as a recreational player Cassavetes has had success on the elite live tournament scene. In 2005 he finished in the top 2% of the WSOP Main Event, snagging more than $77k.
“Poker has been a phenomenon,” said Cassavetes. “There's no other sport in the world like it.
“Federer and Djokovic played right? You can't play against him. There's no chance. But you can play against Phil Ivey. You're going to lose 98% of the time but sometimes you'll win and that's what people love.
“Everyone wants to be the best at something and for a minute at the WSOP, if you run good and play good, you can do that.”
Cassavetes played gin, bridge and backgammon until catching the poker bug along with the rest of the world when Chris Moneymaker won the world championship in 2003.