Former Poker Pro in Cast of Survivor: South Pacific

James Rice. Photo: Heartland Poker Tour

The casting team at CBS’ Survivor has dipped back into the poker pool for a new member of the cast for Survivor 23: South Pacific.

James Rice III, or “Jim” as he's called on the show, has been confirmed as one of the castaways for the latest season shot in Samoa and airing beginning Sept. 14.

Rice mentions his professional poker career in his pre-interviews for the season although for the show he's identified under his newest line of work - running two medical marijuana dispensaries in Denver, Colorado.

Originally from either Michigan or Chicago according to his online poker profiles, Rice says in his official show bio that he's won over 40 poker tournaments.

Only four or five are listed in his online profiles with the biggest being a win in a $2k No-Limit Hold’em event at the 2006 WPT Festa al Lago at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

Rice took home $116,525 for the win, beating Jean “Prince” Gaspard who came second, Brian Rast who finished fourth, Minh Nguyen in fifth and Chip Jett in sixth.

He also has a small cash on the Heartland Poker Tour from 2006 and a third-place finish for $66k in this year’s HTP event at the Golden Gates Casino in Black Hawk, Colorado.

In his interview with the HPT after his third-place finish he said he was confident he was the best player at the table and his “confidence comes from playing poker my entire life. I’m most comfortable with two cards in my hand.”

Jean Robert Bellande
JRB: Survivor's first poker foray.

Among the 35-year-old Rice’s other Survivor bio details are that he’s “worked on Wall Street, started several successful businesses and earned his MBA at a top five school from the University of Michigan.”

He adds that he thinks “No one with my combination of character, intelligence, cunning and athleticism has ever been on Survivor."

In his video interview with Entertainment Weekly’s Dalton Ross, he tones the number down to 20 poker tournaments that he’s won.

He also says he owned a wine store in Denver which he sold for a profit, has never smoked pot before and that in his Survivor application video he had 20 lbs of medicinal marijuana behind him.

Survivor has famously gone down the poker road before with Jean-Robert Bellande, who played the “bad boy” in the cast of Survivor: China.

Early speculation among the Survivor blogs and fan forums is that Rice isn't a real contender for the title of sole survivor.

More pre-Survivor info on Rice here.

Survivor: South Pacific premieres on CBS on Wednesday, Sept. 14th with a 90-minute preview episode.

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