Living Legend James Woods: More Passion for Poker than Anyone

Hollywood icon, poker legend.

James Woods is having the best World Series of Poker of his life.

He’s been playing a lot of poker and he’s been playing well.

Woods has one final table, two cashes and, when we spoke to him last week, a big pile of chips in the $1,500 2-7 Triple Draw.

On the last break of the day Woods was one of the last players left in the tournament area. He had just taken down a large, three-way pot with an 8-6 low and was happily stacking his chips and laughing with the dealer.

After he stacked them, he broke them down to count them.

“27,000,” Woods told the dealer. “Pretty good, pretty good.”

James Woods 2
More passion than anyone.

The dealer agreed, the pot made him the table chip leader and put him in the top quartile of stacks tournament-wide.

"More Passion for the Game than Anyone"

Despite having a long and immensely successful Hollywood career, few things make Woods happier than a good game of poker.

“My buddy told me I have more passion for the game than anybody he knew,” Woods said. “Which is true.”

Because of his passion and his renewable energy for the game evident every time he makes it to the tables, Woods is one of eight nominees for the 2015 Living Legend Spirit of Poker Award.

Earlier this summer Woods made the final table of the $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em shootout after a pair of grueling tables.

Woods was one of the last players to make it through Day 1 after a heads-up battle against Athanasios Polychronpoulos. He had an even tougher heads-up match on Day 2.

Woods got heads-up with high-stakes heads-up specialist Doug “WCGRider” Polk. The two traded the lead and battled for nearly six hours before Woods put an end to it.

Woods advanced to the final table that included Nick Petrangelo, Loni Harwood, David Peters and Andreas Hoivold.

While Woods was eliminated in 7th place the 68-year-old showed he could still hold his own against the internet kids.

"They Need People Like Me Who Enjoy the Game"

“I think that young players are incredibly skilled and have tremendous amounts of training from the internet,” said Woods.

David Ulliott and James Woods
"I make it appealing to people that the game needs.”

“A lot of people my age go, ’Oh, these internet kids, bla bla bla,’ but I think, ‘Wow, these internet kids are fantastic.’

“I understand academic study and these are people who've studied a very sophisticated game in a very sophisticated way.”

Woods considers himself a student of the game, but while he might not be a pro he knows the role serious amateurs play in helping them exist.

“I think I offer the allure that poker has for everybody without whom professional poker players couldn't exist,” said Woods.

“They need people like me who enjoy the game, who have some modicum of skill, who study the game and who allow them to have people to play with besides each other.

“We even have a chance once in awhile of being pretty successful ourselves. I hope what I do for the game is that I make it appealing to people that the game needs.”

Vote for Woods of any of our 2015 Spirit of Poker Nominees right here until September 13.

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