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James Woods: “If I Won a WSOP Bracelet I'd Burst Out in Tears”
Today James Woods had his first shot at a WSOP gold bracelet, a prize he's been chasing for years.
Woods is best known for his work in more than 100 film and television projects but he's also an avid poker player.
Today in Las Vegas he made his first World Series of Poker final table and although he fell short of his first gold bracelet, Woods said the experience still means a lot.
Ultimately Woods finished seventh out of 308 players, snagging his biggest WSOP cash yet.
The event was a shootout, meaning everyone must win a single-table freezeout to advance to the next round.
Woods won two tables to earn a shot at the bracelet, battling his way through some of the best poker players on the planet. Most notably he defeated high-stakes pro Doug “WCGRider” Polk heads-up in the second round.
It was a huge feat since Polk is regarded by many as one of the very best heads-up No-Limit Hold'em specialists in the world.
On the first break of the final table, Woods told us about what this means to him, and what he had to do to get here.
For a complete rundown of the final table action check out Woods-Watch 2015, our comprehensive coverage of Woods's most recent WSOP run.
PokerListings: We get the feeling this really means something to you, making this final table.
James Woods: I'll tell you the best part of this experience for me. For the first time they didn't put the word 'actor' in front of my name. They just introduced me as James Woods.
Beating Doug Polk was a big thing for me because I really had to earn it.
It's nice to get a little respect in the poker world so you don't feel like you're just another amateur player.
Making a final table is always a good thing. It does great things for your confidence.
Some people come out here and get lucky right away but for most people you have to really pay your dues and put in the work.
Is this more meaningful for you because you had to work for it?
Yeah 100 per cent. Even just in this event I really had to earn it. Both heads-up matches I played were the longest of all the tables. I mean, I played Doug Polk for like eight straight hours.
I never got lucky once and I made that one phenomenal bluff. Unfortunately that bluff made it kind of hard on me today because I tried it against Doug Polk's friend just now and he called me down with a pair of nines and a four kicker but that's okay.
It's really difficult to win these things. It's all-out war and you can't make any mistakes. So I'm always amazed when people win bracelets. Some people might say they just got lucky but you really have to be doing the right things every step of the way.
I think this event had a really strong field for a $3k since all the amateurs are playing the Colossus.
Is this more meaningful for you because you had to beat so many great players to get here?
100 per cent. Playing with the best players in the world really is an honor and it's even better if you win because it really proves you can hold your own with the best.
I actually play better against the pros. I've basically stopped playing the small buy-ins because there are so many people who just want to bust me so they have a story to tell.
I call them tweeters. They're going to sit there and play any two fucking cards and if they get lucky and bust me they're on their phone the next second telling everyone about it.
Honestly I'd rather play against good players every day of the week. Give me Doug Polk. Even though he's going to beat me a lot of the time because he is so good, I at least know how these guys think a bit.
I can run the math and the numbers just as well as a lot of these guys.
That bluff last night for example, the best part of it wasn't even the shove on the river, it was the min-check-raise out of position on on the turn to set it up.
We've talked to some of the other players at the table and they've all said how impressed they are with how you're playing. What would this bracelet mean, especially considering the players you'll have to beat to get it?
Honestly, I think if I won this bracelet today I would burst into tears. That's how much it means to me.
I don't know if I will. David (Peters) is just so tough.
Early in this table I was splashing around a bit too much and not exactly playing my game but on the other hand, it let them know I'm not afraid to three and four bet and play big pots.
They have to know that if they're in a pot with me, their chips are in jeopardy.
They might be able to make the right folds and spot my bluffs but I've shown them that if they're in a hand with me they're going to have to sweat it.
If I go out I'll go out betting. I will not go out calling.