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Main Event is Mecca for Lou Diamond Phillips
Lou Diamond Phillips has waited a long time to play in the Main Event at the World Series of Poker.
The "Numb3rs" actor has been a fixture in celebrity tournaments in Los Angeles but hadn't played on poker's biggest stage until this year.
"It's like a dream come true," Phillips told PokerListings.com.
"I've wanted to play the Main Event for the last five years but unfortunately I was working every time."
According to Phillips, it took a last-minute phone call to get him to Sin City.
"I thought I had missed it this year and literally got the call from PokerStars on Friday asking me to come out," he said. "I turned to the wife and baby and said 'Let's go to Vegas.'"
A week later, Phillips finds himself still alive late on Day 3, sitting with double the average stack just 300 players from the money.
"The rest of the day I'm going to play tighter than a gnat's ass," he said. "I want to get to tomorrow.
"We're inching towards the money and I have a stack that will allow me to wait for a little bit."
Phillips told PokerListings it's not really the $21,365 minimum cash that interests him.
"It's the challenge," he said. "[I want] to be considered a legitimate poker player. To cash in the Main Event would be huge.
"I don't even want to dream about the final table just yet. I'm taking it one day at a time."
The native of Stubic Bay Naval Station in the Philippines has more than 90 credits to his name on IMDB and only three results in the Hendon Mob database but has a long history with the game.
"Oh man, you know, [I was a] college player," he said.
"I got introduced to No Limit Hold'em in the great first World Poker Tour Celebrity Invitational and played that a few times.
"I started playing at the Commerce and cashed in a few tournaments there and one at the Bike."
But nothing, Phillips said, compares to the Main Event.
"This is the Mecca of poker. It's the biggest tournament I've ever played and I'm pretty thrilled to still be here on the third day looking pretty good going into the last level."
With files from Eduardo Sevillano.