Johansson qualified for the tournament in the last poker tournament that James Gandolfini ever hosted – the LA Police Memorial Foundation Celebrity Poker Tournament.
“I had a nice run,” explained Johansson.
“I played really tight and seemed to get big hands when I needed them. James Gandolfini, who is no longer with us, Jennifer Tilly and a bunch of poker pros that are here were actually at the tournament.”
The special event raised over $100,000 for charity while Johansson received the $10k buy-in to the 2014 PCA.
Johansson Played Tons of Poker While Filming One Tree Hill
Johansson mentioned that he plays a lot of poker, mostly at the Commerce in LA. It started when he was filming One Tree Hill in Wilmington, North Carolina.
While his character Dan Scott caused mayhem on the hour-long drama for nine seasons, Johansson frequently journeyed into Wilmington to get his poker fix.
“Not many of the other actors were playing but there are a lot of cash games in Wilmington,” he said. “It’s a big poker haven there and they follow the game closely on TV and the Internet.”
It’s another beast at the PCA, however. Johansson was on the TV feature table with heavyweights like Chris Moneymaker for much of Day 1b and he was impressed with the level of competition.
“This is the best field I’ve ever played in,” he said. “It’s better than the WSOP, which I’ve played twice. There are a lot of players in Vegas who can’t play. These guys are all talented here.”
Despite the tough competition Johansson made it through to Day 2, albeit with a short stack. He still has a shot at the PCA first-place prize, which will be worth nearly $2 million.
Although One Tree Hill ended in 2012, Johansson has been very active in the acting world over the last couple years. He filmed three movies this summer, including Dear Eleanor, which was directed by Kevin Connolly of Entourage fame. He will also be directing a film he wrote in March.
“I’ve been really busy over the last year so I’m very happy to sort of slow down a bit and spend some time with my son and play a little poker,” he said.