Weeds Producer Salsberg Talks New Poker Series at WSOP

Matt Salsberg
Matt Salsberg

It’s doubtful Hollywood writer Matthew Salsberg could have scripted a better outcome to buying into the WSOP Main Event this year.

Salsberg, one of the executive producers and writers of Showtime’s hit series Weeds, has officially made it into the final 72 players of the Main Event and stands to make at least $100,000 on his $10k investment.

“This is my first Main Event, it’s been good so far,” he quipped. 

No stranger to poker, Salsberg has frequented smaller games in LA for nearly 10 years now and even played in a home game that included famous Jamie Gold-backer Crispin Leyser and poker pro Alex Outhred.

Part of the reason Salsberg got into poker was that he missed the competitive nature of playing sports when he was younger.

“This way I can get that without breaking a sweat or hurting my body,” he said.

Although Salsberg hasn’t had any big scores on the poker circuit it’s obvious he has a passion for the game with over $80,000 in live tournament earnings. He’s also made a few big online scores.

If you’ve watched any of Weeds you may have noticed there are a number of poker references, especially by Justin Kirk’s character Andy Botwin. You can thank Salsberg for every one.

“Yeah, those were all mine,” he laughed.

The timing of Salsberg’s run in the Main Event is impeccable as he’s currently developing a new comedy project for Showtime titled Whales that is based in the poker world.

According to Salsberg the show is based around four white suburban nerds who play online poker but are suddenly forced to take their game on the road when Black Friday forces online poker sites out of the United States.

“It’s basically about kids you’re seeing right here,” he said pointing to the Main Event tables. “The pilot starts in the Bahamas at the PCA. We’ll probably do Europe, Vegas and that kind of stuff.” 

Incredibly Salsberg could potentially hear back from Showtime whether the show will go forward tomorrow.

“They were excited about the concept and they liked the first draft a lot,” he said. “We’ll know in the next week if we’re going to get a pilot ordered or not.”

For the time being, Salsberg is essentially living out one of his character’s dreams with more than two million chips at one point in the Main Event.

“It’s pretty surreal actually,” he said. “I’ve had some weird success in poker. I’ve gone deep but never won a big one. I was always getting unlucky down the stretch.”

The cards may finally be going Salsberg’s way, however. Between his Day 1 and Day 2 of the Main Event he won a DeepStack tournament at the Rio for over $14k.

“The tournament went until like 5 a.m. and I had to get up and play the Main Event at noon,” he said.

The 2011 WSOP continues through July 19. For comprehensive coverage live from Las Vegas check PokerListings' Live Updates brought to you by PartyPoker.

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