Actor Aaron Paul could not have had a better debut in the Global Poker League.
The Breaking Bad star was funny, talked through many of his hands, and eventually got the better of long-time poker pro Fabrice Soulier going 2-1 over three matches.
He did it all while sequestered in the high-tech GPL Cube that allowed spectators to view the action through one-way glass.
“It is. So. Much. Hotter in there than you would think!” said Paul. “It was great. The pressure was on but it was a lot of fun.”
Busquet, Ho on Hand to Coach Paul
Paul got some turbo-charged coaching from his LA Sunset teammates Maria Ho and Olivier Busquet before the match and he put the tips to good use as he eventually got the best of Soulier.
Aaron Paul repping the LA Sunset
“They gave me some inside information on how Fabrice tends to play,” he said.
“I’ve watched him play quite a bit but it’s always tough going heads-up against a true pro. I do this for fun.”
Paul has been on the outskirts of the poker world for a number of years. He spectated the 2014 WSOP Main Event and played the 2015 edition, but this was a much more public foray into the game.
“It came through one of my friends,” he explained. “She knows I’m a huge poker fanatic. I jump at these opportunities as often as I can.
“I heard that Maria wanted to draft me… I didn’t think it was going to work out with my schedule, with the show [The Path], but I just asked if I could have this day off and they cleared it.”
LA Sunset Ascend Standings
Maria Ho and crew cheering on Aaron Paul.
Ho ended up drafting Paul as a wild card for the LA Sunset and he proved his worth by taking six out of a possible nine points.
That lifted the Sunset up to 101 points, second only to the Montreal Nationals in the Americas conference.
Because the audience got to see their holdings, Ho and Busquet were screaming advice at The Cube throughout the back-and-forth match.
Paul understood the appeal of the setup.
“I’ve gone to the Main Event to watch and you always want to know what those hole cards are as a spectator,” he said.
“I think that’s what’s so great about this. I was absolutely wondering what they were seeing. They knew our hands. It was a lot of fun. [Soulier] is such a pro. I was a little nervous but it was great.”
Paul: "I Do Consider Poker Kind of a Sport"
Aaron Paul winning in The Cube.
Paul who is busying juggling schedules between shooting Hulu original series The Path and multiple movies even took the time to explain what attracted him to poker in the first place.
“I’m obsessed with gambling,” he laughed.
“Winning and losing money. Gambling is fun. It’s not just gambling with poker though.
"What’s so great about poker is that you can play against a pro and — as you’ve seen today — you can sometimes win.
"It’s unlike any other sport — and I do consider this kind of like a sport. I’ve been playing it for a long time and I hope to play it for much longer.”
The GPL summer series runs daily from now until July 8, 2016. Watch the full heads-up match between Paul and Soulier below: