1. Q: How did you get involved with UPC?
A: Danny (the producer) saw me on the 2004 WSOP final table 7-card stud and he saw the bio they did on me that I was an actor and a poker player. He thought I would be a good fit for the show and I’m having a great time doing it.
2. Q: What’s your favorite part of doing the show
A: I have the latitude to work around my poker schedule and do the shows on my off time. Playing poker is what I do and it would have been been a difficult decision if doing this show had interfered with my playing in the professional tournaments.
3. Q: How has your experience been with guest hosts in the past?
A: I think one of the things that made our show unique is that we had guest hosts because poker is subjective. Poker players will always have disagreements and having these top recognizable players expressing their opinions and giving viewers a different perspective every week. On the other hand, Kenna and I have such great chemistry and it’s exciting for me to work with him on a regular basis.
4. Q: Are you and Kenna friends outside the show?
A: Absolutely! Kenna is a great guy and we’ve known each other for a long time.
5. Q: Is it true that you gave Kenna his nick name?
A: That is true. I did. It was at the final table of the UPC and Kenna was wearing his cowboy hat that day and there was some drunk woman rooting him on and she was screaming “You go, Cowboy!” and I said “That’s ‘Cowboy’ Kenna James.”
6. Q: So they let you say whatever you want to say.
A: Everything that we say is unfiltered. We give our opinions and whether the opinions are good or bad – that’s our opinions. Danny has told me he’s gotten some emails about guest hosts like Phil Helmuth that viewers were saying he was a little harsh.
7. Q: Do you play in UPC tournaments?
A: No. But in the new ‘Cash Poker’ game we’re gonna do something that’s never been done. I will be playing in the game and also commentating which will be interesting because usually, when we are commentating, we’re guessing about what’s going on in each player’s mind. When I do the commentary for ‘Cash Poker’, I will be in a unique position to actually tell the viewers what I was thinking and why I did what I did.
8. Q: Tell us about Cash Poker
A: ‘Cash Poker’ is a game of amateurs that want to be on the big stage with the pros. In tournaments, they only way amateurs can play against the big pros is to win against a huge field and scratch their way to the final table. In Cash Poker, anyone can play as long as they put up their own money. It’s a glimpse into the way that cash games really work in the real world, in the casinos.
9. Q:Do you prefer tournaments or cash games
A: At this point, with the payoff in tournaments being as high as they now are combined with the excitement you feel when you make a final table; I’d have to say I prefer a tournament. But only when I make it to the final table.
10. Q: you came to Los Angeles to become an actor, how did you become a professional poker player?
A: When I came out to Los Angeles to act; I came to act and study and wait for my big break. I didn’t know I could make my living playing poker and it was a thrill to discover that I could. As an actor I had several near misses where there was a big part on the line and it came down to me and another guy and it went the other way. I enjoyed a modest success with my acting career, but my poker success was a very pleasant surprise. All things being equal, I prefer my life the way it has come to pass as opposed to the way I once envisioned it.
11. Q: Where do you see your life going from here?
A: Well, 2006 has been a very successful year. I am currently in first place for Bluff Magazine’s player of the year. This is my goal for this year and it would be something that I would be very proud of. Long term goals surround ideas I have for a poker show and also a movie, not for me to act in but for me to put together as a project. I’m definitely looking forward to what the future holds.