Somehow, I was invited to a celebrity poker tournament sponsored by the coming W Hotel in Las Vegas. There was no buy in, however the winner was walking away with a $750,000 condo at the new hotel. Second and third place were to get plasma televisions. Here’s the catch, five professionals would be playing with us - Phil Helmuth, Phil Laak (The Unabomber), Phil Gordon, Annie Duke, and Antonio Esfandiari (The Magician).
Don’t asked me why I go invited, but I found myself at a table with Laak, Esfandiairi, a guy from Good Charlotte, and a couple actors from Everwood and That 70’s show.
I started out strong, doubling my chip count from $2500 to $5000. However, the magician went all in against me and I made the mistake of calling. This left me with very little chips. That said, I finished 21st out of 50, playing three hours, and I got to play against Helmuth, who gave running commentary through the night while playing… He also won the tournament.
However, the highlight of the night was meeting Kevin Smith. He’s been a comedy hero of mine ever since I saw “Clerks”. He gave me the impetuous to become an independent comedy director and set my sights on Sundance at fifteen years old. When I told him all this and that I directed, “Thank You For Smoking”, he responded by mentioning how much he liked my trailer and how it had received 4 out of 5 hamburgers on joblo.com. Adding… “4 out 5 hamburgers is really good.”