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Ben Affleck is Poker Talent

Movie star Ben Affleck has won $356,400 in Commerce Casino’s California State Poker Championship No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em event.

The event was held on June 21, and had a $10,000 buy-in with 90 players including Tobey Maguire. Affleck’s win has secured him a seat at the World Poker Tour Championship.

The actor outlasted a field of 90 players, including Tobey Maguire, who went out the first day of the three-day tournament, but stuck around to see the finish. Coming in second was poker pro Stan Goldstein and third was Castle Rock Entertainment president and co-founder Chuck Pacheco. Affleck used a couple of pairs -- two jacks in the case of Goldstein and two fives with Pacheco to knock them out of the tournament.

Casino executives said that Affleck played "a very strong game" and that he was relaxed and enjoyed himself immensely. In a brief speech after the tournament while being awarded his trophy, Affleck congratulated Goldstein on being a worthy opponent. With self-deprecating humor, the actor noted he was pleased with his own play, serving notice to the skeptics that he wasn't "a complete donkey" at poker. Among the players Affleck outlasted at the final table was former World Champion John Esposito.

Affleck, who has played in a number of the World Poker Tour events, is an avid student of the game who paid tribute to such WPT pro players as Annie Duke, Antonio Esfandiari and Allen Cunningham, as well as Gabe Kaplan, the former actor-turned poker pro, for tutoring him. Affleck obviously learned his lessons well as he fought his way to victory after starting the final table with the second to lowest chip count among the nine players.


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