Exclusive: Interview with Celeb Tourney Participant Fred Wallin

Written by:
Thomas Somach
Published on:
Shannon Elizabeth

More than 100 celebrities from sports, entertainment and professional poker turned out this past weekend for the Los Angeles Poker Classic Celebrity Invitational Tournament, raising more than $100,000 for homeless charity Chrysalis.

In an exclusive interview with, one of the celebrity tournament participants, Los Angeles sportscaster and radio talk show host Fred Wallin, revealed what the experience was like.

"It was only the third no-limit Texas hold 'em tournament I'd ever played in, so I wasn't expecting to do much, considering my inexperience," Wallin, who hosts a daily radio show on KCAA in Los Angeles, told

"But when I sat down at my table for the start of the tournament, I knew my goose was really cooked," he said. "Sitting next to me on my right was Jonathan Duhamel, who just won the 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event. Also at my table was actress-poker pro Jennifer Tilly, who is one of the best female players in the world and has also won a WSOP bracelet. Another top pro, Robert Williamson III, who's earned almost $2 million in his poker career, was also at my table.

"I talked to Duhamel a lot during the tournament," Wallin continued. "He was a very nice guy, very humble and down to earth for a guy who is world-famous and a multi-millionaire. He told me his life has been very hectic since winning the WSOP Main Event last November. He said he is constantly flying all over the world, participating in one event or another almost every weekend. From what I could gather, he was being paid by someone to be at this event, unlike most of the others there.

"He was also a very smart fellow. He's from Quebec, so I wasn't surprised when I heard him speak in English to some folks and in French to some others. But what really floored me was when he started talking Chinese to someone. And I got the distinct impression those weren't the only languages he knew.

"Jennifer Tilly was also very friendly. When she sat down at the table, she introduced herself to everybody. She was wearing her trademark very low-cut top. Her boyfriend, fellow poker pro Phil "Unabomber" Laak, was also at the tournament but at another table. Williamson was friendly too and also very helpful. On a couple of hands I wasn't sure what to do and he gave me some good advice.

"During the course of the evening, I saw lots of other celebrities, including Dr. Phil, Don Cheadle, Jerry Buss, Barry Greenstein, Mike Sexton, Willie Gault, Gina Gershon, Corey Feldman and Mark Steines."

So how did Wallin do?

"I lasted about three hours," he recalled. "The highlight of the evening was when I went heads-up in a hand with Duhamel. I beat him with a pair of kings. I will have a story to tell the rest of my life."

Also participating in the tournament were Antonio "The Magician" Esfandiari, Scotty Nguyen, Liv Boeree, Linda Johnson, Lou Diamond Phillips, Jack Haley Jr., Alex Kravchenko, Shannon Elizabeth, Dean Cain, Hank Azaria, Michael Clarke Duncan, Samm Levine, Mimi Rogers, Andrea Savage, Lorenzo Lamas, Camryn Manheim, Maura Tierney, Kelly Monaco, Leanza Cornett, Tony Dennison, Michael Gladis, Rich Sommer, Jennifer Morrison, John Tenny, Will Sasso, Zachary Levi, Sean Astin, Matthew Lillard, Billy Burke, Jennifer Cadena, Natasha Alam, Daniel Baldwin, Patrick Warburton, Eddie Cibrian, Shanna Moakler, Donnie Walberg, Parvesh Cheena, Michael Vartan, Hope Dworaczyk, Adrian Paul, Nicholas Gonzalez, Shaun Sipos, Ryan Cabrera, Barbara Mandrell, Leigh Steinberg, Jose Canseco, Coco Crisp and Randy Couture.

A final table of ten players was determined late Sunday night.

Play in the tournament is now suspended until next month, when it will resume and a tourney champion will be determined.

By Tom Somach Staff Writer