My World Series "vacation" from the silver screen

Wednesday afternoon, I'm going to be headed into Day 2 of the World Series of Poker Main Event. It's so good to be here and still have chips. I've been looking forward to this for a long time.

The World Cup of field hockey was in early June and I spent two weeks in the studio doing commentary and analysis for the TV broadcast. I'm also still shooting my role in the TV drama series Bluf. We're filming ten episodes total and I'm starring in seven of them.

The series centers around a group of young poker-playing guys, and I play the main character's nemesis. We're rivals at the poker table, but he sort of likes me and I abuse that a little bit to my advantage. In one scene, my character decides to get to know him a little better and they have this flirtatious conversation, but she later contacts his father whom he hasn't seen in years and invites him to this big heads-up match I've challenged him to. He does well to start, but once he realizes his father is there, he gets distracted and I end up beating him. Of course, I would never do anything like that in real life, but it's fun to play a character that takes on weakness in such dramatic fashion! I also get to wear some pretty outrageous outfits. Just yesterday they had me dressed in an aubergine leather jacket and pants with these long black fake nails. Don't they know fake nails make shuffling chips impossible?


The gang in front of our ride


Don't ask

Another cool thing we've done on the show is include a bunch of the Team PokerStars Pros. We shot a little bit in Monte Carlo during the EPT Grand Final and had Vanessa Selbst, Pierre Neuville, and Theo Jorgensen make cameos. The De Meulder brothers also appear in the background from time to time. They are supposed to be my minions and every time I play a final table on the show, they're railing me. And I play a lot of final tables on this show! Last year, the three of us appeared on the Dutch version of Survivor and were nicknamed the "Evil Poker Trio," so it's a cool on-camera reunion.


Leo Margets with the show's main character

I've had so much fun being on the show, but I have to admit, shooting some of these poker scenes while the WSOP was going on is torture. I still sit at a poker table all day with cards and chips in front of me but don't get to play. It's horrible! Normally when I'm at the table I'm feeling the excitement of playing, trying to figure people out, going through layers of strategy. On set I'm just sitting there for four hours doing the same thing over and over and over again, and by the end of the day, I'm dying to play for real. I think this whole experience has made me realize that being a poker player is much nicer than being an actor.

For now, though, I've got my focus on building up a stack in Day 2. It's very nice to be able to put chips in the pot without someone yelling "Cut!"

Fatima Moreira de Melo is a PokerStars SportStar