James Woods Sparks Vaccine Debate Amid Poker Tournament


Over the weekend, it wasn’t actor James Woods’ poker skills that made headlines, but rather his online musings around the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines. Woods, a well-known actor and poker enthusiast, took to X, a social media platform where his following exceeds a staggering 3.9 million people, to question if any of them had truly benefitted from receiving the vaccine.

Currently, the atmospheric city of Las Vegas hums with the electric anticipation of the 55th annual World Series of Poker (WSOP). Held at the illustrious Horseshoe on the Strip, the event attracts the world’s most skilled poker players, all hoping to secure the coveted first-place Main Event prize of $11 million or more. Woods, with his many comrades participating in the series, peers deeply into the excitement of the tournament, which began in May and extends until the 17th of July, punctuated by the conclusion of the Main Event.

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Woods, while absorbed in the high-stakes poker atmosphere, was informed by many of his fellow players that they’ve contracted illnesses upon arrival in the heat Carved deserts of Southern Nevada. This news stirred the two-time Oscar nominee, whose acting credits span films like “Casino,” “The Onion Field,” and “Salvador,” into sparking a debate among his large online following about the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines.

With numerous WSOP players complaining of feeling under the weather, there is no certain way of telling whether COVID-19 is the culprit, especially since the days of mandatory testing for the virus are long gone. And while other illnesses, like the common cold or the flu could be to blame, that hasn’t deterred Woods from speculating that COVID-19, especially among the vaccinated, is largely responsible.

The actor boldly relayed that every vaccinated individual he knew contracted the virus, their symptoms oddly mirroring that of a common cold. This made him question the benefit, if any, gained from receiving the vaccine. His online broadcast continued to shed light on his friends’ adverse reactions to the continual series of ‘booster’ shots, stating that with each subsequent jab, their reactions seemed to worsen. Citing the inexplicable instances of young, healthy individuals dropping dead globally, he appeared to link these unfortunate events to the vaccines, often required as a condition of employment. He argued that the only beneficiaries of this entire ordeal were the pharmaceutical bigwigs and those vehemently opposed to Trump.

Woods, an unabashed and staunch supporter of the former casino magnate, alleges that his outpouring of backing for Trump led to his untimely dismissal from The Gersh Agency, his talent agency of many years, back in July 2018. His recent post regarding the vaccine benefits, or lack thereof, amidst the WSOP event earned him a wave of support in response. One follower echoed Woods’ sentiments, stating that they had no regrets about not getting vaccinated. Another follower applauded Woods for his courage in discussing the negative fallout of the vaccines, which they feel often goes unaddressed.

However, as with any controversial topic, dissenting voices were not far behind. One individual, claiming to be a doctor, esteemed the original vaccine for working against early versions of the virus, crediting it with preventing millions of deaths. The same individual, however, decried the vaccine as “absolutely worthless” after the arrival of the Omicron variant in November 2021.

Residing away from the escalating vaccine storm, Woods continues to indulge his love for poker, a hobby he picked up in 2002. A frequenter of the poker tables at tournaments held in Las Vegas and his domicile of Los Angeles, Woods has over $430K in live cash earnings to his credit. In fact, his best payout of $39,859 occurred back in 2006 when he secured the second place at the $10K LA Poker Classic main event. Despite the ongoing uncertainty and controversy, one thing remains clear: Woods won’t be leaving the poker table any time soon, whether a vaccine storm is brewing or not.