Kevin Pollak feels at home in a lot of places: on his couch, on stage, in front of a camera, at a computer, at a poker table.
Yes, a poker table.
The comedian-impressionist-actor ("A Few Good Men," "The Usual Suspects") is still catching his breath after an amazing run last week at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.
Representing HollywoodPoker.com, he came in 134th place out of 6,598 players in the Amazon Room at the Rio All Suites Hotel and Casino. He lasted five days, made it to the Featured Table and had as much as 700,000 in chips, but he was ultimately done in by the dreaded queen of hearts. He and his Day 5 competitor, Kirill Rabtsov, both showed pocket queens but the board ran with four hearts; Rabtsov's queen of hearts eliminated the former "Celebrity Poker Showdown" host.
"It was such an extraordinary experience, very surreal," Pollak said. "Sadly, poker mirrors life -- eventually your time runs out. It can happen during any hand, whether you're in the Top 500 or in the final nine.
"I'm a longtime poker player and very superstitious. At the end of each day, I wouldn't extend my hotel room or make any dinner reservations. I just didn't want to get overconfident, but eventually my luck ran out, as it does for everyone at some point."
He collected $52,718 in winnings and expects to return to Vegas next year for another shot at the main event.
Pollak has always enjoyed poker, but he didn't take it seriously until he starred in the 1995 Martin Scorsese crime drama film "Casino" and "was stuck for 20 weeks at the Riviera." A pit boss took a shining to his playing ability and showed him the ropes.
"Then I went from playing home poker for five or six hours to playing casino poker for 12 to 16 hours straight."
All in a day's work for Pollak, one of the hardest-working men in show business.
He's back on the stand-up road this week, bringing his act to McCurdy's Comedy Theatre for two shows (at 7 and 9:15) on Friday night.
Even after more than 30 years in the business, Pollak remains passionate -- even wistful - about his profession.
"There's still nothing like it," he said. "It's a high-wire act. It's the greatest drug there is. On stage, I'm the actor, the writer, the director, the stage manager, the choreographer. You get all the credit and all the blame.
"I work for an hour or so, and people pay to see me. There isn't a bigger thrill for me."
He's on Comedy Central's list of "100 Greatest Stand-up Comics of All-Time," and he never takes it for granted. He says he's lasted this long because he never sits still: In addition to his stand-up comedy, he has acted in more than 65 films, and he's active on the Internet, hosting "Kevin Pollak's Chat Show" on his website and a new podcast called "Talkin Walkin," in which he imitates Christopher Walken interviewing a celebrity guest.
"I learned early on that staying diversified, trying new and different things, was a good way to stick around," he said. "Why not expand your horizons? To give you an example, I wrote a screenplay and showed it to one of my agents. He loved it and said, 'Why don't you direct it?' I hadn't thought about it before, but yeah, why not? So I am going to direct it.
"If you're not creating, you're waiting. That's what I'm doing, creating street cred. Now that phone rings for me. How many character actors get offers to do movies? I mean, I'm no Tom Cruise. My name isn't going to sell tickets at the box office, but now the phone rings for me. This has come after years and years of my agents waiting for calls.
"I'm incredibly grateful for everything. I'm living life."