Posts Tagged ‘Hollywood’

Lynn "Queen of Hearts" ParisLynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

I have always loved poker-themed movies, even before I became a real poker enthusiast through watching and blogging about the Global Poker League throughout the year.  Let’s face it; there’s usually some suspense, some thrills, some humor, some paranoia and at least a few fascinating and/or dubious characters – you know, just like a high-stakes poker game.  The “Cincinnati Kid,” “High Roller,” “Rounders,” “Runner Runner,” and who can forget “Casino Royal”  when James Bond sits at the final table and defeats his arch enemy, LeChiffre,  are among the many films that come to mind as poker-based and fun to watch. Not to mention Negreanu’s documentary, “KidPoker,” which we have written about several times in this blog.

Molly "Princess of Poker" BloomSo it’s no wonder that I’m eagerly awaiting a movie on the horizon titled, “Molly’s Game.” First of all, one of my all-time favorite wordsmiths, Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, will be making his debut as the director of the film. He’s brilliant, and his dialogue is always spot on, so I know he’ll capture all the action at the poker tables with perfection.

The movie is based on former high-stakes “Poker Princess” Molly Bloom.  Never heard of her? Well, she came to L.A. at the age of 26 and rose from cocktail waitress to running the most exclusive, star-studded underground poker game ever seen in Hollywood, with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, during the late 2000s. Her private games attracted a who’s who list of pro athletes, financiers, billionaires and A-list actors, including Ben Affleck, Tobey Maguire, Leo and Matt. Eventually, the game moved to NY and was ultimately shut down by the FBI (but you can see all about that in the movie.)

Jessica ChastainIdris ElbaAs if that weren’t enough, the super-talented, two-time Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty, The Martian) has signed on to play Molly Bloom and the sexy, charismatic British actor, Idris Elba, (The Wire, Luther, Star Trek:Beyond, Beasts of No Nation) will play Bloom’s attorney.

As Sorkin stated, “They’re two of the greatest actors of their generation, paired for the first time, and their chemistry will be electric.”

Others in serious talks to join the cast are Kevin Costner and Michael Cera.

It’s scheduled for release in 2017 and I can’t wait. In my mind, this promises to be the next great poker movie.

Send us your thoughts!

T-LiciousBy: T-Licious

Continuing our discussion of the public’s attitude towards poker, and how the tide overall appears to be turning from traditionally strong opposition to broad acceptance, we focus on one American-born institution that cannot seem to face its fear of poker: baseball.

As a sociology major in college I remember learning the concept of a ‘social fact’ as originally defined by Emile Durkheim, the father of sociology.  There may be perceptions about a social group or community, but the way you know if they really exist…if they are indeed social facts…is if you cross that invisible boundary causing a reaction.  For example, Don Imus learned a social fact of American racial boundaries when advertisers pulled the plug on his show after he called Rutgers female basketball players, all African American, nappy headed ho’s.

A-Rod from Radar Online

A-Rod – Radar Online

Major league baseball appears to have a strong social fact related to gambling which extends to poker.  We all know that people bet on sports.  We also know that there have always been big heavyweight betters with ties to organized crime whose wagering can have an influence on the outcome of the game itself.  The 1919 “Black Sox Scandal” involving the fixing of the World Series led to the creation of the first commissioner of baseball. And then we have Pete Rose’s betting on baseball scandal of the late 80s where he broke baseball’s rule 21 whereby anyone associated with on-field play (players, coaches, umpires, etc.) is prohibited from betting on baseball games.  These events and their backlashes are understandable.  However, in 2011 we heard stories reported in the tabloids about Yankee’s franchise player Alex Rodriguez being involved in a home poker game held by a record producer.  The Commissioner’s office said that A-Rod could face a suspension if it was proven he had been at the games.

To me this is way different than betting on baseball where he has a chance to affect the outcome of the game.  He was playing in a high stakes game with poker pros, Hollywood stars, and big money executives.  I wouldn’t expect him to play in a local $20 buy-in game…what would be the point?  Why is baseball putting all gambling off limits?  The way the stories read in ESPN, New York papers and magazines, etc., was as if playing high stakes was the alleged violation…as if A-Rod would feel the sting of a $10,000 bet on his 10-year contract worth $275 million.  The story also mentioned that drugs were used by a few people hanging out (not A-Rod).  Welcome to Hollywood my friends.  It’s not Disneyland.  Finally someone attempted to explain that where there is poker there are people who are likely to bet on sports.  Again, no surprise here.  You will also find people who bet on sports may also smoke, drink, and stay out past ten on weeknights.

Does Major League Baseball have the right to restrict its players from anything a sports better might be involved in?  The sad thing is I did not see anyone jump to A-Rod’s defense.  So the end result is baseball is not helping poker’s image even though poker seems to have gained widespread public acceptance over the past 10 years.  Perhaps baseball’s top brass should sit back, relax in a comfy chair at a nice poker table, and take in a friendly poker game the next time one of their friends hosts at their baseball-themed man cave.  Maybe they will see that players deserve to do the same without fear of a lifetime suspension hanging over their heads.

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James Alexander and Jim "Pocket Bullets" ParisPocket Bullets Paris

James Alexander called me this morning to let me know that he and his brother Duane were on their way to Florida to play at the Seminole Hard Rock Open for the $5,300 buy-in tournament that is due to start tomorrow, August 22nd, and run through the 29th at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. I felt like rushing to the airport and grabbing the next flight out so that I could be at their rails in full support. But, since I can’t really do that at this time, I thought that the next best thing was to cheer them on from afar and ask all our followers to send the Poker Gods to stand next to the Alexander boys at the poker tables through every hand.

This is no small tournament. The Seminole’s  director of poker, William Mason, made it clear  that this was a  $10 million guaranteed game which will award $1.7 million to the winner.The Flying Walrus - McAllen , Texas

James and Duane Alexander

These brothers sure know how to play and work together. They own The Flying Walrus in McAllen Texas, a hot sports bar, concert venue and restaurant. They are both pro poker players and both played at the 44th Annual World Series of Poker. James  finished in 19th place while his brother Duane and I, along with a host of others, cheered him on from the rails. Now they’re both going to play at the Seminole Hard Rock Open.

Hook 'Em Horns

So, although I can’t physically be at their rail this time, I’ll be there in spirit cheering them on. Go James! Go Duane!  Hook ‘Em Horns!!

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