Win It All, a new indie film by Joe Swanberg and starring Jake Johnson, is currently on Netflix. Win It All is a gambling movie that resembles California Split more so than Rounders. The plot surrounds a gambling addict, Eddie (Jake Johnson,) who is tasked with holding a bag of money for a friend serving a six-month stint in prison. In a moment of weakness, Eddie “borrows” money from the bag and goes on a losing gambling bender. When his friend is released from prison several months early, Eddie has to quickly figure out a way to recoup his losses in excess of $21,000.
Tom McEvoy (member of the Poker Hall of Fame, the 1983 WSOP Main Event World Champion, and 4-time bracelet winner) put his 1983 WSOP Main Event bracelet up for sale on ebay. For $15,000 you can purchase the gold bracelet and other additional tchotchkes like signed books, PokerStars team pro patches, and an hour of free poker lessons. McEvoy is not the first WSOP champ to sell a winner's bracelet. Jerry Yang and Jamie Gold auctioned their bracelets for cash. Peter Eastgate sold his bracelet but donated all proceeds to charity.
Fedor Holz had one of the sickest years in the short history of professional poker players with $16.4 million won in 2016 alone. With over $20 million in winnings since 2015, Holz became one of the Masters of the Universe in the poker realm. He credits a shift in his mental preparation, which he also attributed to reading a slew of books that helped make him sharper and mentally tougher. Holz has been posting his book recommendations on Twitter the last couple of weeks by authors such as the Dalai Lama, Deepak Chopra, Don Miguel Ruiz and Timothy Ferriss. On November 24, 2016, Holz tweeted a challenge to his followers to read 40 influential books in the last 5 weeks of the year.
Johnny Hughes, a poker historian, author and former manager of the Joe Ely Band, recently passed away. The Lubbock, Texas native wrote columns for numerous poker magazines and published several books including a novel titled Texas Poker Wisdom. Hughes is a well-known raconteur and a man of many talents. Benny Binion hired a young Hughes to be a prop player in Vegas. Later on, he earned a Ph.D. and taught at Texas Tech for twenty years. Hughes grew up with Buddy Holly and frequently played poker with Holly and his bandmates…before and after Holly got famous. Hughes held other jobs including traveling salesman, working in a TV station, and smuggling bootlegged liquor from Mexico into Texas. Hughes played poker with Hall of Famers like Sailor Roberts, Doyle Brunson, Johnny Moss, and Treetop Strauss.
The Poker Brat is finally publishing his memoir tentatively titled: “The Poker Brat.” The long-awaited autobiography by Phil Hellmuth will hit bookshelves and virtual stores next year. The 1989 WSOP Main Event champion and 14-time WSOP bracelet winner originally had a contract with literary giant Harper Collins, but that deal got squashed in the wake of Black Friday 2011. Five years later, Hellmuth found a new publisher and D&B Publishing will release the book in February 2017. Hellmuth's autobiography will spill the beans about how the Poker Brat transformed himself from a high school loser into a world class poker pro. But wait, there's more! Hellmuth is currently in the process of writing another manuscript and motivational book about “how to achieve great things in life.”
Aaron Sorkin is set to make his directorial debut with an adaptation of the memoir Molly's Game, which is a tell-all about secret high-stakes games featuring celebrities and other elite one-percenters. Strong rumors rattling around in Hollywood right now that Academy Award winner Kevin Costner will join the cast that already includes Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba. In addition, Michael Cera from Arrested Development fame is also rumored to be interested in a role in Molly's Game as well.
Photographer and filmmaker Larry Clark, the director of the controversial film Kids, admitted on the WTF Podcast with Marc Maron that he once shot a man during a poker game. Sounds like a Johnnie Cash lyric, but it was real life for the Tulsa-based artist who documented the dark lives of himself and his friends, who were low-life junkies and speed freaks. In 1976, Clark was jailed for 19 months for shooting a man during a poker game after an opposing player refused to pay him. A stunned Clark revealed that he was shocked that the guy ratted on him to the police.
Matt Showell wrote and directed a short documentary film on Stu Ungar titled Last Chance Gone Wrong. Several of the biggest names in poker appear in this film to discuss Stu Ungar's fall from grace leading up to his comeback victory at the 1997 WSOP Main Event. Among those interviewed: Billy Baxter, Phil Hellmuth, Mike Sexton, Scotty Nguyen, and Andy Black.
While doing a round of press junkets for his newest Jason Bourne film, Matt Damon gave an impromptu performance of his nemesis from Rounders. Matt Damon, the star of the cult-classic poker film, recently unleashed his version of Teddy KGB. Damon also revealed a funny behind the scenes moment with John Malkovich that occurred on the first day of filming Rounders.
Molly's Game, a memoir by former Olympic skier and high-stakes poker hostess Molly Bloom, is getting the Hollywood treatment with its own feature film. Aaron Sorkin (creator of The West Wing and writer of Moneyball and A Few Good Men) is making his directorial debut with Molly's Game. The legendary writer and show runner is adapting Bloom's book into a screenplay. Sorkin recently tapped Oscar-nominated actress Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba (a.k.a. String Bell from The Wire) to join the cast. Production dates are still TBD.
All In: The Poker Movie, directed by Douglas Tirola, is a documentary film about the rise of poker. The documentary began production in 2009 at the height of the online poker boom and wrapped in late 2011. The film finally debuted in March 2012, nearly a year after Black Friday decimated the American online poker community and altered the online gaming marketplace.This doc features interviews with notables such as Matt Damon, Kenny Rogers, Ira Glass, Phil Hellmuth, Annie Duke, Howard Lederer, Daniel Negreanu, Greg Raymer, and Frank Deford.
One of the most talented writers in the history of Hollywood has been harboring a dark secret over the last decade – a crippling addiction to gambling – which supposedly cost him his entire $100 million fortune. David Milch, a former English Lit professor at Yale and best known as the creator of hit TV shows NYPD Blue and Deadwood, is currently $17 million in debt and being sued by the IRS for over $5 million in back taxes. Another lawsuit details Milch's atrocious gambling problem in which he squandered at least $25 million on horse racing between 2000 and 2011.
Love him or hate him, the outspoken Daniel Negreanu and subject of the documentary film "Kid Poker" has been one of the most magnanimous characters in poker for almost twenty years. But what can we learn from a new doc film that we don't already know already from the oversaturation of Negreanu coverage in the poker media, or from Negreanu's voluminous contributions through Twitter, video blogs, blogs, and forum posts?
The tagline reads: “When a poker player hits rock bottom he enlists his best friend to pull off a high-stakes heist.” The next poker movie, Cold Deck, is headed straight to video. Is it really a poker movie? Or just another second-rate knockoff of a heist-gone-wrong film? Cold Deck, featuring Paul Sorvino, will be released on December 1, 2015 at various Video-On-Demand outlets. Cold Deck was written by Jason Lapeyre, the same guy who penned the script for The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story.
Poker movies often flounder because they fail to live up to lofty expectations from the audience – both civilians and hardcore players. "Mississippi Grind", directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, made a splash at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, but will the film resonate with poker players and other seasoned gamblers? Can "Mississippi Grind" become the next cult classic like "Rounders"?