Movie Reviews: Rounders


Rounders

For any poker player, Rounders is the equivalent of A Field of Dreams for baseball or Hoosiers for basketball.

To me, this film works as a poker movie (the only one besides Maverick) and a drama. 

I’m not gonna lie, when I was younger and played a ton of poker after the “Moneymaker” moment,  I watched this film like every week. You see, every home game would play this in the background over and over and everyone would nod their head at how they would have kicked the legs from Teddy KGB and reraised Johnny Chan as well.

For a poker player, this movie might have contributed to the poker boom and WSOP Dream as much as Chris Moneymaker’s Miracle run. It came in 1998 to little fanfare and was certainly ahead of its time. 

Ironically, it’s a movie where poker and cheating play a big part, showing the honest people that play and the assholes that give it a bad name. When the cops beat the crap out of them for cheating, I really don’t mind. They deserve it.

Flash forward 12 years or so, and life imitated art when all the “big stars” (aka criminals, thieves, fraudsters) of rigged sites like Full Tilt poker had the FBI freeze the site, because as it came to be known, people like Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson took all the money in the accounts and paid themselves, like a Ponzi scheme. 

In a way, all the degenerate gamblers who got lucky in the early 2000s got in on the con and enriched themselves with everyday people’s money. Grandma that just wanted to casually play 25 cent poker? Bam, Full Tilt robbed her. 

Ironically, a few poker players like Howard Lederer’s sister Annie Duke advocated that poker is a skill game and should be able to be played online for money in the US while her brother was giving her money from people’s accounts. 

They are the Worms of poker. 

From what I hear, they avoided the WSOP until this year after posting online an apology. Every single person I talked to playing WSOP events think the same thing. They are all a fraud and should rot in jail. All of them. Just like Worm.

Funny how in a country that if you rob a gas station for $50 you can get 20 years in jail. Rob $100 million from poker accounts and nothing happens.

Rounders is a masterpiece. The movie is even better today and holds up in theme and character arcs. I’ve seen it more than any movie outside the Empire Stikes Back.

Travel Blog (Vegas Adventure Part 10)


Want to hear a poker story? 

I mean, I’m playing a crap ton of poker and have not talked about it much. I play all sorts of games but focus primarily at 2-5 NL poker and sometimes 5-10.  This year, however I’ve been playing 1-3 for fun as I wait for tournaments. 

Yesterday, I drove to the rio at 8am and the place was empty as hell, so I sat at 1-3 to wait for the 2am deep stack tournament. 

I bought in for 300 and after an hour and around 500 then was down to 300 then back up to 500, mostly because I call a ton of pots. At 1-3, why not?

I lost a big pot to one guy who called my all in (I had the top set) and he an an open ended straight draw, and hit the river Ace to win after the money was all in.

So maybe 30 minutes later, I was dealt pocket Kings in the middle position. I simply flat called the 3 bucks to which someone else raised it to $12 and I simply called that and 4 players saw the flop. I was third to act.

The flop was K-8-5 with two clubs on the board. 

I bet $25 (half pot) and everyone called. 

The turn card was a red 10, so I still had the top hand. 

With around $150 in the pot, the first guy checked, the second guy checked, I bet $80 (half pot) and the last position called, the first position called, then the second guy (straight draw guy) shoved all-in with $300 or so. 

I then shoved all in, for around the $450 I had left. I still had the top hand. 

Then the third position, said “whatever” and shoved all in with around $400. 

Then the guy first to act waited 30 seconds and moved all in with $500. 

I was ahead but had a bunch of bad cards that could screw me.

The river was a red 2. I had the nuts.

Seat one flipped a Ace-4 of clubs for a missed flush draw. The second seat flopped a set of 8s. The fourth seat mucked his cards.

So there I was. Raking in a $1500 pot on a 1-3 game.

And all of it happened because I didn’t push my kings hard before the flop. 

I played another hour and left for the pool. 

Movie Reviews: Vegas Vacation


It has one of the biggest deus ex machinas in a movie, but hey, so did the other Griswald films. (Old white guys with money always bail Clark out)

While I am here gambling in Vegas I felt it would be very fitting to review this not-so-classic film. To me, it doesn’t hold up to the original or Christmas Vacation, but does have its charm, notably capturing Vegas in the mid 1990s in a not so seedy way that say Leaving Las Vegas did. 

Having lived in Vegas for 4 years, the humor also hits on some marks. When Randy is cooking food outside on an atomic test site, that is pretty funny. 

The funniest part of the film to me is after Clark loses the family savings in a massive cold streak (what I call simply refer to as “gambling at the Mirage” or “getting Miraged”) and joins forces with Randy and his secret stash to test their luck at a sketchy casino with sketchy games. What is funny is that some of those games, like War, actually became a casino game, as an example of life imitating art. 

I also enjoy watching Rusty go on a heater of a lifetime. Most stories of Vegas is about big losers, so it is fun to watch because in my mind, Vegas kind of operates like this.

Yes, Wayne Newton is cheesy as hell and nonsensical, but Vegas itself was cheesy in the 90s. Shi-yit. The entire city is one giant city of fake. They built a pyramid, Statue of Liberty, volcano, pirate ship, clown casino, castle, and a replica of Venice. There is nothing original about Vegas. 

But I enjoy going just like I enjoy this movie … sometimes. 

Move Rating: 5/10 complimentary upgrades