For whatever reason, there seems to be a newfound interest in poker and the big screen, considering no less than four poker-based movies will be released in 2013. Perhaps someone should tell these people that it’s 2013 and not 2006?
Most of these offerings will-be/are of the documentary variety –Bet, Raise, Fold; Ultimate Beat; and Drawing Dead—but in addition to these smaller projects Hollywood has also decided to give a poker-based plot another go, with the Ben Affleck/Justin Timberlake blockbuster, Runner Runner.
Over the years there have been but a scant few poker movies that Hollywood has considered worthy enough for a big budget film; The Cincinnati Kid, Rounders, and Maverick immediately come to mind.
Even through the poker boom Hollywood all but ignored poker, and we ended up with the usual assortment of very unfortunate B-movies using poker as a plot line, from, writers, directors, and producers who had little understanding of poker –and in some cases storylines and camera operation.
But this seems to be changing, as Runner Runner (despite all of the negative reviews) isn’t some fly-by-night movie production.
While I don’t expect Runner Runner to leave much of a footprint, I have been rather impressed with the poker documentaries and previews that we have seen this year. Instead of some no-name director trying to create a fictional poker drama, we are now seeing poker players retelling the real-life dramas that they have lived through over the past 15 years.
The already released Bet Raise Fold received strong reviews and praise from the poker community, and both Ultimate Beat and Drawing Dead appear to have the same attention to detail that poker players require if they are going to take a film seriously.
Bet Raise Fold – Bet Raise Fold was released during the 2013 WSOP and was well-met in the poker community. The film by Jay Rosenkrantz and Taylor Caby showed precisely what was possible in terms of making an intriguing and entertaining poker documentary.
Drawing Dead – Drawing Dead is in the same mold as Bet Rasie Fold, but in this instance the storyline has two separate angles: One through the eyes of an online winner (Dusty “Leatherass” Schmidt) and the other looking at online poker through the eyes of a losing player. The film is scheduled to air on DirecTV on October 10, 2013.
Ultimate Beat – This is the sordid story of Ultimate Bet/UB Poker. The film is the brainchild of Scott “ElevenGrover” Bell, one of the original UB investigators, and should be enlightening and likely a bit controversial. Ultimate Beat is scheduled for an early October release.
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