It has not certainly had such an influence on poker boom as the victory by Chris Moneymaker, but the film “Rounders” has also added its contribution to the increasing popularity of poker. Just few days we celebrated its 20th anniversary.
If you didn't see the movie, it's definitely worth to do so. Here is a short recap of the start: “Rounders” is a story of one Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) and Lester “Worm” Murphy (Edward Norton). The first of them dreams about going to the World Series of Poker. At the beginning of the film he joins an underground game organised by “Teddy KGB” (John Malkovic), a russian gangster. Mike loses his money and decides to quit playing poker. He starts studying law and spends his free time with his girlfriend Jo (Gretchen Mol). He promises her never to pick cards up again.
Financial help to make Mike get back in the game comes from Joey Knish (John Turturro), who is a player as well as Mike's mentor. Mike refuses but takes a part time job as a driver for Knish. Soon after Lester “Worm” Murphy, Mike’s childhood friend get released from prison, but he has a huge debt to pay. Mike decides to join the poker table yet again to help his friend despite the promise he has made to Jo.
You can watch the starting scene here, on youtube:
And the story unfolds.
It all started with this movie
It's hard to count how many pokerp layers started their poker adventure because of the film. Poker journalist Steve Ruddock says that two things really had influence on so called poker boom. One was Chris Moneymaker when he won the Main Evenct at WSOP 2003. “Rounders” was like the basis for that victory to stay in the minds of millions of ordinary people.
For many years now poker players and film fans wait for “Rounders 2”. Both Damon and Norton said many times it could happen. In December 2014 Edward said even that: “It's very likely the second part will be made. We had so much fun making the film. That was one of the best crews I have ever had the pleasure of working with. We were creating poker history before it came to be. Matt and I often laugh that we should negotiate 5 percent rake of every hand that took place afterwards. With the money we could easily make “Rounders 2”!.
In July last year also commented on the great film (he had even appeared in ti!), saying: “This is a great film, that also did a lot of good for poker. I was positively surprised to meet Matt Damon and Ed Norton. They say this is the best poker film in history and the reason why poker today is so popular. All who watched it wanted to be and play like Johnny Chan or Matt Damon” – he says.
Not everybody is so enthusiastic about “Rounders 2” though. Brian Koppelman, one of the screenplay writers (second was David Levien, and the film was directed by John Dahl) sometimes feels exhausted with questions about the film. In March last year he was a guest of Ask Me Anything at Twitter. “Tomorrow I will answer all your questions, but if you ask me about Rounders 2 I will just make up some bullshit” – he wrote and during AMA simply said that the second installment depends largely copyrights that do not belong to him.
To sum it up we would like to quote what Vanessa Rousso commented about the film: “There were many films about poker, but only “Rounders” managed to catch the spirit of the game and that is why this is the best poker movie ever made”.
Researchers used brain scans to show that when straight men looked at pictures of women in bikinis, areas of the brain that normally light up in anticipation of using tools, like spanners and screwdrivers, were activated.