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: [Narrating and entering KGB's underground gambling parlor
] just walking in here makes me queasy, the brick walls, the fucking mopes at the table, the musty smell, I feel like Buckner walking back into Shea, but what choice do I have?
: Would you stop fucking around, for five goddamn minutes for once in your fucking life? Worm
: Whoa, Jesus, what happened? My old man just walked in.
: You were lookin' for that third three, but you forgot that Professor Green folded on Fourth Street and now you're representing that you have it. The DA made his two pair, but he knows they're no good. Judge Kaplan was trying to squeeze out a diamond flush but he came up short and Mr. Eisen is futilely hoping that his queens are going to stand up. So like I said, the Dean's bet is $20.
[His girlfriend says they don't have time for sex now
] Mike McDermott
: I'll be really quick. You won't feel a thing.
[Narrating first lines
] Mike McDermott
: Listen, here's the thing. If you can't spot the sucker in your first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker.
[Narrating last lines
] Mike McDermott
: First prize at the World Series of Poker is a million bucks. Does it have my name on it? I don't know. But, I'm gonna find out.
: If you had it to do all over again, knowing what would happen, would you make the same choice? Professor Petrovsky
] what choice?
[Mike's girlfriend has just left him over his broken promise not to play poker
: You know what always cheers me up? Mike McDermott
: No, what's that? Worm
: Rolled up aces over kings. Check-raising stupid tourists and taking huge pots off of them. Playing all-night high-limit Hold'em at the Taj, "where the sand turns to gold." Stacks and towers of checks I can't even see over. Mike McDermott
: Fuck it, let's go. Worm
: Don't tease me. Mike McDermott
: Let's play some cards. Worm
: Why do you think the same five guys make it to the final table of the World Series of Poker EVERY YEAR? What, are they the luckiest guys in Las Vegas?
: I guess the sayings' true. In the poker game of life, women are the rake man. They are the fuckin' rake. Mike McDermott
: What the fuck are you talkin' about. What saying? Worm
: I-I don't know. There ought to be one though.
: Uh, you know what? I got my five grand here. That's just fine by me. I'm going home. Teddy KGB
: Fine. It's a fucking joke anyway. After all, I am paying you with your money. Mike McDermott
: What did you say? Teddy KGB
: Your money... I am still up 20 grand... from this last time I stick it in you. Mike McDermott
] They're trying to goad me, trying to own me. But this isn't a gunfight. It's not about pride or ego. It's only about money. I can leave now, even with Grama and KGB... and halfway to paying Petrovsky back. That's the safe play. I told Worm you can't lose what you don't put in the middle. But you can't win much either.
] I want him to think that I am pondering a call, but all I'm really thinkin about it Vegas and the fuckin' Mirage.
] It's immoral to let a sucker keep his money.
] It's like the nature channel... you don't see Piranhas eating themselves, do you?
] The game is no limit hold 'em. The Cadillac of poker.
: Are you satisfied now, Teddy? Because I can keep busting you up all night if you like.
] In "Confessions of a Winning Poker Player," Jack King said, "Few players recall big pots they have won, strange as it seems, but every player can remember with remarkable accuracy the outstanding tough beats of his career." It seems true to me, cause walking in here, I can hardly remember how I built my bankroll, but I can't stop thinking of how I lost it.
: You comin' up? Lester 'Worm' Murphy
: No, I've been standin' out here all this time just to say hi. Mike McDermott
: All right, listen, things haven't been that smooth on the homefront so, you know, tone it down a little, all right? Lester 'Worm' Murphy
: Tone done what, motherfucker?
: Now, what did I ever do to that guy? Mike McDermott
: You fucked his mother.
: That's 4,400. I'm gonna call you. Or else, I won't respect myself tomorrow morning. Teddy KGB
: Respect is all you have left in the morning!
: Let's start the hurley.
] I've often seen these people, these squares at the table, short stack and long odds against them. All their outs gone. One last card in the deck that can help them. I used to wonder how they could let themselves get into such bad shape, and how the hell they thought they could turn it around.
: That ace could not have helped you.
[drops all of his chips onto the table
] Teddy KGB
: I bet it all. Mike McDermott
] You're right Teddy, the ace didn't help.
[pushes chips towards the center and flops down his cards
] Mike McDermott
: I flopped the nut straight.
: What happened? Lester 'Worm' Murphy
: Nothing, she closed her legs too fast!
: Hey, lemme ask you a question. In the legal sense, can fuckin' Steinbrenner move the Yankees? Does he have the fuckin' right to just move them? Mike McDermott
: How should I know that? Store Clerk
: You didn't learn that yet? Mike McDermott
: No, we get to Steinbrenner in third year law school. Store Clerk
: What kind of a job is that going to be, Mike um, writing an opinion on high stakes poker? Mike McDermott
: Hon, you're the one that told me I should use my poker skills in the court room.
: [Narrating a quote from a gambling maxim
] You can shear a sheep many times, but skin him only once.
: Hey, I'm not gonna let a garbage can fall on my head. Mike McDermott
: No, you're gonna jump out of the way and let it land on me.
: For generations, the men of my family have been rabbis in Israel before that in Europe, it was to be my calling. I was quite a prodigy. I was the "pride" of my Yeshiva. The elders said I had a forty year old understanding of the Midrash. By the time I was twelve by the time I was thirteen I knew I could never be a rabbi. Mike McDermott
: Why not? Professor Petrovsky
: Because for all I understood of the Talmud, I never saw God there.
: I'm listening. What do you need? 500? A grand? Mike McDermott
: Huh? I need... I need 15,000. Joey Knish
: Fifteen? Mike McDermott
: Yep. Joey Knish
: I need a blow job from Christy Turlington. Get the fuck outta here. $15,000?
: You're in trouble? Mike McDermott
: Yes sir, I am, not with the law, I owe Professor Petrovsky
: Gambling debt? Mike McDermott
: Yes, it's not mine, I vouched for the wrong guy, now it's on me Professor Petrovsky
: I understand, what will it take to be free of this? Mike McDermott
: I need fifteen thousand tonight Professor Petrovsky
: I'm not a wealthy man Mike McDermott
: I know, it kills me to ask you this, I don't have any other play, if you can help me at all Professor Petrovsky
: I hate to see you like this and I want to help you, if it must be tonight, ten is the best I can do Mike McDermott
: Will you do that? Professor Petrovsky
[writes a check
] Professor Petrovsky
: so you take this money and get yourself out of this trouble, you hear me? Mike McDermott
: I promise I'll pay you back Professor Petrovsky
] I know good luck
: I never told anybody this, about eight nine months ago, I'm at the Taj it's late and I see Johnny Chan walk in and he goes and sits in the three hundred six hundred section and the whole place stops and everybody puts an eye on him, after a while there wasn't a crap going on because all the high rollers are over there watching and some of them playing but they're giving their money to him and say "oh", I played with the world champion", you know what I did? Joey Knish
: What? Mike McDermott
: I sat down Joey Knish
: You need fifty to sixty grand to play right in that game Mike McDermott
: I had six but I had to know Joey Knish
: what happened? Mike McDermott
: Played tight for an hour, folded mostly then I made a score Joey Knish
: With what? aces or kings? Mike McDermott
: Rags, I had nothing, but he raised and I decided I don't care about the money, I'm just going to out play the guy, I'm going to out play this guy, this hand, I'll re-raise Joey Knish
: Re-raise? You play right back at him? Mike McDermott
: Yeah, he comes back over the top at me trying bully me like I'm some tourist, I hesitate for like two seconds then I'll re-raise and he makes a move to his checks and he looks at me, check his cards and looks at me again, and he mucked it, I took it down Mike McDermott
: [Flash back narrates Johnny Chan
] did you have it? Mike McDermott
: [Flash back narrates
] I'm sorry John, I don't remember Mike McDermott
: I got up and walked to the cashier, I sat with the best in the world, and I won Joey Knish
: You made a fucking move on Chan you son of a bitch, so that's why you made that run at KGB's place Mike McDermott
: That's right I'll do it again if I can
: You owe twenty five I'll take the rest in five days Mike McDermott
: Five grand a week and you keep the juice going we want what you want we want to square this thing but three days is impossible no one's saying "your not the man", just think of it as a business decision, he just got out let's put him on a plan Grama
: This is not the money store we're no negotiating I tell you how it works Mike McDermott
: Then I'm asking Grama
: [to Worm
] you looking for some charity? Worm
: I need your fucking charity like I need your cock in my ass Mike McDermott
: Will you shut the fuck up? Grama
: It's too late for him to shut the fuck up Mike McDermott
: His good for it Grama
: If you think his good for it then it's on you too Mike McDermott
: Then it's on me too Grama
: Fifteen large five days or I start breaking things
: It's plenty wise we know what we're holding and we know what you're holding Judge Marinacci
: The fuck you know what we all got Mike McDermott
: Summer clerkship in your office says I know what your holding Judge Marinacci
: I wouldn't bet with a job like that let's just say "I'll put you at the top of the list" if your right
: What the fuck were you thinking? Worm
: I was trying to give us an edge Mike McDermott
: I had them Worm
: Look I'm sorry we got banged up, I took a shot and missed, it happens Mike McDermott
: Happens all the time around you Worm
: And it doesn't happen to you? You're the one that flushed his whole bank roll on one hand Mike McDermott
: Oh fuck you man, that was different Worm
: How is that different? What makes you so fucking special? Why are all your moves so smart and noble and I'm always the idiot piece of shit? You act like you're only one with any ambition Mike McDermott
: Then what's your ambition? I don't know, you tell me Worm
: I don't know, I don't think like that Mike McDermott
: No, you don't think Worm
: No, I don't think like you, you always think you can beat the game straight up, that's not me, and I'm always going to look for that edge, always Mike McDermott
: Alright, what's the edge now? We owe fifteen grand in a day and we're broke, what the fuck do we do? Worm
: That's easy, we get the fuck outta dodge
: [while base dealing
] Who wants more? I'm in, I'm staging a late night comeback, a "late night rally", just to warn you Vitter
: [Grabs Worm's hand
] Hold on there Worm
: What are you doing? Vitter
: Give me the deck Worm
: Relax don't get so agitated Vitter
: Looks like we got a rogue game here Worm
: A what? State Trooper
: What the hell is going on over here? Vitter
: [Referring to Worm
] This son of a bitch is base dealing, I caught a hanger Worm
: A "hanger"? What are you saying? I don't even know what you're saying State Trooper
: His saying you're dealing off the bottom of the deck Worm
: Come on guys Sean Frye
: [Referring to Mike
] What'd he give him? Vitter
: Seven of hearts State Trooper
: [to Mike and Worm
] You boys working? Are you professionals? Mike McDermott
: No listen I was winning before this guy got here State Trooper
: Let the cards do the talking, if the seven didn't help you we'll listen to what you have to say Worm
: [Ozzie turns mike's cards over
] hey, three of a kind you've Ozzie three sixes like... Vitter
: SHUT UP State Trooper
: [Vitter gives him the deck of cards and he shows the ace of spades on the bottom
] One last thing Worm
: [All the state troopers stand up
] Alright take it easy are you going to read us our rights at least?
: What can you do for me? I mean five hundred isn't even enough to get me started Joey Knish
: Five hundred won't help, what's two grand going to do? Joey Knish
: Five hundred won't help, what's two grand going to do? What kind of trouble you in? Mike McDermott
: With the worst kind, with the worst guy Joey Knish
: KGB? Mike McDermott
: Yeah Joey Knish
: Didn't I tell you? Never let that guy ahold of you? Mike McDermott
: You told me a lot of things Joey Knish
: Yeah I did, and you don't listen, I tell you to play within your means, you risk your whole bank roll, I tell you not to over extend yourself, to rebuild, so you don't have to hock for more, I was giving you a living, showing you the playbook I put together off my beats and that wasn't enough for you Mike McDermott
: This is the one time I don't need you to tell me how I fucked up, I know I fucked up, what I need from you is money, I need whatever money you can give me Joey Knish
: That's the thing, this time there is no money, I give you two grand what's that buy you? A day? No I give it to you I'm wasting it Mike McDermott
: That's fucking great Joey Knish
: You did it to yourself, you had to put it all on the line for some Vegas pipe dream Mike McDermott
: I took a risk, I took a risk, you see all the angles, and you never have the fucking stones to play one Joey Knish
: Stones? you little punk, I'm not playing for the thrill of fucking victory here, I owe rent, alimony, child support, I play for money, my kids eat, I got stones enough not to chase card actions of fucking pipe dreams of winning the world series on ESPN, but about the money I've got to turn my back, I've got to say no Mike McDermott
: That's fine I understand
: [In bar
] Mind if I sit? Professor Petrovsky
: Please, have a seat Professor Petrovsky
: That was a nifty trick the other night Mike McDermott
: Thank you Professor Petrovsky
: Marinacci and the DA were ready to cut cards for your services, of course it was altogether a different trick you pulled today, the disappearing act at your meeting. Mike McDermott
: Yeah, I figured I owe you an explanation. Professor Petrovsky
: No, not to me, I'm sure there was a good reason you left, you just have to work harder, prepare and smooth things out with the others, I'm sure there was a good reason why you left. Mike McDermott
: Where's your friend? Mike McDermott
: His gone Grama
: So you brought my money? Mike McDermott
: I'm a little short Grama
: How short? Mike McDermott
: The whole way Grama
: There must be some kind of story Mike McDermott
: As you can see I can't pay you Grama
: I can see you're banged up pretty good, you never should've vouched for that scumbag Mike McDermott
: Maybe not Grama
: You're leaving me no outs here Mike McDermott
: Why? Grama
: I can't trust that you're not playing me Mike McDermott
: I'm not the one working with a partner Grama
: You want to take it up with KGB you go right ahead otherwise you got one day
] I turned my ten grand into just over sixty, paid fifteen to Grama, six went back to the Chesterfield, and as for Worm, I figure we're even and after the ten going back to the professor I'm back where I started: "three stacks of high society"
] Doyle Brunson says" the key to no limit is to put a man to a decision for all his chips" Teddy's just did it his representing aces the only hand better than my cowboys I can't call and just give him a chance to catch I can only fold if I believe him in a heads up match your stack is almost as important as the quality of your cards I chopped one of his legs off in the first hand now all I have to do is lean on him until he falls over Mike McDermott
] the rule is this: if you spot a man's tell, you don't say a fucking word I finally spotted KGB's and usually I'd let him chewing those Oreos until he was dead broke but I don't have that kind of time I've only got until morning not even Teddy KGB is immune to getting a little rattled
: I know a magician doesn't reveal his secrets Mike McDermott
: I'm not a magician Professor Petrovsky
: If it wasn't "magic", how did you know what everyone held? Mike McDermott
: It's a combination of things: I was watching when the cards came out, that's just an old habit with me, it's like breathing Professor Petrovsky
: Watch the cards? Mike McDermott
: I watch the cards but I also watch the player react to the cards. That's how I knew the DA made his two pair and judge Kaplan missed the flush, I was watching their eyes when they checked their river cards, their faces tell you everything Professor Petrovsky
] you watch the man? I never knew you had to calculate so much in cards Mike McDermott
: here's some advice, just play premium hands, you only start with jacks or better if its good enough to call you've also got to be in there raising, tight but aggressive and I do mean aggressive, you've got to think of it as a war Professor Petrovsky
] you're officially never invited to our game again Mike McDermott
: I don't blame you, put a guy like me in that game, cards don't even matter I'll play it blind
: Here's the play: I know this girl Barbra I was so close to banging her before I went away, she works as a hostess for all the trust fund babies in there, she got me in their game, she introduces me as her "cousin" from out of town who loves to gamble and wants to win at poker. Mike McDermott
: It sounds solid, that's a nice hook up Worm
: It's all the way nice, but I got this "feeling". Mike McDermott
: What "feeling" is that exactly? Worm
: You know this "feeling", I got the table all set, knife, fork, sauce... Mike McDermott
: [Implying Worm doesn't have money to buy into this game
] You just don't have the "steak" Worm
: Exactly Mike McDermott
: [Giving Worm money
] here's two twenty, that'll get you started Worm
: Two twenty? Thanks but that's like eleven bets I can't even get a table in here. Mike McDermott
: Then forget this game I'll straighten you out in the city tomorrow. Worm
: I'm already behind here. Mike McDermott
: You just got out, what's the big fucking hurry? Worm
: The hurry is other than you, there are five guys eagerly waiting my release. Mike McDermott
: How much do you owe? Worm
: Like ten. Mike McDermott
: Ten? Worm
: I can't even figure it out with the juice. I can get started on this easy if it's you and me working together. Mike McDermott
: I heard you asking me before and I hear you asking now but I can't do that, I just can't do that, I've made promises. Worm
: I totally understand, its fine. I'll just make a couple moves earlier than I would've before.
: You have a respectable profession Professor Petrovsky
: Not to my family my parents were devastated, destroyed by my decision my father sent me away to New York to live with distant cousins I eventually found my place, my life's work Mike McDermott
: What then? Professor Petrovsky
: I amerced myself fully, I studied everything I could about the law I felt deeply inside that it was what I was born to do Mike McDermott
: Did your parents get over it? Professor Petrovsky
: No, I always hoped that I would find some way to change their mind, but they were inconsolable, my father never spoke to me again
] Worm's dad did the grounds, when he wasn't too fucking drunk, that's when we did them, of course the grounds weren't all we did, Worm put us into a scam a day on all the young aristocrats we went to school with, selling them dime bags of Oregano, nunchakus, or fire crackers from Chinatown, kept us in lunch money until the time we went from more than just pocket change and got caught we had the starting five take a dive against Friends Academy the point guard snapped and gave Worm up, they hauled him before the school board and offered him a deal " tell us who else was involved and we'll go easy on you" Worm didn't say a fucking word and got himself expelled, I stayed in school and graduated, not many friends can stand up for a friend like that.
Lester 'Worm' Murphy
: [referring to making money by playing cards
] have you been working? Is your game sharp? Mike McDermott
: No, I'm off it Lester 'Worm' Murphy
: You're getting cold cards? Mike McDermott
: No I quit Lester 'Worm' Murphy
: What, are you shitting me? Mike McDermott
: I got cleaned out Lester 'Worm' Murphy
: Mike McDe, you lost? Mike McDermott
: It was a real blood game over at KGB's place Lester 'Worm' Murphy
: You sat down with the mad Russian and he emptied your pockets? Mike McDermott
: Yeah I didn't want to tell you while you were in prison, I didn't want to dispirit you. Lester 'Worm' Murphy
: So you're just a student now? What are doing for money? Mike McDermott
: I'm driving Knish's truck Lester 'Worm' Murphy
: Oh my God, you're killing me, we've got to get you back in the game we're old partners, we're going to "run it" like we always did. Mike McDermott
: No, I'm off it I really am, I'm done.
: [Narrating at the judge's game
] The amazing thing is, in this collection of great legal minds there isn't a single real card player.
: [Using Petrovsky's money to play for him and narrating
] I don't know if I'm going to bring my legal career to a crashing halt before it even starts but sometimes I just can't help myself.