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High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story (2003)

Stuey (original title)
R | | Biography, Drama | 1 May 2003 (USA)
Based on the true story of the rise and fall of poker legend Stu "The Kid" Ungar.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Al Bernstein ...
Himself
...
Himself
...
Stu Ungar
Brian Kaplan ...
John Strzemp
...
The Stranger
...
Evan Broder ...
Goldstein
...
Max Ungar
Tommy Canary ...
Sol
...
Flo Unger
A.W. Vidmer ...
Gin Victim
...
Vincent
Lon Gary ...
Poker Player #1
David Dwyer ...
Poker Player #2 (as David S. Dwyer)
...
Anthony (as Steven R. Schirripa)
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Storyline

Based on the true story of the rise and fall of poker legend Stu "The Kid" Ungar.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Gambler. Addict. Loser. Legend.

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some drug content and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Language:

Release Date:

1 May 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene where DJ (Joe La Due) bluffs his opponent, Mario, off of pocket Kings, while holding 7-2 off-suit, is based upon an actual hand that occurred between Jack "Treetop" Straus and an unknown opponent. The story goes, that while playing in a high stakes cash game, Straus had won several pots in row and decided that he would play the "rush" and raise the next hand regardless of what his cards were. When he looked down at his hole cards, he found that he'd been dealt 7-2 off-suit, the worst starting hand in Texas Hold'em. But he decided to raise anyway, he was called by a single opponent, and the flop read; 7 3 3. Straus bet and his opponent re-raised, indicating an over-pair to the board. Straus decided to call, in the hopes that he could perhaps bluff his opponent off of his hand on the turn or river. The turn brought a 2. It was no help to Straus though, as he could only play his two pair sevens and threes. The deuce didn't play. And it also meant that if his opponent did in fact have an over-pair, such as Kings or Queens, that Straus was way behind. Straus decided to bet again on the turn anyway, which made his opponent seriously consider whether to call or fold. Straus knew that if he were called, his chances of outdrawing his opponent were very slim, with only one card to go. After several minutes, Straus offered a proposition to his opponent, for $25 his opponent could choose either one of Straus' hole cards and Straus would show it to him. After more consideration, the opponent finally decided to take the deal, he tossed Straus $25 and chose a card, it turned out to be the deuce. Straus' opponent deduced that since he showed him one card, the other must be of the same value and so, he naturally assumed that Straus must have had pocket deuces, giving him a full house, deuces full of threes. It was considered one the most celebrated bluffs in all of poker history. See more »

Goofs

When Stuey first walks into a casino when he arrives in Las Vegas, the scene is supposed to take place in 1973. However the video slots on the other side of the glass doors he enters weren't invented until a couple decades after. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Al Bernstein: Welcome back, everybody, to the 1997 World Series of Poker, where Stu "The Kid" Ungar is attempting to make one of the greatest comebacks in poker history, by winning the no-limit Texas Hold'em Championship a record third time.
Andrew N.S. Glazer: And Al, the amazing thing about this is, that Stuey would be achieving that feat after sixteen years of personal struggle, where victories were really few and far between.
Al Bernstein: And standing between Stuey and history is John Stremp, a local casino executive who's ...
[...]
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Soundtracks

BADA 2 DA BONA
Performed by Badabing Badaboom
Composed by Robert Dellaposta
Published by My Three Kids Music (BMI)
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User Reviews

 
Let me count the ways
7 August 2005 | by (Baltimore, Maryland) – See all my reviews

How does this movie suck? As a fan of Michael Imperioli's work on The Sopranos I picked this up at Blockbuster based on his name and a story that sounded like it had promise. It still does, but this movie doesn't fulfill it.

Every turn of the story is entirely predictable; I kept looking for the Lifetime bug on the bottom right corner of the screen. It's all there: the noble woman coming out of hard times, the guy failing to live up to his potential despite her best efforts, the kid who gets stuck in the middle, etc., etc., etc. The mysterious stranger's identity is what really made me want to throw stuff at the TV -- I would have been more satisfied with little Stuey waking up and realizing it was all a dream.

The filmmakers may as well have had a "The moral of the story is..." bit before the credits, since as another reviewer pointed out this thing really does roll like an afterschool special. Don't gamble, don't drink, don't do drugs, stay with your wife, spend time with your kids...come on, how about a little nuance? How about some interesting bad guys? Writer/director A.W. Vidmer should be singled out for special notice: not only is the dialogue leaden, the pacing (within dialogue and at either end of many scenes) makes this movie at least 45 minutes longer than it needs to be (and believe me, it feels like longer). The talents of Imperioli, Renee Faia and some of the supporting cast (Steve Schirripa, natch) are the only things that keep this from a "1" rating. All of their good work is nearly offset, though, by the atrocious job of portraying the boy Stuey. Not sure if it was a casting mistake (hey -- it's a mob movie, so let's cast someone from Blue's Clues who can't do anything but over-overact with a big fake grin...next let's cast the sullen, brooding kid in the Disney flick) or just awful directing but those scenes are really painful to watch.

I'd be interested in another filmmaker's take on this character and his story; it's a shame Imperioli has already been used up by this flick. Awful, awful, awful.


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