John Dahl directed this exploration of New York private clubs devoted to high-stakes poker, with first-person narration from the film's central figure, law student Mike McDermott (Matt Damon), who loses his entire savings to Russian club owner Teddy KGB (John Malkovich). Mike then turns away from cards, devoting his attentions to his law studies and his live-in girlfriend Jo (Gretchen Mol), who's concerned when Mike's former gambling buddy Worm (Edward Norton) is released from prison. She has good reason to worry, since it takes Worm only a matter of minutes to draw Mike back into poker action. When she learns Mike has returned to the poker clubs, she moves out, and Mike begins to lose interest in his studies. Worm has a prison debt, and the threatening Grama (Michael Rispoli) wants the money. Mike not only indulges the irresponsible Worm, he gets involved in Worm's debts. When Grama demands $15,000 on a five-day deadline, the two buddies go into high gear with a non-stop, no-sleep ...
In the original version of the script, Mike McDermott was going to make a move on Phil Hellmuth in the Atlantic City big-money game, not Johnny Chan. See more »
When Mike and Worm visit Grama together, Grama lists the amount owed as $25,000. This was the original amount owed, but he already took the first $10K back from Worm. Later in the same scene, Grama goes back to demanding the correct $15K amount. See more »
[walking up to their poker table with Mike playing with other rounders in the poker room at The Mirage]
This is what I like to see Mike McDermott where he belongs, sitting with the scum bags telling jokes dragging the occasional pot.
occasional? like my occasionally went out with other men
I was actually going to try to make some real money tonight but in Mike's honor return to the ring, I'll sit with you all for a while
don't do us any favors, they're about to go to the boards to...
[...] See more »
Have to first mention the great performances by Matt Damon, Edward Norton, John Malkovich, and Martin Landeau. Good story, although Worm was one the biggest jerks I've seen interpreted on film lately. Really liked the narration of what's going on during high stakes poker matches. Talked to poker playing people who thought the game was represented well. The one-on-ones between Damon and Malkovich were terrific.
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