Drama about a compulsive and gifted poker player who forgoes his future as a lawyer in order to play the high-stakes game. Matt Damon and Edward Norton star.
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This film contains very strong language
'Listen, here's the thing.
'If you can't spot the sucker
'in your first half-hour at the table,
'Guys here'll tell ya,
'you play for a living. It's like any job.
'You don't gamble, you grind it out.
'Your goal is to win one big bet an hour. That's it.
'Get your money in when you have the best of it.
'Don't give anything away.
'That's how I've paid for half of law school.
'A true grinder.
'I learnt how to win a bit at a time.
'Also, I've learnt this.
'If you're too careful, your life can become a fucking grind.
'This is Teddy KGB's place.'
'You won't find it in the Yellow Pages.'
No, not tonight.
Give me three stacks of high society.
So...you're sitting the apple. Good.
-Want a cookie?
'He doesn't look like much, but KGB's connected to the Russian mob.
'He's the one guy in the game you don't fuck with.
'But if you're looking for high stakes, this is the only place.
'They all know me as a small-timer. But that's about to change.'
< All right, I'm in.
'Joey Knish is a New York legend.
'He's been a rounder, earning his living at cards, since he was 19.'
Are you holding those for somebody?
Oh, yeah! I'm holding them for you.
You should be(!)
I hope you're not gonna put it all in play.
'He's as close to a friend as there is in this place.'
-'But I don't wanna see him.'
Hey, you don't wanna butt onions with them. They'll chew you up.
Mm...so you say.
There's easy games! We go out, get coffee, ride over to Queens.
I know what I'm doin'.
Making a run at it, aren't ya?
Rollin' up a stake and goin' to Vegas.
I'm right. Right?
I can beat the game.
Maybe. Maybe this is a game can be beat.
But you know you can beat the 10-20 and the High-Low on 79th Street.
OK. I understand.
(Back to battle.)
'The game is No-Limit Texas Hold 'Em.
'Minimum buy-in, 25,000 dollars.
'This game doesn't come together often.
'The stakes attract rich flounders, who attract the sharks.
'No-Limit Texas Hold 'Em is the Cadillac of poker.
'Each player is dealt two cards face down.
'Five cards are then dealt face up -
'community cards people can use to make the best five-card hand.
'The key is playing the man, not the cards.'
Bet an eight ball.
'There's no other game in which fortunes can change so much.
'A player can get a strong hand cracked, go on tilt,
'and lose his mind along with all the chips.'
'World Series of Poker is decided over a no-limit table.
'Some won't play no-limit. They can't handle the swings.
'But there are others like Doyle Brunson,
'who consider no-limit the only pure game left.'
'Like Wallenda said, "Life is on the wire. The rest is just waiting".'
I've gotta raise.
I'm going to raise five hundred.
Is a position raise. I call it.
'Here's the beauty of the game.'
'I just got top two pair on the flop, and I wanna keep him in.
'Normally, I'd set a trap, hardly bet at all.
'Let him walk into it. But KGB's too smart.
'So I've gotta over-bet the pot.
'Make it look like I want to buy it.
'Then he plays back at me, and I get paid off.'
'My guess is Teddy's on a flush draw.'
Burn and turn.
'My money card - nine of hearts.
'I got a full house.'
To the better.
'I want a spade for Teddy to make his flush.
'He'll bet strong and I'll win with nines full over aces.'
I'm going to...bet...
'I want him to think I'm pondering a call.
'But I'm really thinking about Vegas and the Mirage.'
All right, your 15, plus I have another 33 to raise you.
Yeah, I'm gonna go all in. I don't think you got the spades.
You are right.
I don't have...spades.
'I know before the cards are even turned over.'
No. I'm down to the felt, Knish.
I-I-I lost everything.
Man, I've lost my case money. I lost my tuition.
It happens to everyone. Everyone goes bust.
You'll be back before you know it.
No, man, I'm done. I'm... I'm out of it.
Well, they all say that at first.
Let me stake ya. The standard deal.
You know, 50 percent of your winnings.
You lose, it's on me.
I'd just throw it away.
You still got the truck?
Sure! Come on.
'You don't hear about guys who take their shot and miss.
'But I'll tell you what happens.
'They end up humping crappy jobs,
'tryin' to figure out how they came up short.
'See, I had this picture in my head.
'Me sitting at the big table, Doyle to my left, Slim to my right.
'Playing in the World Series of Poker.
'And I let that vision blind me against KGB.
'Now, the closest I get to Vegas is West New York.
'Driving a route handed down from Knish
'to rounders who forget the cardinal rule -
'always leave yourself outs.'
-Lemme ask you a question.
Can fuckin' Steinbrenner just move the Yankees?
Does he have the right to move them?
I don't know. How should I know that?
So, you didn't learn that yet?
No. We do Steinbrenner in the third year.
-Take care, man.
'The Judges' game.
'I knew about it before I was in law school.
'A group of ten or 12 judges, prosecutors and professors.
'They all have money. It would've been sweet
'to have one of 'em owing me favours.
'But no-one can get in the game now.
'One rounder, Crispy Linetta, sat under a pretence.
'When they found out he was a pro, he had major legal hassles.
'Even his regular club got shut down.
'Place had been open since 1907.'
Oh, Michael! You got some things for me?
Yes, I do.
Put 'em on the desk. It's all right.
He payin' you for this late-night shit?
Oh, well, knowledge is my reward, sir.
Well, let me tell ya, it ain't worth it.
Why don't you be a jockey(?)
Kid's a little tall, isn't he, Gene?
Enough with the recruiting spiel. Your bet.
All right, I call.
Michael's lead counsel in the moot court next week.
He could use the background if he's gonna clerk for one of you, right?
I thought you liked the kid! Why make him a civil servant?
A word to the wise. Stay in the private sector.
Those defence attorneys use our chips for coasters!
'Among them all, there isn't one card player.'
I'm still high!
Raise. Er... Professor raises.
Mike? (Michael, I would've just called.)
Oh, all right, I call.
'I don't know if I'll bring my legal career to a halt,
'but I just can't help myself.'
-It'll be good.
HE CLEARS THROAT
All right, read them and weep.
Threes check. >
Check to Martin and Lewis there(!)
Check to the raiser.
What's the limit?
20 dollars. Big bet's 20 dollars.
You've seen half the hand!
Sure this is wise, Abe? It's your money he's betting with.
We know what we're holding, and what you are.
-The fuck you know what we got!
Clerkship in your office says I know.
I don't bet with jobs like that.
You're the top of the list if you're right.
You were looking for that third three.
The professor folded it, so you're pretending to have it.
The DA knows his two pair are no good.
The judge's flush came up short,
and Mr Eisen is hoping his queens will stand up.
So like I said, the dean's bet is 20 dollars.
-Well, kiss my ass!
-Kiss my ass!
THEY ALL LAUGH
I guess you win.
What'd you have, Abe?
Just a busted straight.
It was good enough to win. Take it.
Kid, your first assignment - sit next to me.
I'd like to, but I don't play cards.
Get outta here!
We'll see you tomorrow.
-Whose deal? >
-Right here. >
-I like the kid, Abe.
-Good kid. >
'I tell ya, it's hard leaving that game.
'An open invitation to lay with those lambs.
'But I'm retired.
'The truth is, I can always find games.
'Easy games, tough games, straight games, crooked games.
'I can turn on the Jersey Turnpike and be at the Taj in two hours.
'But I've made promises.
'I'm just a law student now.'
How'd it go?
Oh, great(!) >
HE SIGHS I am sick of that fuckin' route!
Don't worry, a few more semesters.
Oh, I gotta go!
-I know. I'm really late!
Oh, I'll be quick. You won't feel a thing.
THEY BOTH CHUCKLE
We both know that's not true.
Besides, you should get some sleep.
These long nights are killing me!
They never used to(!)
That's different. That was like, buy in at 8pm,
next you know, it's morning.
But I think I'm hooked up for the summer!
Hooked up how?
Well, after I left you last night, I impressed Judge Marinacci.
I might be in line for a clerkship.
Tell me more.
Well, those guys were all playing cards and, um...
Here me out. They were playing cards and I read his hand blind.
So, instead of coming home, you played cards?
Er, no, I wasn't even playing. No, they were playing.
I caught his eye by reading his hand.
As long as I don't fuck up moot court, the job's mine.
What kinda job is that gonna be?
Um, writing an opinion on high-stakes poker?
You said I should use my poker skills in the courtroom.
Yeah, I know I said that, but...
I meant you should use your head.
The way you calculate odds, the way you read people.
I didn't mean you should con your way into a summer job.
Honey, con? I was networking!
Oh, God! Networking(?)
Are you tryin' to con me now?
No, no, no.
I just, I don't think you get it.
You'll be just like one of those ex-college athletes.
Great job at the DA's office
as long as they don't miss a lawyers' league game.
It's true. If you get in this way, you'll always be a hustler to them.
Baby... I didn't even play.
(I'll see you later.)
Hon, can I take the Jeep tomorrow?
Worm's out. I was gonna pick him up.
I promised I'd be there, hon.
I just can't believe you still know someone called Worm!
He's like my brother!
Shit, I didn't even play!
'I met Worm at Dwight Englewood Preparatory Academy in Jersey.
'We were the only kids without a trust fund.
'Dad's office said "custodian" on the door.
'That's why they took me.'
Was, was that like, your strong finish or somethin'?
-You leave me no choice!
Fourth time you did that to me!
No, no, no, no, no, no. Dowling had it three hands ago,
and two hands ago, I got it. So don't bitch.
-He shot the moon on that hand!
-I saw that.
So it helped you.
Now... OK, you're right.
You ain't takin' our grits.
Look, you know the drill, OK? I'm not gonna smoke 'em.
You want 'em back, try double or nothing.
Murphy! What you sittin' there for?
You're processed. Come on!
Processed? This motherfucker's getting the jump!
Have some decency, Worm. You can buy all the smokes you want.
I won these fair and square!
You don't even smoke!
Jesus! You guys are fuckin' babies! You know that?
If you want to die of cancer, learn how to play cards!
Don't add insult to injury. It'll come back and hurt you.
Not in this lifetime, Homes! Enjoy your time(!)
'Worm's dad did the grounds when he was sober, or we did them.
'The grounds weren't all we did.
'We did a scam a day on all the young aristocrats at school.
'Selling 'em dime bags of oregano, nunchakus and firecrackers.'
Where's the rest?
'It kept us in lunch money.'
'Until we went for more than change and got caught.
'We had the starting five take a dive.
'The point guard snapped, and gave Worm up.
'They hauled him up and offered him a deal.
'Give us some names, and we'll go easy on ya.
'Worm didn't say a word. Got expelled.
'I stayed in school and graduated.'
Crank the outside!
'Not many guys would stand up for a friend.'
Mike McD! God! I knew you'd be here!
You never let me down!
I would've visited if you let me.
I couldn't let you see me here.
Good to see you! You look great!
-Did they toughen you up?
Naw, naw, naw. This was a piece of cake!
Wow! Man, look at your ride!
You've been prospering!
I-I borrowed it.
Get in it and drive me far away from here.
There's two economies in there - cash and trade.
I got three games goin' at once!
The white guys, brothers and guards.
I gotta take enough cash off the white guys to lose it to the guards,
so that they keep doin' me favours.
I trim enough smokes off the black guys to trade
and keep in the style I'm accustomed to.
All this without gettin' my ass kicked!
You work with a partner?
No! Who the hell can I trust?
-It's just me.
Like it? Isn't it beautiful? It's an ace up my sleeve!
Wait till I show you some of my chops, man. I'm blindin'!
-It's like, it's like, you know.
It's gonna blow your mind!
Been workin'? Is your game sharp?
No, man. I'm-I'm off it. I'm...
You gettin' cold cards?
No, man. I mean, I-I-I quit.
Are you shittin' me?
No, man! I...
I got cleaned out.
Mike McD! You lost?
It was a real blood game at KGB's place.
The mad Russian emptied your pockets?
Yeah. I didn't wanna tell ya, man.
I didn't wanna dispirit ya.
Jesus! You're just a student now? What you doin' for money?
I'm driving, er, Knish's truck.
Oh, God, you're killin' me!
-We gotta get you back on the game!
-No, no, no, no, no.
I'm off it. I really am. I'm done.
All right, I know a game perfect for the two of us.
A berry patch outside New York. Prime pickings.
I'll drop you off.
I mean it! No, I'm really off it.
I know. I know.
Yeah, this is it. This is it.
OK, here's the play. I know this girl, Barbara.
She's fuckin' hot! I was this close to bangin' her.
She's a hostess for the trust-fund babies. She got me into their game.
She introduced me as her cousin
who wants to learn poker.
That's a nice hook-up!
It's all-the-way nice. There's only one problem.
I got this feelin'.
What feelin' is that exactly?
You know this feelin' very well.
You got your table all set,
knife, fork, sauce, A-One, Luger's, but...
You don't have the steak.
Exactly! Glad you understand.
A nickel would start me nicely.
Jesus! What have you been livin' on?
Been livin' light. That's 220. So that'll get you started.
220? I mean, hey, thanks, but...
I mean, that's like... eleven bets!
I can't even get a table image!
Forget it, man. I'll straighten you out in the city.
No way! I gotta get started.
I mean, I'm already behind.
You just got out! What's the hurry?
There's about five guys, like, eagerly awaiting my release.
How much do you owe?
I can't even figure it with the juice.
I can get started on this easy if we work together.
I hear you asking, man, but I can't do that.
I just can't do that. I-I made promises.
You know what? I totally understand. I do.
It's fine. I'll just make a few moves early, but...
-Thanks. I appreciate it.
-You got it! Catch you tomorrow?
-Yeah, you bet.
Hey, Mike, man, fuckin' great to see ya!
'In Confessions of a Winning Poker Player, Jack King said,
"Few players recall big pots they have won,
"but every player can remember
"the tough beats of his career".
'Walkin' in here, I hardly remember how I built my bankroll,
'but I can't stop thinkin' how I lost it.'
Barbara. Worm said you'd be runnin' late. Just follow me.
I probably won't sit, I'll just keep him company.
No, no, that's not gonna work.
You're my new boyfriend, lookin' for a regular game.
Well, I'm not much of a card player.
Worm tells me that's precisely what you are.
My cut is 25 percent.
Good. Come on.
Gentlemen... this is my boyfriend Michael.
ALL: Hello, Michael.
Leave him enough money to buy me breakfast.
THEY ALL CHUCKLE
-Good luck, hon.
Why don't you pull up a chair?
OK, this one's Chicago.
You know Chicago?
Er, remind me.
Stud game. High spade in the hole wins half the pot.
OK, well, deal me in, I guess.
-Two on you, Murph. >
-I'm gonna make it five.
Hey, big spender(!)
'We fall into our old rhythm like Clyde Frazier and Pearl Monroe.
'Old tricks, stuff that'd never play in the city.
'Signalling, chip placing, trapping. Even the old best-hand play.
'I could crack the game straight up, but there's no risk here.
'Some people might call Worm's mechanics immoral.
'But it's immoral to let a sucker keep his money.
'Like they teach you in One-L, caveat emptor, pal.'
I got the boat. Queens over.
Does that sting? >
See if that stung, Birch.
'Worm really has become an artist.
'Discard culls, pickup culls.
'His technique is flawless.
'But his judgement is a little off.
'A few times, I have to fold the case hand.
'Still, he plays the part of a loser to perfection.'
Full house - queens over the aces.
Fuck you and your string of boats, OK?
My uncle says, "If the money's gone, it's time to go".
So enjoy it, you secret-handshaking assholes!
Murph! Hey, come back anytime.
Your money's always good here.
Good night, see ya next time! >
You guys, er, wanna keep playin'?
Was that the last one?
Yeah, that's it.
How'd we do? Oh, beautiful!
Fuckin' assholes, they deserved it!
All right, 300. That's your cut.
Thank you very much, boys.
You were great! When can we do it again?
-Naw, it was a one-time thing for me.
-Er, two weeks.
OK! OK! Hey, thanks a lot!
Hey, I had to try, right?
How'd you know I was comin' back?
Easy! Who's your favourite actor?
Clint Eastwood! The Outlaw Josey Wales!
The Man With No Name. Always doubles back for a friend.
Hey, we made good time. Wanna get breakfast?
No, I gotta get home. If she hasn't changed the locks.
Do me a favour. Give me five minutes. Get me straightened out.
This ain't Teddy's place or the Ivy Leagues,
so don't fuck around. Play on your belly.
(All right, no problem.)
I got no problem with the way you work,
but this lot are fast company. They'll spot every move.
You won't just get a finger up your spine.
OK, I'll play it straight.
-How ya doin', Mikey?
I'm good. The computer tried to delete you last week.
-But I knew you'd be back.
I'm not back, I just... Good to see ya.
Good to see you, too.
Um, this is Les Murphy. He's like my brother.
-Call me Worm.
Hey, don't wiggle away(!)
(What's she wearin' the button for?)
They're wired to the precinct. They're on the payroll.
What are they playin'?
20-40 forced rotation. It's the only game goin' now.
Is that Fat Greggie? The game's that soft?
Yeah. It's a real live game.
So, you guys gonna play?
-You're walking away?
-It's not gonna happen.
We could cut this room up in an hour!
All right, run along, then.
Say hi to her for me.
I will. Take care of him.
Jesus! What a fuckin' waste! Can you believe that?
She's got him by the balls!
That's not so bad, is it?
Depends on the grip. Give me 2,000.
On the finger?
You heard Mike. He's good for it. Come on.
I'll gonna triple that, princess!
Reunion run a little late?
I was gonna call, but I didn't wanna wake you.
It's OK. I wasn't sleeping.
Why don't you change? We'll get a cab.
Um, go ahead. I'm gonna jump in the shower.
If I miss some of the meeting, just cover for me.
At least give me a story.
I mean...tell me you were drinking till you threw up.
Tell me you were getting lap dances.
Just...give me something.
I was entertaining Worm. I mean...
least I can do for the guy.
So, you were nowhere near a card game?
I'm asking you a question.
No, I was nowhere near a card game. All right?
All right. I'll wait for you.
The key is a seamless passing the baton among the team.
Be respectful to the judges, but not obsequious.
Make sure to be deferential.
Gene won't buy deferential.
Oh, I see. It's Gene, is it?
There is a reason you're lead counsel, and it's not punctuality!
Sorry. I couldn't find a cab.
When opening, stick to the fact pattern.
Use the right cites - book cites, not Lexis.
Hi, Jo! Long time.
Knish! How are you?
I don't mean to interrupt you future magistrates and noblemen,
but I, er, I need a word.
OK. Er, excuse me. Sorry.
I'll act as lead counsel.
It's all right, we were gonna take a break.
The guy's a cheat. He always has been.
He's ruining your reputation with every lousy second he deals.
Shit! I told him. Anybody see him?
No. But I heard that snapping sound.
If I didn't know him, I wouldn't have noticed.
I saw his mechanic's grip, I knew. Want one?
No. Did you give him the office?
I tried, but he looked right through me.
I'll go get him.
He's OK. They're at the end of a long session.
They can't see straight. Come on, I'll buy you a coffee.
But when Roman and Maurice start, he'll wish he was inside.
I'm gonna go get him!
'Amarillo Slim, the greatest proposition gambler,
'held to his father's maxim.
'"You can shear a sheep many times, but skin him only once."
'This is a lesson Worm's never bothered to learn.'
BOTH SPEAK RUSSIAN
Hey, guys, English only here, no Russian.
What are you talking about?
If you want to see this 7th card, stop speaking sputnik!
-He worry we work together.
I know you're talkin' about pirogies and snow, but cut it out.
There's the river. Down and dirty.
You got that ace, but I'll pay for it.
I got the jacks. Come on.
-Oh, you got it!
I got sevens, too, though, with my jacks.
Motherfucker, slow rolling me like that!
You said just jacks!
You made me for the sevens, Maurice.
Don't be a baby! Jesus!
-Hey, Maurice. BOTH:
Here to play? We need new blood.
They're putting a bracelet on me, and I'm stuck two racks.
Have a good rest, man. Can I talk to you?
No way, man, I'm on a roll. It's an emotional game!
Gotta do it.
-BOTH SPEAK RUSSIAN:
-I counted them.
Leave it. It's fine.
BOTH SPEAK RUSSIAN
-What's goin' on?
-Where you at?
I was pumped up eight Gs. I was ready to go on a run!
-Wait, I want a hot dog.
You're here minutes, you got a sign on your back!
That fuckin' Knish rat me out?
You gotta stop listening to him.
He doesn't have the balls to play.
He hasn't had to work in 15 years.
You don't think he works? Grinding it out on his leather ass?
I thought so, too. Now I know what real work is.
Are you even gonna get a job? Or are you gonna print credit cards?
Are you gonna go away again?
I wasn't printing, I was distributing. It's different.
I'm never going back there. Stop worrying, OK?
I just want you to think long-term. Be smart.
Every place in Manhattan keeps books.
Get listed as a mechanic, get the shit kicked outta ya,
and you won't get a game in New York.
It's stupid! Bad business!
This is what I love! You think about the big picture.
Great! But it's not me.
I don't play the game straight, then if I lose, I get real work, OK?
I see a mark, I take him down. That's how I live.
I know. You taught me the angles, but I haven't got my nose open.
Ah, come on! Come on!
I won't preach, but those two aren't rabbits.
Roman and Maurice are Russian outfit guys.
Not as bad as KGB, but don't fuck with them.
With the fake Versace shirts and shit? Jesus!
You still got time. Just go back in there,
lose their money back to 'em. Make it look good.
Catch a run of shitty cards.
I can't. I got to put some scratch together, get somethin' goin'.
Go to suburbia, play in a dentist's game.
Play Swan Meadow golf!
That's an idea! I'll definitely do that.
But I can't dump to these guys.
You got to.
All right, whatever! Meet me at Stromboli's in half an hour.
I can't. I have a meeting, then I gotta go to Queens.
You're a working man. I'll never see you!
Make it look good. I mean it!
You know me.
-So, how'd you do?
Six thousand, two thousand.
Oh, hold on. Two more.
All right, so it's ten grand total.
We take back two, give you the white meat.
You know what? Why don't you give me all of it?
Credit players only take their profit,
or the juice starts five points a week on Mike.
Oh. OK, we'll owe ya.
Hey! I've been looking all over for you.
I didn't want to be found.
Petrovsky waited. They all did.
Jo, I missed one meeting.
I don't care about the meeting!
Do you know why I left early?
I found that gangster's roll.
It's not what you think. It's not!
Who do you think I am? You lie to my face?
Look, old days, at least you never lied.
You lost everything, but you never lied.
It wasn't a real game, it was like whiffle ball.
-Lose your rent playing it?
-I couldn't lose!
No, Mike, you can lose!
I stood by you while you lost everything. I can't do that...
Why does this still seem like gambling to you?
Why do the same guys make it to the final at the World Series of poker?
Are they the luckiest guys in Vegas? It's a skill game!
Great. So, why'd you lie to me?
You wouldn't understand.
Last night, I sat down at this card table.
I felt alive for the first time since I got busted at KGB's.
You said you felt alive for the first time at a card table!
-What's that supposed to make me understand?
MUSIC: "I Hate Myself For Loving You" by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
I heard you was out.
Hey, fuckin' Grama! How ya doin'?
You know, I could use you.
-I'll need you on the payroll.
I got some bad news for ya, Worm. I'm out on my own now.
There were a lot of angry, mad people when you went away.
So I'm putting together a roll...
A lot of people askin' me for help, askin' me to find you.
So it got me to thinkin'.
You're thinkin'? That's big(!)
Hey, Jesus! Come on, take it easy! God!
He's a friend of mine(!)
Hey! Hey! Jesus! Easy, easy, easy, easy! God!
Get the fuck outta here! Get the fuck out!
Hey, man, take it easy! Easy!
Get the fuck outta here!
OK, here's what I'm thinkin'.
Instead of owing 15 grand spread out to five guys, you owe 25 to me.
Where the fuck do you get off?
Where the fuck do I get off?
This is how it is. 25 grand, and the juice is still runnin'.
What you doin'? You were my partner!
No, no, no. I was your lackey.
But I learned a few things.
I, er... consolidated your outstanding debt.
Where'd you get the scratch for that?
Been rollin' fags in the village(?)
Still a wise ass. Unbelievable!
I went partners with an old friend of yours.
Teddy KGB backed me.
Teddy's got plenty of goons. Why would he want you?
Cos as soon as he heard your name, he became real excited.
What? So, you bought me up, Grama?
Yeah. Got a real sweet deal. Thirty cents on the dollar.
There's no faith in you in the business community.
You're a banker now? Classy!
I don't have to tell you my collection methods.
-Oh, God! All right. Look, just take it easy.
I'll scrape somethin' together.
-That's what I figured.
-No, no, no, no!
I'll take what you got on you.
Here, fine. Have yourself a ball, OK(?)
JAZZ MUSIC PLAYS
Mind if I sit?
Please, please! Sit, sit!
Nifty trick, the other night.
Well, thank you.
Marinacci and the DA were ready to cut cards for your services!
It was a different trick,
that disappearing act you pulled at your group's meeting.
Well, I owe you an explanation.
No, not to me. I'm sure there's a good reason you left.
You'll have to work harder, prepare,
and smooth things out with the others.
Right. Yeah, OK.
OK. Well, thanks.
Stay! Take a drink.
Jamie? Another glass.
What are you drinking?
Gin. Always gin.
-Here you go.
I know a magician doesn't divulge his secrets, but...
HE CHUCKLES I'm no magician!
Well, if it wasn't magic...
how did you know what everyone held?
It's a combination of things.
I was watching when the cards came out.
That's just an old habit with me. Like breathing.
You watch the cards?
And I watch the players reacting to the cards.
That's how I knew the DA had a pair
and Judge Kaplar missed the flush.
I watched their eyes. Their faces tell ya everythin'.
You watch the man.
I never knew you had to calculate at cards!
I mean...my God!
All right, here's the thing.
You wanna play premium hands.
Start with jacks or split. Nines are better wired.
Three high cards to a flush. If it's good enough to call, raise!
Tight but aggressive. That's your style, Professor.
I mean, you gotta think of it as a war.
You are officially never invited to our game again(!)
Put a guy like me in a game like that,
and cards don't matter. I'll play it blind.
..may I tell you a story?
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, er, the pride of my yeshiva.
I had a 40-year-old's understanding of the Midrash by the time I was 12.
But by the time I was 13...
..I knew I could never be a rabbi.
Because for all I understood of the Talmud...
..I never saw God there.
You, you couldn't lie to yourself?
I tried. Oh, I tried like crazy.
People were counting on me.
Well, but... yours is a respectable profession.
Not to my family.
My parents were destroyed.
Devastated by my decision.
My father sent me away...
to New York...
to live with distant cousins.
Eventually, I-I-I found my place,
my life's work.
Well, I immersed myself fully,
I learned everything I could about the law.
I felt deeply inside that it was what I was born to do.
Did your parents get over it?
No. I always hoped that I would find...
some way to change their minds, but...
..they were inconsolable.
My father never spoke to me again.
If you had to do it over again...
..would you make the same choices?
The last thing I took away from the yeshiva is this -
we can't run from who we are.
Our destiny chooses us.
Where you been? I'm freezin'!
I ran into a door. Don't worry.
She crossed her legs too fast! Mind your own business!
You comin' up?
No, I've been waitin' to say hi!
Things haven't been smooth at home, so tone it down a little.
Tone down what, motherfucker(?)
Great(!) Never mind.
When you're rich, can you get an elevator?
What? Did you get robbed?
Wait, wait, wait. Did she split on you?
Oh, my God! Mike, she made off with your sheets.
She'd be a good card player - know when to release a shitty hand.
Oh, come on, Mike, forget that.
She's wrapped too tight for living.
No, she was a good...
I knew it! I fuckin' knew it!
It's depressing! You know, you can't trust 'em at all!
You domesticated yourself for this girl.
Took yourself out of life and walked the line!
The minute you want some back, she walks out!
It's like the saying says, you know?
In the poker game of life, women are the rake.
They are the fuckin' rake!
What the fuck are you talkin' about? What saying?
I don't know.
There oughtta be one.
Know what cheers me up when I feel shitty?
Rolled-up aces over kings.
Is that right?
Yeah. Check-raising stupid tourists and taking huge pots off 'em!
Stacks and towers of checks I can't even see over.
Playin' all night, high-limit Hold 'Em at the Taj,
where the sand turns to gold.
Fuck it! Let's go!
Don't tease me.
Let's play some fuckin' cards!
'The poker room at the Mirage in Vegas
'is the centre of the universe.
'Doyle Brunson, all the legends consider it their office.
'Every few days, a millionaire tries to beat a champion.
'They go home with just a story.
'Here, millionaires are scarce.
'But there's plenty of money to be won.
'Weekends, you can't get a game
'cos the rounders take care of the tourists.'
Hey! Warm up a seat for me. I'll catch up with ya.
Look, I got certain needs I gotta attend to, OK? I'm overdue!
Good! I was startin' to wonder!
I thought the boys upstate brought a few changes in you.
Hey! In your dreams, lover(!)
This is beautiful! Welcome to The Chesterfield South!
-Changing five hundred.
Come all the way just to see your mugs!
Twice in one week.
For a guy who don't play, you're here a lot!
This is what I like to see - Mike where he belongs.
Here with the scumbags, draggin' the occasional pot.
Occasional? My ex-wife occasionally dated other men(!)
Forget her, Face.
I was gonna try and make some real money,
but in honour of Mike's return, I'll sit with you all for awhile.
Don't do us any favours. They're going to the board for these seats.
If we wanted each other's rolls, we could've stayed home.
'These two have no idea what they're walking into.'
'Here for fun, they think, why not try poker?'
'How different can it be from the home games they play?'
'All the luck in the world won't change things for these guys.
'They're simply overmatched.
'We're not playing together,
'but we're not against each other, either.
'It's like the nature channel.
'Piranhas don't eat each other.'
'They wear their tells like signs around their necks.
'Facial ticks, nervous fingers,
'a hand over a mouth, the way a cigarette is smoked.
'Little unconscious gestures reveal the cards in their hands.
'We catch everything.
'A fish acts strong, he's bluffing. Meek, he's got a hand.
'It's that simple.'
How are ya, you workaholics?
Good to see ya. Glad you're out.
Number's changed. A lot of games on, so you'll need it.
I'll give you a ring.
They allow people like you in these places?
When you get yourself a job, you can be my PO. How about that?
Now, let's get started, shall we?
You can't take chips from another player at the table.
We all know each other, and we're friends. Do you have a problem?
It's all right!
Sir, you have to buy 'em from me.
Fuck this! Can we go get somethin' to eat?
-I got comped at the noodle bar.
I wanna talk to you.
Look who's treatin' to a free meal(!)
Don't let him fuck up your head more than it is, Mikey.
Keep grinding out rent money. It's noble work(!)
So, hey, Nick the Greek, um...
what's with kitin' my checks?
I'm on empty, that's why.
You're tapped again? How much was the hooker?
Relaxation therapist, OK?
It's not where it went.
Wait a minute! It went to Roman and Maurice?
You didn't have to give it all back.
Take a little money for your time.
That's not where it went, either.
-I ran into Grama tonight.
He took everythin' I had.
You're kiddin' me, hm? Who's he workin' for?
He's sort of, he's sort of out on his own.
Grama went around, bought up all my debt.
That turncoat motherfucker!
You kiddin'? What do you owe him?
I don't know. By his crazy fuckin' gorilla maths, like... 15.
The juice has been runnin' the entire time on my ten.
Why didn't you tell me that, man?
I could've paid that off. I had the money!
I won't sit in the can and have my friend pay my debt!
I'm not a leech, all right?
We can help each other. That's why we're here.
That's why we gotta get in the bigger game!
All right, I'll help you, man.
Fuck him! We'll figure it out.
How long should we wait, Abe?
Let's wait five minutes, then choose another lead counsel.
Here he comes.
Mr McDermott. Perhaps we can begin now?
Sir, sorry I'm late.
Slater versus New York State Higher Education Services.
The facts have been stipulated, briefs have been read.
Lead counsel for plaintiff, Mr McDermott.
Please proceed with oral arguments now.
If that is convenient for you?
Yes, it is. Again, I'm sorry, er, that I'm late.
Um... I think clearly the, er...
the case which controls the issue at bar
would be, er, Texas versus Johnson.
Texas versus Johnson?
Mr McDermott, that is a Supreme Court free-speech case
that has no bearing in the premises.
Each group was apprised to ignore that aspect of this matter
and focus on de facto segregation.
Right. Um, well...
Mr McDermott was unreachable. I'll take over if it pleases you.
Someone saying something meaningful would please us.
This is a clear case of gerrymandering.
Impacting children in a district separating students by race.
Although not dispositive, the student body is more than 99% white.
Well, that was impressive(!)
Usually, you have to know something about a case!
Guys...what, what can I say?
It worked out great for me. I think I impressed Marinacci.
-We're not gonna talk?
You left me pretty quick there.
You make it sound like my decision.
Well, it wasn't mine! I came home and you were gone.
You just gonna drop me like that?
I learnt it from you, Mike.
You told me this was the rule -
throw in your cards the moment you know they can't win.
Fold the hand.
This is us we're talkin' about, not poker!
I know exactly what we're talking about.
So, that's the last of it, then?
I'd say good luck, but I know it's not about luck in your game.
'Eric Seidel cannot win this hand, and yet he doesn't know it.
'Chan is trying to sucker him in...
'by taking his time.
'Oh, look at that look of the defending champ!
'And now 5th Street! A six of diamonds! No help!
'Johnny Chan has a queen-high straight.
'Will Eric Seidel fall for the bait?
'Yes, he's going all in, and Chan has him!
'Johnny Chan, the master.'
'Yes, he's going all in, and Chan has him!'
Oh, hey, Mike, it's Petra. Can I come up?
'Yeah. I'll buzz you in.'
'That's the important thing with Hold 'Em.
'You're never out until your chips are gone...'
Hey! How ya doin'?
I haven't seen the place in a while.
It looks about the same.
You want some, um, you want some Scotch?
No, I'm fine.
Wow! '88 World Series, huh?
Johnny Chan flops the nut straight
and has the discipline to wait him out.
He knows Seidel's gonna bluff at it.
Johnny fuckin' Chan.
'Chan is trying to sucker him in... by taking his time.'
Look at the control. Look at that fuck!
Knows his man well enough to check it all the way
and risk winnin' nothin' with those cards. He owns him.
'Will Eric Seidel fall for the bait?
'Yes, he's going all in, and Chan has him!'
Mm, poor Seidel. Kid doesn't know what hit him.
I know what that feels like.
A locomotive running through your stomach.
You feel gut-shot. You didn't come to talk about this.
What's goin' on?
Tomorrow's a week.
A week of what?
First two thousand you owe The Chesterfield.
Oh, er... Worm!
Yeah, it's weird. He won eight grand.
Why go on the line behind another two?
So, he took about eight off, er, Roman and Maurice?
Yeah. Yeah. He comes in after you leave,
sits for like, er, 20 minutes,
cashes out for the full amount.
Maurice hasn't been back. He's playin' 'cross the street.
But, er... Worm's been around plenty.
He's run you up seven grand.
Yeah. Do me a favour and just put him on his own.
Yeah, cut him off! Um, I tell ya, I got a thousand.
I got a thou. That's, you know...
I'm just comin' back, so...
Thanks for makin' it easy, Mike.
Oh, yeah, yeah.
I'm...er, I'm sorry to be back here for this reason.
Don't worry about it!
No, I-I like being here.
It's good to see you, Mike.
-No, no, no!
-I could stay.
I tell ya, I'll, um, I'll come, I'll see ya at the club.
-I'll come by this weekend.
I know you're in here!
Hey, I thought you were the janitor, man!
It's a good thing Grama doesn't know you like I do.
I'll play ya a horse. 50 a letter.
When I win, you gonna give me back my money?
Oh, oh, easy! Relax! Don't wing it.
Just step and throw, you know?
You need to work on your accuracy.
Stop fuckin' around for five goddamn minutes!
Jesus! My old man just walked in the door.
I should beat the shit outta ya like he used to.
Remember when we found this place?
Yeah, I remember when we found this place.
You were hidin' out from Tommy cos he was gonna pound you.
Now, what did I ever do to him?
You fucked his mother.
Yeah, but she was a good-lookin' older woman.
You spent a year hidin' from that sick fuck.
Then he pissed off the wrong guy, who dropped a trash can on his head!
Those were wild times! You were there!
Nothing's changed! You hid from your troubles then, you still do!
I like to hide! It's part of the fun.
I don't like running solo. I used to have a running partner!
Back then, if we got caught,
we'd catch a beating or get expelled.
But you're fixin' to go down hard. It's like you want to!
Stop worrying so much about me.
A garbage can won't drop on my head!
No, you'll get out of the way. It'll land on me.
I'll see ya.
Come on, Mike! Hey! Hey! Come on! Come on!
I'm sorry about the money. I should've told ya.
Just... it's fuckin' embarrassing, all right?
-I-I'm in a big fuckin' hole,
I need to get goin'. I gotta get started.
I won't lie. There's been some reversals.
Some reversals. How much money do you have?
I caught a frozen wave of cards!
I'm getting you out of hock, I'm seven grand in.
I know, man. I was really, I was really up big.
I was, I was cruisin' along,
I tried to beat the game at The Horseshoe.
That place is a mitt joint!
It was, ouch! I'm stupid! I thought I'd neutralise them.
You're jammin' me up here. Seven grand!
That's it. I can't go any deeper!
I understand. It's OK.
You gotta square things with Grama.
No way! I'm not talkin' to that fuckin' Judas!
You think there's any other way?
'I know the reasons I shouldn't be here.
'But sometimes, reasons don't matter.
'No-one's stood up for Worm.
'The guy's been kicked around his whole life.'
KNOCKS ON DOOR
'He's not the same guy he was when he went away,
'but I can't give up on him that easy.
'I'm all he's got.'
Oh, what the hell?
You cops? You look like cops.
We're not cops.
You want a twirl, then?
No, no, we're here to see Grama.
You sure about this?
No, it's all right. Just... let me do the talking, all right?
Hey, Grama. Long time.
Worm! It's good you came. Smart thinkin'.
Did you bring him to help carry all my money?
There's no money today.
No money? There's gotta be some money.
Come on. Get outta here.
He's not kiddin'. I got nothin'!
You owe 25. I'll take the rest in five days.
Five grand in a week. You keep the juice at...
(Ssh! Quiet!) You gotta catch 'em in the act.
Get in your hole, you bitch!
That fuckin' dog!
If you let 'em get away, they think they own the place.
-So, where were we?
Five grand. In a week.
Hey, come on, Grama, we wanna square this thing.
But three days, that's impossible.
We know you're the man. Think of it as a business decision.
He just got out. Let's put him on a plan.
No! This isn't The Money Store.
I don't negotiate. I tell you how it works.
All right. Well, then, I'm askin'.
So, you're lookin' for a little grace? Some charity?
I need your charity like I need your cock in my ass!
Hey, shut the fuck up!
No, it's too fuckin' late for him to shut up!
Hey! Listen! He's good for it!
If you think that, it's on you, too!
Then it's on me, too.
Fifteen large, five days, or I break things!
I hear you.
Get the fuck outta here!
Piece of shit!
What the hell are you doin'?
I'm not going down on my knees!
All I said is keep your mouth shut for five seconds!
-I'm sorry, man.
That's it, man. I'm really sunk now.
15 grand in 5 days, I can do that.
I've gone on rushes like that.
Under optimum conditions with a bankroll, maybe. But...
What you got on you?
I've got, like, 350.
We might as well play the fuckin' Lotto!
You find the games, scout 'em out. I sit, I mop 'em up.
We'd have a shot at this if we did our thing.
No, I'm not gonna do that. I'm gonna do this straight up!
-I mean it!
Where do you wanna start?
There's a 30-60 at The Chesterfield.
Listen! There's the 4am in Woodside, the Greeks.
There's a game in Jersey. I know a guy who can get us in.
-A cigar shop in Brooklyn - easy.
-The golf pro game in Riverdale.
-Yeah, that's good!
-Sure you're up for this?
-I'm up for this!
I bet the full amount.
The full amount, huh? Let me look at you here.
No, you didn't do it. I'll raise.
-I don't know.
-Ace bets 50.
I kinda like the Rabusto. Nice nutty finish.
I love the Cameroon wrapper on this baby. Nice and oily.
What d'ya got?
What's known as the wheel.
It's got earthy tones, a smooth draw,
enough kick to win me the high and low.
I-I only got a pair.
Does he look like a man beaten by jacks?
Jacks are a monster compared to the crap you play!
Ah, fuck you! Fuck you!
Fuck me? Fuck you!
It's only money.
Let's get some in there. Make it five.
You're raisin' me 300, kid?
I call your 300. How much is in there?
Here's 1,000, there's 500.
I bet ya the pot limit, kiddo.
Are you sure on that, Goldie?
Leave somethin' for your daughter's ridin' lessons.
There's a lot more where that came from.
Take it down.
I got shit! Look at this, I bluffed the big ringer!
You're a master thespian(!)
Let's go! Come on, we're done!
Anytime, anyplace, anywhere, anybody.
Thanks a lot(!) Buy real jewellery, cheap bastard!
-What was that?
-I didn't have it.
You didn't have it? What does that mean?
You had to have it to take a pot off him?
A kid woulda played back...
I was waiting him out. I was gonna take him.
You know what? We don't have time!
He was papier mache. Make strong moves!
The move was folding! I can't lose what I don't put down.
Oh, Jesus! Fuck that! We needed that pot!
What are we up to?
That's like seven. Seven.
With that pot you just dumped, we woulda had ten!
Look at you. One 64-hour session, you need a nap.
I don't have time for a nap!
No, we don't. Come on, I know what you need.
I got just the place for you.
MUSIC: "Strada de Bosco" by Mario Napoletano
I feel like I'm gonna get whacked sittin' here like this.
We got 7,300.
We gotta double that in two days.
We'll get close. If we come up a little short, Grama's...
If we come up short, Grama will shoot us and bury us in a hole.
I know this game up in Binghampton.
Yeah, yeah. It's like 16 or 17 guys.
Two full tables. All municipal workers.
They play when they get their pay cheques. It's very fat.
You sure? Binghampton's five hours each way.
Yeah. Well... I figure there's 15 or 20 grand in that room.
If we get even half of that... we're home.
Lead me to it.
Municipal workers, huh?
What? These guys work for the city!
They work for the state, you idiot!
Oh, this is just stupid!
Look...we're here, OK?
I mean, got any better ideas?
How am I supposed to get in this game?
Easy! When I was inside, I was dumpin' money to guards.
This one guy, Pete Frye, I lost, like, ten grand over 18 months.
He thinks I'm a total fish.
He said if I want a game, look up his nephew.
You go in there, you ask for Sean Frye, you're in.
These guys are total suckers!
All right. Gimme eight hours. Come back at 7:00, 7:30.
What am I gonna do? Why don't I come in, sit for a while?
No! No, not a chance!
I'll play straight!
Fine. You go in there, I'll be back in eight hours!
Ah, Jesus! All right, all right.
I'll find a fuckin' bowling alley. I don't know!
May I help you?
I'm looking for Sean Frye.
Right over there in that cap.
Uncle Pete told me to come by if I was around here.
You one of his students?
Oh, no, no, no, no, no! I-I wasn't inside.
You know him from huntin'?
Yeah! I met him over at, er... he took me for a grand at the lodge.
Well, that's the buy-in here.
We play 20-40 stud. Grab a seat.
All right, last one.
-How ya doin'? I'm Mike.
-This is Whitley.
Back at ya.
All right, you and me, Mike.
He's ridin' it. Forty it is.
'Generally, the nicer the guy, the poorer the card player.
'These guys, despite being cops, are sweethearts.'
'I'm right on schedule. Up 4,200.
'The morning can't get here soon enough.'
Holy shit, that's a hell of an elk! It's beautiful!
Ain't that a beauty? Hey, fellas!
ALL: Hey, Bear!
I met this guy down at the alley. He likes to play cards.
-You've come to the right place!
This is Whitley. This guy's name is Mike.
-Mike, how are ya?
-This is Vitter.
Les Murphy. What you playin'?
-OK, deal me in!
-All right, your money's good here.
-Give the boy some chips!
All right, everybody in.
Here they come. Let's play some cards.
Well, I like what I have.
The bet is 20.
I know that look. I'm gonna fold!
-I fold, too.
-I'm with you.
-I'll take it.
-ALL: Yes, sir.
Wow! Wow! A lot of action.
-I got a flush.
Jesus! Who wants more? I'm in.
Stageing a late-night comeback here.
OK? Just to, just to warn ya.
-Er, ace checks. <
Check on an ace? All right. I'll check.
Free card. Let's go. Fourth Street...
-Hold on there!
-Whoa! Easy! Easy!
-Gimme the deck!
-What is it?
-We got a road gang here.
A what? What are you...? What?
What's going on here, Stu?
This son of a bitch is base dealing. Caught a hanger, Sarge.
What? A hanger? What are you sayin'?
You're dealing off the bottom.
Oh, God! Come on, guys! Jesus!
-What did he give him?
-Seven of hearts.
-You boys professionals?
Hey, no! Listen, I was winnin' before he got here!
-Let the cards do the talkin'.
See if a seven helps you. Turn the cards.
What? Hey, come on, it's three of a kind!
-You dealt Ozzie three...
(It's three of a kind!)
One last thing. Stu?
Hey, take it easy! Aren't you gonna read us our rights?
Here's your fuckin' rights!
Get the fuck outta here, cocksuckers!
HE PANTS Hey!
Hey, you all right?
You should've played those kings.
Oh, you're an asshole!
I know. I'm sorry.
They took every fuckin' nickel!
I think I got 300 in my boot somewhere.
Oh, look at you! Fuck!
Fuck! I cannot believe I caught a hanger!
It's never happened, I swear to God!
Where is the car?
Oh, God! I think I cracked a rib.
What the fuck were you thinkin'?
I was tryin' to give us an edge.
I had 'em!
Hey, I'm sorry we got banged up!
I took a shot and missed. It happens!
Happens all the time around you!
And it doesn't happen to you?
You flushed your bankroll on one hand!
Fuck you! That was different!
Why? Explain that to me. Why different?
What makes you fuckin' special?
Why're you smart and noble and I'm always the idiot?
You act like you're the only one with ambition!
What's your ambition, man? Tell me!
I don't know. I don't think like that.
-You don't think!
-I don't think like you!
You think you can beat the game straight up. I don't!
I'll always look for the edge!
What's the edge now? We owe 15 grand in a day and we're broke!
It's easy. We get the fuck outta Dodge.
We steer clear of the city for a while.
We'll be up again in no time. We'll have a ball.
I'm not livin' like that! Talk to Grama, get him to stake me.
It's not gonna work, OK?
We're not dealin' with Grama.
You said Grama's on his own.
You told me Grama's on his own.
KGB bankrolled him.
So you just fucked us in the ass.
Yeah, all the way, OK?
No foolin' around. It's highway time.
Now, are you with me or not?
No, I'm not this time.
Gimme the keys.
You're gonna go back there?
I'll see ya when I see ya.
At least you're rounding again. You'll thank me for that someday.
'Fold or hang tough. Call or raise the bet.
'They're decisions you make at the table.
'Sometimes it's so clear, there's one way to play.
'But holding a small pair against two over cards,
'it's six to five or even money either way.
'Then it's all about feel. What's in your guts.'
Well, look at you.
Look at me.
Where's your friend?
Oh, he's gone.
So, you brought my money?
I'm a little short.
The whole way.
Must be some kind of story.
as you can see, I can't pay you.
I see you're banged up pretty good.
You never should've vouched for that scumbag.
You're leavin' me no outs here.
I can't trust you two aren't playin' me.
I'm not the one workin' with a partner here.
You wanna take it up with KGB, you go right ahead.
You got one day, or this'll feel like a Swedish massage.
-Hey, what's up?
You look like Duane Bobick after a round with Norton.
Fuck happened to you?
When are you gonna listen?
What do you need? Five hundred? A grand? Huh?
(I need, I need 15 thousand.)
I need a blow job from Christy Turlington(!)
Get the fuck outta here! 15,000?
Seriously, what can you do for me?
500 won't even get me started.
If 500 won't help, what's two grand gonna do?
What kind of trouble are you in?
The worst kind, with the worst guy.
Didn't I tell ya...
to never let that guy get a hold of ya?
You told me a lot of things.
Yeah, and you don't listen.
I say play within your means, you blow it all.
I say not to overextend yourself, you go into hock for more.
I was givin' you a livin', Mike.
Showin' you the play book I put together off my own beats.
It wasn't enough for you.
This is 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.
That's the thing. There is no money.
If I give ya two grand, what's that buy ya? A day?
No. I give it to ya, I'm wastin' it.
You did it to yourself.
Put it all on the line for a dream.
I took a risk, I took a risk.
You never have the stones to play!
Stones? You're a little punk.
I don't play for the thrill of victory.
I owe rent, alimony, child support.
I play for money. My kids eat.
I got stones enough not to chase action,
or dreams of winnin' the World Series.
You want me to call some people,
try and buy you time, I will.
Place to stay, or the truck, no problem.
But about the money, I gotta do this.
I gotta say no.
I put it all on the line, it's true.
And you know what? It wasn't a bad beat.
I wasn't unlucky.
I got outplayed that time.
But I know I'm good enough to sit at that table.
It's not a fuckin' dream.
I don't doubt your talent.
I never, I never told anybody this.
About eight, nine months ago,
I'm at the Taj, it's late, and Johnny Chan walks in.
And he goes, he sits 300-600.
The whole place stops. Everybody puts an eye on him.
After a while, there wasn't a crap game goin'.
Cos the high rollers are watchin' him.
Givin' away their money to say,
"Oh, I played with a world champion".
You know what I did? I sat down.
You need 50 grand to play that game.
Well, I had six. But I had to know.
'Played tight for an hour, then I made a score.
'Wired aces or kings?
I had nothin'. But...he raised
and I just decided, I don't care about the money.
I'm gonna outplay the guy. I'm gonna outplay this guy this hand.
Re-raise? You played back at him?
Oh, yeah. He comes back tryin' to bully me like I'm a tourist.
'I hesitate for two seconds. I'll re-raise.'
He moves toward his checks and looks at me.
'He looks at his cards, then looks at me again.'
And he mucked it. I took it down.
'Did you have it?
'I'm sorry, John, I don't remember.'
And I got up and I walked to the cashier.
I sat with the best in the world. And I won.
Put a fuckin' move on Chan, you son of a bitch!
That's why you made that run at KGB's place?
And I'll do it again if I can.
Well, then, I'm rootin' for ya, Mike.
I'll see ya around, Knish.
'Is this temporary? Will you be back next semester?'
Naw. I think we both know I'm no lawyer.
Did my story discourage you?
No, it inspired me. It...
I think I was on my way out, anyway.
But now you're here.
-You in trouble?
Yes, sir, I am.
Um, not with the law.
It's... I owe.
A gambling debt?
Yeah. It's not mine. It's, er...
..I vouched for the wrong guy.
Um...so now it's on me.
So, what will it take for you to be free of this?
I need 15,000 tonight.
-You know, I'm not a wealthy man.
And it kills me to ask ya, but...
..I don't have any other play here.
So...if you can help me at all...
I hate to see you like this. I wanna help you, but 15,000, I...
If it must be tonight...
..ten is the best can do.
Would you do that?
When my mother let me leave the yeshiva,
it nearly broke her.
But she knew, she knew the life I had to lead.
To do that for another is a mitzvah.
And for that... I owe.
So you take this money...
..and you get yourself out of this trouble.
You hear me?
I know you can.
I... I promise I'm gonna, I'll pay it back.
'I've often seen people, squares at the table.
'Short-stacked, long odds against. Their outs gone.
'One last card in the deck that can help them.'
'I used to wonder how they got in such bad shape.
'And how the hell they thought they'd turn it around.'
'Walkin' in here makes me queasy.
'The brick walls, mopes at the tables, the musty smell.
'I feel like Brockner walkin' back into Chey.
'But what choice do I have?'
So, you have my money?
-I owe you that money tomorrow.
So...it's still mine.
For...the next eight hours, it is yours.
But if you don't have it all by then...
you are mine.
..I got 10,000.
I'm lookin' for a game.
You heard me.
So...we'll play. Heads up.
We both start with a couple of racks.
Blinds, er, 25 and 50.
And we don't stop till one of us has it all.
Let's do it.
TV IS ON
I'm gonna raise.
A thousand straight.
And you won't be pushed around.
But... I re-raise...
'Brunson says, "The key to no limit is to put a man
'"to a decision for all his chips".
'Teddy's just done it.
'He's representing aces. Better than my cowboys.
'I can't call and give him a chance.
'I can only fold, if I believe him, or...'
I'll re-raise. I'm all in.
Take it down.
'In a heads-up match, the size of your stack
'is almost as important as your cards.
'I chopped his leg out in the first hand.
'Now I just have to lean on him until he falls over.'
I'm gonna bet a thousand.
Call. I'll call.
Is that 2,500 there? I'm gonna tap you, Teddy.
..on the turn.
You got lucky there.
Yep, it was luck.
So, that's it, then, hm?
Just like a young man
coming in for a quickie.
You must feel proud and good.
Strong enough to beat the world.
I feel fine.
Me, too! I feel OK.
'Course, maybe we check with one other guy, see how he feels.
I thought I smelt him.
I'll take what's ours.
'Course, you could let it ride, Mike.
Take your chances. You could let this happen, Grama?
Sure, partner. He still has till morning to make good.
Well, you know what?
I got my five grand here, and that's fine.
I'm goin' home.
Fine! It's a... it's a fucking joke, anyway.
After all, I am paying you with your money.
What'd you say?
I am still up twenty grand
from this last time I stick it in you.
'They're tryin' to goad me.
'Tryin' 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 a safe play.
'I told Worm, "You can't lose what you don't put down".'
'But you can't win much, either.'
Double the blinds?
Yeah! Table stakes.
Good. Feel free to reload at any time.
You must be kicking yourself
for not walking out when you could.
But...don't you worry, Son.
It will all be over soon.
No checks here. I tap you.
I'm layin' this down, Teddy.
Top two pair.
It's a monster hand. I'm gonna lay that down.
You got two-4. I'm not gonna draw against a made hand.
Lays down a monster.
Should have paid me off on that.
The fuck did you lay that down?
HE CHUCKLES Wow! Not hungry(?)
Mr son of a bitch!
Let's play some cards!
'The rule is this.
'You spot a man's tell, you don't say a word.
'I finally spotted KGB's.
'Usually I'd have let him chew Oreos till he was broke,
'but I don't have that kind of time. I've only got till morning.'
'Not even Teddy KGB is immune to getting a bit rattled.'
Enough is enough, Teddy. Finish the kid off!
Hanging round, hanging around.
Kid's got alligator blood.
Can't get rid of him.
I'm not leavin'. Double the blind.
I'll call the two grand. I'll gamble. Don't splash the pot.
You're on a draw, Mike?
Go away. This one is not good for you.
And in my club, I will splash the pot
whenever the fuck I please.
I'm gonna check, Teddy.
That's 4,400. I'll call ya,
or I won't respect myself in the morning.
Respect is all you'll have left in the morning.
Last card coming.
It hurts, doesn't it?
You can't believe what fell.
All your dreams...dashed.
Hopes down the fucking drain.
is sitting right beside you.
That ace could not have helped you.
You're right, Teddy, the ace didn't help me.
I flopped the nut straight.
-HE SHOUTS IN RUSSIAN
You motherfucker! That is it!
That's it? What the fuck...? Take him down!
No! No! No more!
No, not tonight!
This son of bitch, all night he... check, check, check!
He trapped me!
Are you satisfied now, Teddy? I can go on bustin' you up all night.
HE SHOUTS IN RUSSIAN
He beat me...straight up.
Pay that man his money.
'Turned my ten grand into just over 60.'
'Paid 15 to Grama, six went back to The Chesterfield.
'As for Worm, well, I figure we're even.
'After the ten going back to the professor,
'I'm back where I started.
'With three stacks of high society.'
You look like hell.
Ah, well... you should've seen me yesterday.
Are you OK?
Yeah, I'm OK. You?
Um... I'm how I am.
So, you're outta here, huh?
Yeah. Um... I figure there's nothin' left for me here.
Listen, um, can you give this to Petrovsky?
I, I didn't wanna wake him up. It's a little early.
Can I count on you to do that?
You could always count on me.
Thanks. Take care, Jo.
I mean, if you need a lawyer(!)
And I will(!)
So, where ya headed?
I'm goin' to Vegas.
Good luck, man.
'People insist on calling it luck.'
'First prize at the World Series is a million bucks.
'Does it have my name on it?
'I don't know. But I'm gonna find out.'
MUSIC: "Baby I'm A Big Star Now" by Counting Crows
# De-de dum-dum
# De-de dum-dum
# De-de dum-dum
# De-de dum-dum
# Ooo, la-la-la-la-la-la yeah
# Gonna get out on the road tonight
# Cos I got a hollow in my head
# Checking it up
# Baby, one more time for you
# Checking it up until the pot hits the sky
# It's like I think I'm sick of cocaine
# But I got a feeling like it's running in my veins
# Checking it up
# Baby, one more time for you
# Checking it up until the pot hits the sky
# Even the best years leave a lot to be desired
# And then they pass you by... #
Gambling drama. Student Mike McDermott thought he had learned his lesson about losing at poker. But when his friend 'Worm' reappears, desperately in debt, the pair are sucked into a cycle of high stakes matches where they could lose more than just money.