Wrestling With The Prose

Well, just finished the first of my many Irish Open features and am part way through another… It’s a good thing I like writing 😉

Unlike wrestling with the pros, you are unlikely to seriously hurt yourself when wrestling with prose – although I have noticed a disturbing tendency for my eyes to bleed if I squint too hard at the screen… Looks like a career as a Bond villain is assured; now all I have to do is call massive all-ins with Ace Six off-suit on the Button…

Just been reading the latest copy of WPT mag – I did quite like their feature on classic poker film hands but noticed a couple of omissions which I felt needed a mention (and perhaps a slating…)

The Sting (1973)

Floyd: “Doyle, I KNOW I gave him four THREES. He had to make a switch. We can’t let him get away with that.”
Doyle: “What was I supposed to do – call him for cheating better than me, in front of the others?”

 Eat your heart out 'The Real Hustle' Paul Newman did it first...

Eat your heart out 'The Real Hustle' Paul Newman did it first...

Any movie with Paul Newman in is always pretty classy, after all how can a man who uttered the immortal line: “Money won is twice as sweet as money earned…” do wrong?

(Bonus points for any who can name the film the above line comes from. Answers on a postcard ;))

This has to be one of my favourite poker scenes ever in a movie, where Chicago conman Gondorff (Paul Newman) is setting up an elaborate con against mob banker Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw – who also plays Quint in Jaws).

After Gondorff sends his girlfriend to steal Lonnegan’s wallet on the New York to Chicago train, he then proceeds to buy into Lonnegan’s private poker game with the guy’s own money. Now that is what I call a freeroll…

Being as Mr Newman’s character is a bit of a card sharp he proceeds to rinse the game for some serious cash, also finding time to hand out some classy rub-downs; a true professional 😉

Obviously irritated by this flash, smug player, Lonnegan switches decks (the old cold deck scam) to “bust that bastard bookie in one play”.

This is where it gets really classy, heralding back to the ‘old days’ of poker where cheating was as much a part of the game as card sense. It’s always tough to cheat a cheater though as Lonnegan finds much to his ire; Gondorff uses some slight of hand magic to win the hand and sting Lonnegan for $15,000 – which Lonnegan obviously can’t afford to pay as he’s had his wallet pinched…

Not being able to accuse Newman’s character of being an out and out cheat without revealing himself to be an unscrupulous cheating son of a bitch as well, Lonnegan is forced to bite the bullet, pay the debt, and is now easily manipulated into getting stung in an elaborate scam…

This is classy old school draw poker and cheating at it’s finest, and while I’m not in anyway advocating this as ok – it is a pretty damn good movie.

Lucky You (2007)

L. C. Cheever: You and I both know what the book says you should do, Kid.
Huck Cheever: Is that what you do now? Just play by the book? You might as well play online.

Don't make me angry and crack my Aces - you wouldn't like me when I'm angry...

Don't make me angry and crack my Aces - you wouldn't like me when I'm angry...

Unlucky you if you wasted the two hours needed to watch this rather lacklustre romantic poker comedy.
That’s a whole two hours you’ll never see again folks… I don’t know what your ROI and hourly rate at the cash tables is but I seriously considered invoicing the production company for loss of earnings and a severe cheese allergy.

The words romance, poker and comedy don’t really fit together that well… ask any poker player, the only regulars I see at my poker tables are overweight miserable old grinders – granted I don’t live in Vegas, but still, not the best combination for a film.

While some of the poker in this film is pretty realistic (most to be fair, though there is more than the odd ‘cheesy moment’) the final scene…

***Spoiler Alert*** (although you will thank me for this in the long run, now you don’t have to watch the film.)

God, where to start… Not that I didn’t appreciate the cameo by John Hennigan (aka ‘Johnny World’ because he will apparently bet on anything in the world…) that was kinda cool.

No the worst bit, the absolute out and out ridiculous scream ‘fuck off’ out loud in disbelief moment comes right near the end when our hero Huck Cheever (Eric Bana) folds (yes folds…) Pocket Aces on the least scary looking board… ever… to his father L.C Cheever who has… Pocket Kings.

Load. Of. Shite.

Now obviously that’s not the most objective statement in the world but surely even Doyle Brunson (who was the poker consultant) would give his son Todd a clip around the ear if he did that at the final table of the World Series of Poker.

Let me reiterate: the FINAL TABLE of the WSOP…
And the film says soft playing is okay…

Not cool, and not realistic…

Ok, rant over.

Razor Sharp Prose

On a work related and shameless self-publicity note – we have ignition!

Yes that’s right folks, my freelance website is now officially online, slightly delayed due to some technical issues, but online nevertheless.

Check it out: www.RazorSharpProse.co.uk
(I also have www.RazorSharpProse.com but that is giving me some grief at the moment, though it will all be working very soon.)

My shiny new freelance website

My shiny new freelance website

Feel free to check it out – all constructive criticism welcome, you can also check out some of my past work for the various poker mags I’ve written for…

Also, the latest copy of WPT is out (issue 42 with the Devilfish on the front cover) and this has my Pro on Pro feature with James Dempsey (aka ‘Flushy’) and Dave ‘El Blondie’ Colclough.

I think they’ll be putting it up on their website soon so will post up a link if and when they do. Link through to the feature here.

Well, I’ve still got me a great deal of writing to do folks, though a will be posting up a UK poker news update (nothing to do with the Poker News website at all) on my blog here at the end of the week – most probably Friday.

Tune in for updates and the happenings of the UK poker scene.

And don’t fold Pocket Aces to your dad at the final table of the WSOP, ever…

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2 Responses to “Wrestling With The Prose”

  1. Yorkshire Pud Says:

    Is the quote from The Colour of Money?

    Gambling films are usually shockingly bad, especially the modern ones. I recently watched 21, which is obviously about BlackJack and it was, for want of a better word, shite!

    • razorsharppro Says:

      Bingo! We have a winner. Good call Mr. Pitt it is indeed the ‘Colour of Money’ yet another quality Paul Newman flick. I honestly can’t recall the last good gambling/poker film I watched since ‘Rounders’ though to be fair I haven’t had a chance to watch ‘The Grand’ yet.

      When I finally get some time and can drag myself away from my computer and the poker tables (and the pub…) I might actually get my arse in gear and watch it.
      It’s on my To Do list – right behind finish all my work, celebrate my 30th (hmm.. not so good 😦 ) frantically pack for my trip to Vegas and a whole host of dull, dull administration tasks…

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