Matusow: Nic Cage in Talks to Play Lead in Check-Raising the Devil

Mike Matusow
Matusow hopes the story of his life will expose poker to a bigger, mainstream audience.

With Mike Matusow's biography Check-Raising the Devil in the process of being made into a movie, The Mouth says they've already talked to one person about playing the lead: Nicolas Cage.

Check-Raising the Devil is a brutally honest account of Matusow's life as one of the world's best professional poker players and it includes liberal amounts of high-stakes poker, partying, drugs, depression, prison and rehabilitation.

It's appropriate since Matusow is a brutally honest person, even in casual conversation.

Production company 1984 Professional Defense Contractors are invovled with the project, the group responsible for The Grey with Liam Neeson and Killing Them Softly with Brad Pitt.

With four WSOP bracelets, over $9 million in live tournament earnings and a career that stretches back to the mid-90s, Matusow is a legend in the poker world.

PokerListings reporter Allen Rash caught up with The Mouth at the 2014 World Series of Poker to talk candidly about Matusow's struggle with depression, his ambition to keep winning poker tournaments and the future of his life story on film.

PokerListings: What was your initial reaction when you heard Check-Raising the Devil was being made into a movie?

Mike Matusow
Matusow has made 13 WSOP final tables.
 

Mike Matusow: (Hands in the air) Please God, let it happen!

PL: How do you think it will feel to see your life on the big screen?

Originally we were talking about doing a weekly television show, like 24, basically about my life.

Gamblers, poker players, the day in and day out and f**k, there’s always an episode. All the prop bets and all the crazy things we do. That’s still the major goal because that’s where the real money’s at.

But now we’ve got so many people really interested in making the movie that it’s about 50/50 doing the movie.

PL: If you had your choice, who would play you in the movie?

They’ve talked to one person already and he’s real interested plus he lives in Vegas. They’re talking about Nic Cage so we’ll see what happens.

I don’t know, he’s a little older. I mean he’s my age now but they can make people look younger for the early parts of the movie. That’s an idea.

Who knows, if I have a big World Series it’ll give me more chances to really go big. It’s a long way to go in this tournament but I just know in my heart if I play like I did today, I could win.

PL: Who would you want to play Hellmuth?

Mike Matusow
Matusow still struggles with anxiety and depression.
 

(Laughs) Phil!

PL: You really put yourself out there in the autobiography, what do you think the reaction will be with a wider audience?

I think it’s just going to be great for poker, great for people who have the mental issues I go through.

Like I’m not going lie, yesterday I got out in front $10,000 in the 2-7 tournament and lost a small pot and all of a sudden thinking, “Oh my God, I’m the worst. I’m dying. What am I gonna do?”

I wanted to kill myself and got super suicidal and I couldn’t f*****g think. I was almost crying. And this happens to me quite often. I couldn’t play, I was negative, and it was just bad.

And then today I realize I have to work out, that has to be the thing that’s hurting me because of my medication. I woke up today and told my girl when I left the house, “Man I feel so good”.

I said no negatives, I’m so positive, and I said I’m really going to have great day.

I don’t want to toot my own horn, but when I’m not f**ked up mentally I just play so good and hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to play as good as I did today. Who the f**k knows. I could wake up, I could work out, I could come down here and be mentally f**ked up again.

Mike Matusow
"My very close friends know what I go through"
 

Usually when I get myself together, I stay together for a week or four or five days. It’s not usually a really bad day and then really good and then really bad. It goes bad day then good day, good day, good day, good day. So that’s what I’m hoping happens tomorrow.

PL: What was the reaction among the regular players when the autobiography was released, those who didn’t know the full story behind your problems?

Most of the people already knew how I got set up but they really didn’t know what I go through mentally.

My very close friends know what I go through mentally on a daily basis, whether I’m going to have a good day or bad day. They know right away.

I talked to Scott Seiver today when I was signing up and I said, “I don’t know if you noticed but I was mentally out of it.” And he said “I saw, you look like you wanted to die.”

He said he could tell on my face. So people who know me, know when I’m zoned in. They know when I’m mentally together they know I’m super focused and I just see everything.

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