Ever since Rounders came out nearly 17 years ago, poker-themed shows and movies have failed to achieve similar levels of mainstream success.
Daniel Negreanu thinks that Four Kings might break that trend.
“It’s funny, it’s got twists, I was really impressed by the plot,” said Negreanu.
“The pilot ends really cool and sets up the rest of the season.”
The show comes from the mind of Mars Callahan, who wrote, directed and starred in Poolhall Junkies.
“I would describe it as Swingers meets Entourage meets gambling and poker,” Negreanu said.
“I have a role in it, I play Phil Hellmuth.”
Negreanu actually won’t be playing the 13-time bracelet winner on the show, but he will play himself for at least one episode.
Swingers Meets Entourage
“I was just in L.A. and we shot the second episode,” Negreanu said. “They’re shooting the whole season but I don’t know when it’s going to be released.
“But there’s a really good cast, like real actors. There’s Willie Garson, Kevin Pollak and Robert Iler, that crew.”
Both Iler and Pollak are avid poker players who frequent the WSOP --Pollak even made a deep run in the 2012 Main Event-- but Negreanu says the allure comes from the fact that poker is on the periphery.
“What I’ve liked about the script so far is that it’s not about poker,” Negreanu said. “That’s what they do, they play poker for a living; but it’s not about the game, it’s about the lifestyle.
“I think it has the opportunity to be mainstream, which is most important.”
Negreanu says that mainstream success is important for two main reasons.
A Poker Show for Mainstream Viewers
First, it actually allows the show to keep going.
“If it’s just a show that poker players are gonna watch, then it’s not going to last,” Negreanu said.
“But this is something I think everyday people who don’t play poker may watch and actually become more intrigued by the game.
“Some of the poker players may look at some lines and say ‘Oh, that’s cheesy,’ but it’s not for you, it’s for the mainstream audience.”
Second, Negreanu hopes the show will bring back some of the allure that poker has lost in recent years.
“I think it’s going to help poker look cool again,” Negreanu said. “Kinda like a reboot of Rounders, where Rounders really helped put poker on the map.
“This is hopefully the next step, because poker, for lack of a better term, has gone a bit nerdy for a while.”
While Negreanu can’t disclose where the show’s going to air, he says there’s been a lot of interest in it and it will most likely debut next year.