There has never been a better poker movie than Rounders.
Actually, that sentence is not entirely accurate.
Let’s try again.
There has only ever been one good poker movie and it was called Rounders.
A Torrid Love Affair with Money
Many impostors have tried, and failed, to live up to the level of greatness set by Mike, Worm and Teddy KGB.
After the complete bummer that was Runner Runner I began to lose all hope of ever seeing my favorite game immortalized on the silver screen as it once did when John Dahl turned Brian Koppelman and David Levien’s writing into a visual poker masterpiece.
That was until I read Poker Tilt by Dutch Boyd. It created all manner of fuss inside my mind.
What's all the fuss about? It’s about a guy who falls in love with the game of poker and spends his life cuddling up to card rooms, chips and cards whilst having a torrid love affair with money.
Boyd is the type of person you can identify with. A man who is not afraid to take risks and because of this leaves a trail of breadcrumbs from every little screwup he has made.
People can eat off these for life. We can learn from his mistakes and have a bloody good laugh while we're at it.
Two words: Bipolar Disorder.
It's a Movie About Life
Screenwriting guru Blake Snyder says that “Liking the person we go on a journey with is the single most important element in drawing us into the story.”
Those two words are the reason we like Dutch Boyd. And the reason we're so desperate for him to succeed.
This is our compelling reason to follow him from page to page and why we will eat popcorn by the bucketload to follow him in movie halls around the world.
This is not just a movie about poker; it’s a movie about life.
His bipolar episodes are not only tragic but tragically hilarious. Think Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas on (even more) acid and you get the picture.
Poker Tilt would have Hunter S. Thompson choking on his own laughter. Thompson was the master of Gonzo Journalism but this doesn’t need that extra slice of make-believe pie. Boyd’s story is a cracker.
It’s good enough to stand on it’s own two feet and throws hilarious story lines at you like men in green tights used to throw arrows in Sherwood Forest.
First of Many Manic Episodes
Long before sites like PokerStars ruled the online poker sphere, the brothers Boyd created their own online disaster called PokerSpot.
They saw an opportunity, they took it, and they blew it.
Not only did the brothers Boyd suffer but their players were robbed of their money. This led to Boyd being ostracized from many quarters of the poker community.
Poker Tilt is the first time Boyd bares his soul about his naivety, and getting screwed by payment processors and online casinos who knew a hell of a lot more about the business than he did.
“I can’t be friends with you anymore. It’s -EV," Phil Laak told Boyd in Boyd’s post PokerSpot haze.
It was the demise of PokerSpot that led to the first of many episodes of mania, brought on by his Bipolar Disorder.
He has been in and out of mental institutions ever since and remains on guard to this day.
Everything You Expect From a Great Movie
The book has everything you would expect a great movie to have.
Bedroom fires involving Playboy cover girl and former hacker Jennicide. Bedroom fires of another kind involving poker hottie Amanda Leatherman.
A cameo role from a young lady most of us have seen create some steam in the bedroom: Paris Hilton.
Cocaine-sharing sessions with WSOP bracelet winner Layne Flack. Stories of the prevalence of drugs within the poker community including players winning huge amounts of money whilst stoned off their faces.
What about the rock 'n' roll? Well, Boyd was a founding member of a young group of poker players known as The Crew.
These kids walked into the WSOP, grabbed it by the short and curlies and spun it senseless, walking away with more gold and cash than Jack Sparrow.
It wouldn’t be long before The Crew were being splayed all over Rolling Stone magazine. Except Boyd would miss the photo shoot after being banged up in a mental hospital in an incident he declares “was the first time I was sent to a mental hospital when there was nothing wrong with me.”
It's All About the Characters
“When I walked into Binion’s, I was met with a strong sense of déjà vu. The series is like a TV sitcom with the same characters, the same basic plot points every year. The same dealers, the same game and the same players," writes Boyd.
And this is exactly why Poker Tilt is a must-make/must-see movie. It’s all about the characters. It’s all about Boyd.
At the 45th Annual World Series of Poker this summer Boyd took his live tournament earnings over the $2.4 million mark by winning $288,744 in Event #33, $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em.
Just moments before stepping onto the final-table stage, the founder of the 2+2 Poker Forum, Mason Malmuth, issued Boyd with a garnishment writ to ensure he would receive $60,000 that Boyd owed him for a lost court case.
As Boyd writes, "Billions or bust. Rinse and repeat. There is no end to this cycle."
Author Lee Davy spends his time helping people quit drinking at NeedyHelper.com. He also writes for the poker and gambling industry.