poker movies

Deal Was Mucked at the Box Office, Will My Blueberry Nights Be Better?

Natalie Portman plays poker player in My Blueberry NightsNatalie Portman plays poker player in My Blueberry Nights

Deal, the new poker movie starring Dancing with the Stars' Shannon Elizabeth, limped in to this weekend's box office, banking $31,000 on 50 screens. It received exactly no good reviews, scoring a 0% on

Not a good year for the poker movie. The Grand, which wasn't actually that poorly reviewed, still flopped. And Lucky You (which doesn't even deserve italics or bolding), which came out around this time last year, is possibly the worst movie ever made.

However, thanks to reader Mike May (his blog here) for tipping us off on a Norah Jones/Natalie Portman/Rachel Weisz pseudo poker flick opening in Las Vegas this weekend called My Blueberry Nights:

"I don’t know if this is anything that would be of interest to Wicked Chops, but...there’s a movie called My Blueberry Nights that is opening in Vegas this weekend.  It’s not really a poker movie. It’s mostly chick stuff that you might not be so into, with the singer Norah Jones driving around the country after a bad breakup.  But there are about 8-10 minutes of hot poker action.  Norah Jones’ character runs into a professional poker player played by Natalie Portman.  Unlike the Natalie Portman movie Closer, unfortunately in this movie Ms. Portman does not get down on all fours and show her Hooha to someone in a strip club.  Nonetheless, she does play poker and she looks pretty hot with short hair and a tiny dress."

Pics of Portman from the flick above. Click to enlarge. May be just us but in the photos alone it seems that Natalie channeled a bit of the late Brandi Hawbaker for her role as a young, sexy and struggling poker player in Las Vegas.

Mike May noted that Stu Ungar bio co-author Peter Alson was a consultant on the movie and he helped write the poker scenes.  And Mike himself played Portman's nemisis at the poker table. 

Check out a video review of the Wong Kar Wai directed movie by the NY Times here. It shows Natalie playing some poker and Mike at the table with her about a minute or so in.

In semi-related news, the still funny Natalie Portman SNL rap.

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Critics Love Shannon Elizabeth Poker Movie Deal, Which Hits Theaters Tonight

Shannon Elizabeth stars in poker movie Deal with Burt ReynoldsA month after Zak Penn's The Grand stormed the box office by banking just enough to buy-in to the WPT Championship, the poker movie Deal, which stars waxy-looking golden ager Burt Reynolds and features Dancing with the Stars' Shannon Elizabeth (at right) playing a Las Vegas hooker, hits movie screens tonight in select cities, and already critics are rushing to give it praise.

Just sample some of these rave reviews:

"Deal has to take the title of the worst film ever about the game and that includes the how-to videos with Joan Rivers impersonators you see in your Vegas hotel room." - Erik Childress,

"One of the most cliche-ridden and generally misguided films of not just the year, but the decade so far." - Brian Tallerico,

"Director/co-writer Gil Cates Jr. gives us a by-the-numbers execution of a by-the-numbers story, which would barely be movie-of-the-week material but for Reynolds's 'star power.'" - LA City Beat

"A poker movie that has the dubious honor of being even worse than Lucky You." - Gary Thompson (but not the Gary Thompson?), Philadelphia Daily News

In related news our highly acclaimed screenplay titled Sitting on the Can While Writing This Post just got greenlit. It's set to be filmed this morning, after our third cup of coffee kicks in. Drop us an email if you want to be an extra.

Below is a video of's Denise Pernula prettying up the red carpet at the Deal's premiere last night at the Palms in Las Vegas. Maybe it's us but it's like director Gil Cates Jr. and his producers know they made a piece of crap film. Like they were baked out of their minds when they shot it and now are trying to stop themselves from laughing as they try to talk serious about it. Also in the video, card-tossing couple Jennifer Tilly and Phil Laak talk about their non-plans ahead of the 2008 WSOP, and in news sure to delight ex-WCP reader Carl, Dancing With the Stars' lovebirds Shannon Elizabeth and Ricky Schroder Derek Hough say they are getting married in Las Vegas. Burt Reynolds unfortunately couldn't get out of the Madame Tussaud museum he lives in to walk the red carpet.

Video on here.

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Poker News Looking Fit with Anna Kournikova Triathlon Photos

Anna Kournikova K-Swiss running a triathlonThanks to pervie tennis photogaphers, Anna Kournikova brought daily workplace productivity to a virtual halt a decade ago with an endless stream of sexually suggestive "sports" photos of the not-quite-legal racket swinger. Fast forward to today and not much has changed except for Anna's age and the speed of the Internet, which makes looking at photos of her doing a triathlon (link below) or a shoot for K-Swiss (to the right) feel a lot less creepy and about a 100 times faster--leaving more time for this, this, this, this but not this.

All right, some poker news links:

:: Woman poker players find something to bitch about and for good reason (Click here)

:: Canuck Cheung chipleader at WSOP Circuit in E-town (Click here)

:: Ron Paul partners with Barney Frank on bill to slay online gambling prohibition (Click here)

:: Houston poker room raid leads to organized crime charges, and guns and poker are all the rage in Dallas (Click here and here)

:: Purple Lounge signs sexy poker player/model and Poker Night Live presenter Michelle Orpe (Click here)

:: Washington State PPA-er Lee Rousso keeps fighting the good fight (Click here)

:: Lacey Jones' "Hottest Girl in Poker" video rising the ranks over at (Click here)

:: Poker movie The Grand could hardly pay the buy-in for the WPT Championship with its box office receipts (Click here)

Anna Kournakova triathlon photos below and after the jump . . .

UPDATE: Photos of Anna Kournikova running during a triathlon removed, see some of them here.

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Deal Set for April 25 Release, DwtS' Shannon Elizabeth Plays Hooker

Deal, the "new" poker movie starring Burt Reynolds, Bret Harrison, and Dancing with the Stars' Shannon Elizabeth, is finally set for "limited" release on April 25th.

We're not ones to make bold predictions, but we predict that Deal will be closer to Lucky You than to Rounders in the poker movie pantheon (apologies to The Sports Guy, who apparently owns the rights to the word "pantheon" now).

Deal was completed two years ago (never a good sign) and was exec produced by 2005 WSOP final table-ist and magician Scott Lazar (never a good sign).

The plot sets new standards for creativity. A grizzled old vet who has already lost it all (and quit the game) takes a young Yale poker phenom under his wing to help him get to the next level. Young Yale student falls in love with a beautiful girl (played by Dancing with the Stars' Shannon Elizabeth). Young girl turns out to be a call girl. Young Yale student makes a major tournament final table (WPT, with Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten calling the shots) where he goes up against grizzled old vet, who decided to play this one last time.

If you'd like a visual representation of the above paragraph, there's a trailer for you below. Or if you'd like to see something more interesting, watch this.

View Deal trailer.

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The Grand Rates 'Rotten,' Opens Tomorrow in LA and NYC

Zak Penn's improvisational poker movie The Grand, which we predicted will not be so grand at the box office, finally hits theaters tomorrow in Los Angeles and New York City and will open elsewhere on April 4.

Shannon Elizabeth of Dancing with the Stars at The Grand PremiereAccording to limited reviews recorded by Rotten Tomatoes, the film is currently scoring 44% on the Tomatometer, meaning it's received more "rotten" reviews from critics than "fresh" ones. Still, it's faring much better than Lucky You, which charted at 29%.

If you've missed our past posts about the film, The Grand is a Waiting for Guffman-like mockumentary of the poker world that stars Woody Harrelson as One Eyed Jack Faro, a degenerate pokerer who attempts to save his dead dad's hotel-casino from a real estate developer by taking down the world's most famous high stakes tournament, the Grand Championship of Poker.

Joining Harrelson in the cast are Werner Herzog, Gabe Kaplan, Michael "David St. Hubbins" McKean, Hank Azaria, Dennis Farina, Chris Parnell, Cheryl Hines, David Cross, Jason Alexandar, Ray Romano, Richard Kind, and Shannon Elizabeth, who if we haven't mentioned it yet, is on Dancing With the Stars.

Also in the film are a few poker pros including Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, Phil Laak and Phil Gordon.

Not in the film, Keeley Hazell.

Check out The Grand's trailer and links to reviews of the film after the jump . . .

Continue reading "The Grand Rates 'Rotten,' Opens Tomorrow in LA and NYC" »

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The Grand May Not Be So at the Box Office

Shannon Elizabeth of Dancing with the Stars is one of the poker playing celebs in the movie The GrandZak Penn's improvisational poker mockumentary The Grand, which doesn't star Keeley Hazell but does feature Dancing With the Stars' Shannon Elizabeth (at right), is set to hit theaters on March 21, and all indications suggest the movie is gonna flop big at the box office, and by "all indications" we mean we have a hunch.

We'll wait to see how many screens it will hit on opening weekend first before making a prediction on box office receipts but we're thinking somewhere in the Kickin' It Old Skool and Witless Protection range (if more than a 1,000 theaters).

Regardless we're sure it will still fare better than Paris Hilton's The Hottie & the Nottie, which isn't saying much. We could make a movie called Sitting on the Can While Writing This Post, make it last 90 minutes and still . . . oh yeh, we already used that joke with Lucky You.

Continue reading "The Grand May Not Be So at the Box Office" »

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Finally a Poker Movie that May Not Suck

The Grand Poker Movie Starring Woody HarrelsonThe trailer for The Grand, Zak Penn's Waiting for Guffman-like mockumentary on the poker world that doesn't star Keeley Hazell, has just been released. And it looks like we finally may have the first poker movie since Rounders that doesn't suck.

Well, besides The 40 Year-Old Virgin.

To watch the trailer, check out the film's website at or Yahoo movies here.

As a refresher, the film, which we first wrote almost two years ago, stars Woody Harrelson as One Eyed Jack, a degenerate poker player who attempts to save his dead dad's hotel-casino from a real estate developer by taking down the world's most famous high stakes tournament, the Grand Championship of Poker.

Joining Harrelson in the cast are enigmatic German director Werner Herzog, Gabe Kaplan, Shannon Elizabeth, Michael "David St. Hubbins" McKean, Dennis Farina, Chris Parnell and a bunch of past Celebrity Poker Showdown-ers including Cheryl Hines, David Cross, Ray Romano, and Richard Kind.

A number of poker pros make cameos including Doyle Brunson and Phil Hellmuth's gargantuan size ego.

The Grand first premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last April and was one of the festival's hottest tickets. It hits theaters nationwide on March 21, 2008.

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Good Thing Olga Kurylenko Is In It

Olga Kurylenko is the new Bond Girl in Quantum of SolaceWhen we saw a news headline yesterday about something called "Quantum of Solace," we thought, Stephen Hawking wrote a self-help book about coping with grief?

Isaac Asimov came back from the dead?

Orel Hershiser?

But nope, as you may or may not already know, Quantum of Solace is the awfully bad name for the new 007 flick starring new Bond girl and longtime WCP fave Olga Kurylenko (at right) as the girl Daniel Craig bangs and then dies at the end during some action sequence, we're guessing.

Apparently "Quantum of Solace" was the name of a short story in Ian Fleming's 1960 anthology "For Your Eyes Only," and according to Craig, the title of the film was "meant to confuse a little."

Or a lot.

No word on whether the new film will feature any poker scenes like Casino Royale did, badly. But it is being presented as a sequel to Royale, the most successful Bond film ever.

Anyway, we're really not so much into Bond films as as we are into the girls who are in Bond films, which is the only reason we ever post about them and will continue to do so. Get your fix of new Bond girls Olga Kurylenko and Gemma Arteton as well as the last Bond girl, Eva Green, below.

Olga Kurylenko photos

Olga Kurylenko video

Eva Green photos

Eva Green video clip from the movie Dreamers

Olga Kurylenko and Gemma Arteton at the announcement yesterday

Continue reading "Good Thing Olga Kurylenko Is In It" »

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Olga Kurylenko is the New Bond Girl

Olga Kurylenko Bond GirlLike Kentucky Derby winners and WPT champions, the entities that comprise Wicked Chops Poker are scary good at picking our Friday Night Parting Shot Girls, and the most recent case in point is Olga Kurylenko, who was all but unknown when we first featured photos of her almost two years ago and has just been tapped as the new Bond girl.

According to studio execs, the Ukrainian model/actress will play the "dangerously alluring Camille" (Camille Toe perhaps?) in the 22nd James Bond film and the second starring new Bond man Daniel Craig.

Kurylenko's character will reportedly help Bond come to terms with the emotional consequences of Vesper Lynd's betrayal. We assume by having lots of sex.

While the new Bond film will pick up where the last one ended, no word on whether 007 will once again save the world by picking up a poker tell or hitting a straight flush. We hope not. Just lots of Olga Kurylenko for us please.

While Kurylenko has starred in indie foreign flicks over the years, this will be her biggest role yet and comes on the heels of her starring role in last year's Hitman, in which she excited the joysticks of video gamers everywhere with her portrayal of an insanely hot Russian hooker.

Photos of Olga Kurylenko

Hot video of Olga Kurylenko doing some modeling stuff

Continue reading "Olga Kurylenko is the New Bond Girl" »

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Poker Movie Deal Probably Will Suck; Studio Postpones Premiere

Shannonelizabeth02Robin Leach's Vegas Luxe Life is reporting that studio honchos at MGM have made a last minute decision to postpone the October 1 red carpet world premiere for Deal, the poker movie that stars 103-year-old Burt Reynolds and poker-er actress Shannon Elizabeth (at right).

Leach says the premiere for the Gil Cates Jr. directed film was postponed due to "studio requirements," which is fancy talk for "it really sucks bad right now and has no chance of doing well because shit we don't even have Drew Barrymore and that Hulk guy in it and that movie made less than a Jamie Kennedy film BUT we're still going to dump more money into it to try to make it suck a little less."

Insiders think Deal may still hit theatres sometime this winter.

If you don't know, Deal is about a young guy (actor Bret Harrison) who gets taken under the wing of an old poker player (Burt Reynolds) while falling in love with a girl (Shannon Elizabeth). In a surprise finale that you'll never see coming in a million years, the two poker players end up competing against each . . . wait, wait, wait just a second . . . isn't this Color of Money dressed up as a poker movie? Or Lucky You dressed up as another bad poker movie? If Hollywood's going to go that route at least make it interesting, like maybe steal the storyline from Kramer vs. Kramer but instead of a nasty court proceeding the couple fight over custody of their kid at a final table. Heck, the kid from Kramer vs. Kramer can even star in the film. He's a poker player.

Anyway, here's hoping Zak Penn's poker film The Grand, which also stars Shannon Elizabeth, lives up to the hype it got at Tribeca this year. Doing it right, Penn takes a comical approach to the poker film genre by making a mockumentary about a poker tournament. The Grand is slated for a limited release in theatres sometime in 2008.

As a side note, to promote the premiere of Deal Shannon Elizabeth had to pimp some "Win a Trip to Vegas" contest that was really one of those cheesy timeshare resort promotions. One lucky sucker blogged about it here.

Also as a side note, photos of Shannon Elizabeth prettying up a poker room after the jump.

Continue reading "Poker Movie Deal Probably Will Suck; Studio Postpones Premiere" »

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Lucky You Flops Opening Weekend

Luckyyou540In what should come as no surprise to anyone unfortunate enough to have seen a 10-minute preview of it during last year's WSOP, Lucky You bombed this weekend at the box office, making the headline of this post inevitable.

It's almost a miracle to only make $2.5M in (studio estimated) ticket sales with a multi-million dollar advertising and marketing campaign, as Lucky You did. That's only $996 per screen! We could make a movie called Sitting on the Can While Writing This Post, make it last 90 minutes, or in other words, put out a documentary of how and when we typically write our posts, and make more than $2.5M in (estimated) box office receipts. And our little documentary doesn't even star Drew Barrymore. It's just starring us taking a crap for 90 minutes!

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"Everybody's Dick Is Getting Bigger" and Other Thoughts Richard Kind Has on Poker

RichardkindRichard Kind, the comedic actor and occasional poker player, unleashed "A Few Thoughts on Poker" as a guest blogger today at the, a site that is almost always painful to read and is run by that annoying boob of a woman Arianna Huffington.

In his post, Kind makes a case for making poker halls "more plentiful" and claims that "[t]elevision has ruined the home game."

"Everybody's dick is getting bigger, and the bloodlust to take someone down includes the hope of greatly increasing your fortune," remarks Kind.

It's worth the read even if Kind is really just pimping his new poker-themed film The Grand, which may or may not be the best poker movie to come along since The 40-Year-Old Virgin and which we broke huge news about almost a year ago when we reported that Keeley Hazell was not starring in it.

GrandscreenshotTo refresh your memory if you're too lazy to click the link above, the Zak Penn-produced/directed/penned Waiting for Guffman-like mockumentary on the poker world stars Woody Harrelson as One Eyed Jack Faro, a degenerate pokerer who attempts to save his dead dad's hotel-casino from a real estate developer by taking down the world's most famous high stakes tournament, the Grand Championship of Poker.

Joining Harrelson in the cast are enigmatic German director Werner Herzog, Gabe Kaplan, Shannon Elizabeth, Michael "David St. Hubbins" McKean, Dennis Farina and a bunch of past Celebrity Poker Showdown-ers including Cheryl Hines, David Cross, Ray Romano, and Mr. Kind.

The Grand premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival on Friday, April 27, and apparently is one of the festival's hottest tickets, having sold out advance tickets.

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Girls on the Rail at 2008 WSOP


    Our photog at the 2008 WSOP is having a hard time focusing his lens on the pros at the table. We like him for that. Check out girls on the rail here.

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