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Poker News | World Poker News

Nicolas Cage to Don Amarillo Slim’s Poker Face

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Oscar winner Nicolas Cage has been signed to play legendary poker player Amarillo Slim Preston, in a movie about the gambler's life.

The current writers' strike may delay the start of filming, but when the writers get back to work, they should have no shortage of material for the script. Slim has had a very colorful life, and plenty of stories to tell for his 78 years. Although Hollywood is famous for "Hollywoodizing" true stories, Slims' life doesn't appear to need much embellishment; the truth is stranger than fiction already.

Amarillo Slim started on the road to poker fame by being a rounder, touring the country looking for poker games with the likes of Doyle Brunson and Sailor Roberts. Just the stories from that time of his life would probably be more than enough for a two hour movie, not to mention his rise to fame in 1972.

That was the year he won the main event at the WSOP. Since then he has been one of the most recognizable names in poker. Even non-gamblers know his name, thanks in part to a small roll in the movie California Split and a string of appearances on Talk Shows.

He appeared on the popular game show "I've Got a Secret" where his big secret was that he once lost $190,000 playing poker in one night. That may not sound like a lot of money considering the big games of today, but in the 70's when poker was still played in back rooms, it was pretty shocking to the average person.

Since taking home the bracelet in 1972, Slim has kept very active in the poker community. Not only has he added three more WSOP bracelets to his collection, but he also hosts poker tournaments in South Africa and Australia every year. He also keeps busy by helping open casinos around the globe.

On one such jaunt to Colombia to help open the Casino de Caribe, he was kidnapped. His kidnappers, who worked for Pablo Escobar, thought he was someone else and eventually released him unharmed.

In 1992, four years after his best friend Benny Binion died, Slim was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame at Binion's Horseshoe. They were such good friends that when Binion died, he left Slim his favorite horse.

In true Hollywood fashion, his golden years have been every bit as interesting as his rounder days. Considering his life long miraculous escapes from the jaws of death, he has been on one heck of a lucky streak.

In 2003 Slim published his autobiography, Amarillo Slim in a World Full of Fat People. The book is full of stories about playing poker with famous people like Presidents Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson. That year also saw him in some hot water with the law, to which he pled out to a lesser charge and received a fine.

On the morning of October 4th, 2006, Slim was stopped on the street, in his pick-up, when he was approached by a man with a gun who demanded Slim hand over his money. Slim put the truck in reverse and escaped unharmed while the robber fired two bullets into his truck.

Three months later, in January 2007, Slim was held at gunpoint and robbed in his apartment. Two men were waiting for him when he got home and used Slim's own shotguns to subdue him. They tied him up with his own Bolo Ties and left him on the couch naked. He managed to escape after they left, again unharmed.

Recalling the robbery, Slim said, "I told him (the robber), I said now Pull the trigger on that damn thing or put it down. I don't feel real comfortable with that shotgun pointed at me."

Although he has been advised that it may be time to move, Slim refuses, saying Amarillo is his home and he is staying put. If he stays in Amarillo, at the rate he is going, it will take a mini-series to chronicle his colorful life.

Producer Braxton Pope, after meeting with Slim, said, "Slim has led a picaresque life and is a true American original, and the breadth of his experiences requires a fair amount of research. Slim will have a lot of input but he also understands that filmmakers are in the business of crafting stories and that this isn't a documentary."

Nicolas Cage, who will play Slim in the movie, also met with the legendary gambler.

After meeting Cage at the actor's home in L.A., Slim seemed convinced Cage was right for the role. "We hit it off good, we've become buddies," Preston said.

No filming date has been announced for the movie "Amarillo Slim," but the producers have said some of it will be shot in Texas. The movie will be developed and directed by Milos Foreman. Braxton Pope is teaming up with Cage's Production Company, Saturn Films, to produce the film.

While waiting for the strike to end, maybe Cage could start rehearsing some of Slim's most famous quotes, which include, "Look around the table, if you don't see a sucker, get up, because you're the sucker."

"Poker is a game of people... It's not the hand I hold, it's the people that I play with."

"They anticipate losing when they sit down and I try my darndest not to disappoint one of them."

"Nobody is always a winner, and anybody who says he is, is either a liar or doesn't play poker."

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