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Poker News | World Poker News

Deal to Hit Movie Theaters April 25

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Hollywood is ready to try again. For years, filmmakers and studios have tried to replicate the success of Rounders with success. In some cases, such as with Lucky You, the movies have been utter failures, despite an all-star cast and input from the best poker players in the world. The upcoming release of Deal hopes to change that trend.

Deal was filmed more than two years ago in New Orleans, and MGM has held off on its release. The reasons the studio delayed the release are unknown, but possibly, the executives first wanted to see how audiences responded to Lucky You in 2007, then they hesitated to release another poker movie on the heels of its failure. Nevertheless, as the 2008 World Series of Poker approaches and excitement builds for it in the poker community, Deal will be released to make its theater debut on April 25, 2008.

The storyline of the movie centers on a young poker player, Alex Stillman, who is played by Bret Harrison. He is a senior at Yale University and a recreational poker player with a mind for the mathematics and details of the game. He dreams of becoming a professional player but needs help in a few areas of his game. But a chance meeting with retired poker legend Tommy Vinson (Burt Reynolds) gives him hope.

Tommy was a respected, successful pro poker player twenty years prior but gave up the game and the lifestyle to save his family. Upon meeting Alex, he realizes that he can live his dream of reentering the poker arena by making Alex his protégé. The duo spends time perfecting Alex’s game, and Tommy becomes his backer. Success runs rampant until all is interrupted by a relationship between Alex and Michelle (Shannon Elizabeth), who turns out to be a Las Vegas call girl.

Eventually, Alex and Tommy part ways and both enter a World Poker Tour tournament, competing against each other and looking for fulfillment in their professional poker careers and personal lives.

Deal was filmed in New Orleans and made to be as authentic as possible. The filmmakers arranged for the World Poker Tour to ship its set to the movie set, along with WPT commentators Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten and at-the-time hostess Courtney Friel. Numerous actual poker players were also called in to participate in the filming and ensure the film’s authenticity. Players making guest appearances in the film include Phil Laak, Antonio Esfandiari, Chris Moneymaker, Joe Hachem, Isabelle Mercier, Greg Raymer, and Scott Lazar.

Van Patten commented, “Deal captures the poker world like it is.”

Esfandiari noted, “Deal is the authentic poker movie for anyone that loves the game.”

Hachem said, “Deal is the best poker movie since Rounders! It’s a must see for any poker fan.”

And Laak added, “Movies… sometimes a raw deal, sometimes not. This one, however, is the real deal.”

The film also stars Charles Durning, Maria Mason, Gary Grubbs, and Jennifer Tilly. It was directed by Gil Cates Jr., and the comedy/drama will be in theaters on April 25th. The movie trailer and other information can be found at

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