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Mark Wahlberg on Roulette and USA Today confuses Blackjack with Poker

As his resume shows, Mark Wahlberg isn’t just some actor who walks into a studio, grabs a script and starts playing the part. He really immerses himself in the role, and his soon-to-be-released movie The Gambler is no different.

On “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon, Wahlberg revealed that he got into the role by doing some high stakes gambling. Specifically, he won $45,000 in blackjack, then bet the entire amount on one spin of the roulette wheel. “I hit blackjack three times. Needless to say, I won a lot of money,” he told Fallon. “And like my character in the movie, I took every chip off the table and walked right over to the roulette wheel, put it all on black – and lost everything.”

In addition to revealing how he lost everything he won in blackjack at the Wynn Macau, Wahlberg also played a game of Slapjack/blackjack. Check out the clip below as the two slap each other with over-sized hands in between blackjack rounds.

In a related story, USA Today also caught gambling fever when they interviewed Wahlberg and played some blackjack with him. However, as you can see in this clip, they seem to have gotten their games mixed up. At least Wahlberg knows what’s going on, though, mentioning the word blackjack and talking about splitting hands whenever poker’s brought up. That said, check out the USA Today clip and enjoy the game of Slapjack below:

Posted in General, General Posts, Industry News, Poker News, Poker Pop Culture

Jeff “Gamblero” Vanchiro dies after falling from Window

Less than two weeks ago, Jeff “Gamblero” Vanchiro was ejected from a Brooklyn Nets game after several complaints from fans. As the scene unfolded, Madison Square Garden security carried Vanchiro out of the arena while he was missing his prosthetic leg (taken off in protest earlier). Sadly, this is one of the last memories that people will have of the poker player and Nets superfan since he died last night after falling from a second-story window.

As the Daily Mail reports, it’s believed that Vanchiro jumped from the window at his father’s New York City home while disoriented. The 38-year-old was then taken to Queens Hospital and placed on life support until he passed away last night.

According to his fiance, Kristi Evans, Gamblero’s ejection from a Dec. 2nd game between the Nets and New York Knicks may have contributed to the deadly fall. Evans described Vanchiro’s strange post-ejection behavior as follows:

“After that, he was a completely different person. He was paranoid. He was erratic. He was frightened. He was horrified. He was a bit delusional. He was having a lot of trouble sleeping. He couldn’t sleep at all. When he would sleep, or try to sleep, it would only take about 10 or 15 minutes before he would jump up screaming covered in sweat.”

Evans went on to say that Vanchiro eventually just quit sleeping because he was sick of having nightmares over the ordeal. As for the ejection, this has been a contested matter that varies based on different eyewitness accounts. One source claimed that Gamblero took his prosthetic leg off to hit people. However, another eyewitness didn’t even believe he deserved to be ejected for cheering loudly, saying, “I saw what happened. He didn’t deserve to be thrown out. He was just into the game.”

In any case, it’s sad to see that the graffiti artist and former poker pro has passed away under such dismal circumstances.

Posted in General, General Posts, Industry News, Poker News, Pro Players

Did North Korea hack Emails behind Molly Bloom’s Poker Movie?

Perhaps North Korea is secretly a nation full of die-hard Seth Rogen fans (they probably didn’t see Neighbors), because they’re rumored to be behind the recent hack of Sony Pictures – a move that’s created more buzz for Rogen’s upcoming film “The Interview” than advertising could ever do. The Interview, which also stars James Franco, is about he and Rogen’s attempt to assassinate North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un. And so it’s little surprise that the reclusive nation is being blamed for the Sony Pictures hacking, which has revealed embarrassing emails and lots of other sensitive information from the studio.

One of these emails, from Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal, involves the project for Molly Bloom’s book-to-movie adaptation. As can be seen in the email (courtesy of Defamer), Pascal is incensed at famed Hollywood screenwriter Aaron Sorkin for working on Bloom’s “poker movie” before an adaptation of the book “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt.” Here’s a look at what Pascal wrote, which alleges everything from Sorkin being broke to him sleeping with Bloom:

We are getting totally positioned in the Aaron stuff
He is broke
He wants to get paid
We paid him his insane fee on flash boys
When the poker movie came around we didn’t want to not be in the Aaron business so we wanted that too
After social network jobs and flash boys Aaron and mark too the project to the town on the “pretense” that we don’t have money
They went to every single studio
Not just Donna and stacey (not real meetings blah blah)
I don’t care if Aaron is sleeping with the girl or not
I don’t care if it becomes a beat seller
They are treating us like shit
He wants to write them together or poker movie first
We waited for him to write jobs for 3 years (2 anyway)
When mike told them we wanted him to write flash boys first (how long ago did they make the deal) ari sent and email saying he was pulling out of the project

Takeaways from the email – beyond Pascal being pissed at Sorkin – is that the screenwriter is prioritizing adapting “Molly’s Game” into a film before Flash Boys. According to Defamer, he also got some interest from Universal Studios and 20th Century Fox if things ultimately go sour with Sony. That said, it seems that, one way or another, we’ll get to see Maguire, Leo, Damon and Affleck’s crazy Hollywood poker stories portrayed on the big screen.

Posted in General, General Posts, Industry News, Poker News, Poker Pop Culture

Ben “Sauce123″ Sulsky wins Basketball Bet against Oven Mitt-Wearing Opponent

Ben “Sauce123″ Sulsky has taken down some of the biggest names in online poker, earning over $3 million in the process. But can he beat a former college basketball player…who’s wearing an oven mitt as a handicap?

Sulsky and ex-college basketball player/poker player Assani Fisher recently set out to solve this riddle through a one-on-one basketball prop bet. According to this TwoPlusTwo thread, Assani is 32 and played college ball years ago. But recently, he hasn’t been hitting the court nor has he ever played while wearing an oven mitt.

As for Sulsky’s basketball resume, there’s none to speak of since he’s never been in an organized league. However, he’s younger (mid 20s) and has been playing more consistently (once a week) leading up to the game.

As for how the bet turned out, rumor is that Sauce won the bet. But it looks like a pretty good game, as you can see from the clips below:

Posted in General, General Posts, Poker News, Pro Players

Costa Rica thinks Runner Runner is a Porno, Phua & Son Last Defendants Standing

Anybody who saw Runner Runner knows that it’s an atrocity and a complete waste of 90 minutes. This 2013 film, which takes student Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake) to Costa Rica after he’s cheated in online poker, was so bad that actually gave it a massive upgrade by mistaking it for a porno. Here’s a look at what DarioExtra wrote when focusing on one scene with nudity:

“In what seems to be an erotic movie filmed in another country, the authorities from our country are shown very critically, with some of the actors even wearing uniforms with our flag and police insignia.”

Aside from the porno mistake, the news outlet did get some interesting comments from Costa Rican Public Security Minister Celso Gamboa. And as Gamboa explains, Runner Runner is not only a cinematic disaster, but also incredibly offensive and inaccurate when portraying his country:

“We don’t know how to get people to stop filming these types of movies that instead of calling attention to our country’s beautiful flora and fauna, stain the image of our police,” Gamboa told Diario Extra. “This is a way to call on all of the criminals and drug addicts and tell them that Costa Rica is ideal for those types of activities.”

Gamboa would also add that nobody in his country gave the film producers permission to use official police insignias in a scene where Furst sees Costa Rica’s finest partying with prostitutes. So there you go…just more reasons to hate Runner Runner.

Paul Phua and Son are Lone Defendants in Illegal World Cup Betting Ring

A little over a month ago, we discussed how federal agents posed as cable guys in order to get evidence on poker player Paul Phua’s alleged World Cup betting operation in Caesars Palace. Well lawyers for Paul and his son, Darren Phua, have since argued that the evidence obtained was “flimsly” and the search warrants shouldn’t have been granted. And as Bloomberg reports, they’re the only ones of the initial eight defendants who are still fighting this case.

Four men and one woman plead guilty to illegally transmitting wagering information and will forfeit $1 million. Charges will be dropped against a sixth defendant in the case. So that just leaves Phua and his son trying to argue their case over the search and seizure. It’s pretty obvious that they were running an illegal betting operation, based on guilty pleas from five of the defendants, however, they could still get off on a technicality.

Posted in General, General Posts, Industry News, Poker News, Poker Pop Culture

Danish High Stakes Poker Player in Trouble over Trojan Horse Scam

A former Danish high stakes poker player is in hot water after being reported to Denmark’s department of economic fraud for a trojan horse scam. According to various players around the online poker community, the potential perpetrator has been using the trojan horse virus for nine years, making “several million euros” in the process.

This initial report comes from, which explains that the anonymous player installed trojan horses on other players’ computers in an effort to see their hole cards. What’s more is that the player is said to have an accomplice inside the Danish police department, who specializes in putting trojan horses on suspected criminals’ computers.

One high stakes player became suspicious after noticing that their computer had been restarted when they were gone. They then checked their surveillance cameras and found that they’d been turned off 15 minutes earlier, likely when somebody broke into their house to install the virus.

According to Danish police commissioner Torben Koldborg Frederiksen, the investigation is ongoing so they can’t release any names yet. However, claims to know the name of the “32-year-old” perpetrator, writing that they’ve won an EPT tournament and also played high stakes online poker.

According to speculation on TwoPlusTwo, Danish player Peter Jepsen has long been suspected of running an online scam. The Copenhagen native also fits the description given by iGaming/police of being 32 and having won an EPT event (2007 EPT Warsaw). The TwoPlusTwo thread claims that Viktor ‘Isildur1′ Blom and Dan ‘Jungleman12′ Cates were victims in this case.

But again, this is all speculation and rumors at this point. With the police currently investigating the crime, though, it will only be a matter of time before we have an update on this story.

Posted in General, General Posts, High Stakes Action, High Stakes Poker, Industry News, Poker News, Pro Players

Dan Bilzerian tossed from Miami Nightclub for Kicking Woman in Face

It’s been a while since we’ve reported any Dan Bilzerian news because, quite frankly, he’s just been doing the same thing over and over – i.e. partying, instragramming pics of hot girls and flaunting his wealth. Well nothing’s really changed these days, but the high stakes poker player did sink to a new low recently.

While at a Miami nightclub, he was taped kicking a woman in the face. As you can barely make out in the clip below, he’s dancing on an elevated floor and boots a chick in the face when she gets too close. Who knows if she’d been harassing him or trying to grab him earlier. But the bottom line is that it looks bad when some muscle-bound guy kicks a female.

Club Liv security thought the same thing, which is why they tossed the millionaire playboy out after the incident. The woman, Vanessa Castano, was bloodied by the altercation and left the nightclub shortly thereafter. Does anybody smell another lawsuit?

Speaking of which, Bilzerian is starting to develop a history of this kind of stuff. As we discussed before, the “King of Instagram” got in trouble for throwing a porn star off a roof and into a pool, which resulted in her breaking her foot. The stunt was part of a Hustler Magazine shoot, but nevertheless, the porn star in question, Janice Griffith, wanted $85,000 for her injury. Ever since Bilzerian’s attorney sent her a funny/threatening letter, little has been heard on the matter.

Moving on, enjoy the clip below….or be disgusted by it, your pick.

UPDATE: Bilzerian has been arrested at LAX after Vanessa Castano filed a police report. The arrest was made on an out-of-state warrant, so it’s unclear if Catano’s police report is the sole cause.

Posted in General, General Posts, High Stakes Action, Industry News, Poker News, Pro Players

Vegas Police Shoot and Kill Casino Robber

The Bellagio Bandit may be behind bars, but that certainly doesn’t mean Las Vegas casinos are completely safe. In fact, one bandit has been terrorizing casinos over the past few months. However, the robber met his end recently at the hands of Vegas detectives.

According to Captain Matt McCarthy of the Metro’s Internal Oversight division (see below), repeat-offenders detectives were following a man whom they believed to be the suspect in several area robberies. As McCarthy describes, the subject would enter a casino, brandish a gun at clerks, and (sometimes) say he had explosives before making off with the money.

The detectives followed the “white male subject” who was “heavily armed” to the Rio Casino – home of the World Series of Poker. When they approached the man, he was not compliant with their commands, which led to him being tased. The taser didn’t work and a struggle ensued, resulting in the man being shot dead when he reached into his waistband for a gun.

McCarthy continued by saying that the investigation is “complex” and they’re still sorting through the details on the other robberies. You can hear the entire story on how the shooting went down below:

Posted in General, General Posts, Industry News, Las Vegas News, Poker News

Poker Pro Allegedly beats NBA Fans with Leg, Pius Heinz Grinding

Here are a couple of good poker stories that couldn’t be more unrelated to take you into the weekend…

Poker Pro Supposedly tossed from Brooklyn Nets Game for beating Fans with Leg

Former poker pro Jeffrey “Gamblero” Vanchiro, who lays claim to over $370k in tournament winnings, had a rough night at a recent Brooklyn Nets game. Rumors had Vanchiro taking off his prosthetic leg and hitting fans around him. “An unruly fan was ejected after MSG security received multiple complaints from fans sitting in that area,” said a Nets spokesperson. “The fan was warned multiple times before being removed. He will not be permitted back into Madison Square Garden.”

However, New York Times NBA reporter Andrew Chan disputed these claims by tweeting, “FWIW, various eyewitness fans told me Jeffrey Gamblero’s prosthetic left leg was merely held up in protest, not wielded with aggression.” Whatever the case is, he must have done something that they didn’t like at MSG, as the following shows:

Pius Heinz grinding in €100/€200 Cash Game at King’s Casino

What’s Pius Heinz been up to since winning the 2011 WSOP Main Event along with $8.7 million? Well not a whole lot of poker, as his tournament results at HendonMob indicate. But that’s not to say he doesn’t play or has forgotten how to play. In fact, Heinz was recently featured in a televised €100/€200 cash game at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic.

I’ve heard about these games before, with Tony G formerly being a participant. Now we get to see it live, with Heinz, casino owner Leon Tsoukernik, German poker pro Jan-Pater Jachtmann and more taking part. Not sure what language they’re speaking, but the poker action is solid:

Posted in General, General Posts, Industry News, Poker News, Poker Pop Culture, Pro Players

Mike McDonald on how Long he plays Poker, Lifting Weights and More

Mike McDonald definitely furthered his poker legend more this year, grabbing runner-up finishes in the 2014 PCA Main Event ($1.06m) and 2014 Aussie Millions $100k ($1.34m) while also taking third in the Aussie Millions $250k ($1.7m). This year also saw him cross the $10 million threshold in live tournament winnings. So considering his resume, McDonald is definitely somebody who interests the poker world. And players recently got a chance to chat with the Canadian pro through Reddit’s Ask Me Anything (AMA) section.

With this session lasting an hour and plenty of players posing questions, we won’t list everything. But below you can find some of the more-interesting questions and answers from McDonald’s Reddit AMA:

1. When you won that large an amount that early on in life, did you devalue money?
2. Did you ever have a “goddamn, I’m a degen” moment?

McDonald: 1) A little bit- I think I overvalued money a lot as a kid. I used to walk 20 minutes every day to pay $0.25 less for worse pizza at lunch when I was making like $40/hour online, so I think poker made me much much less of a life nit 2) As mentioned in the OP, earlier this year after my big scores in Australia I owed over 2million to my investors and all my debts were written in pencil on a hotel laundry sheet. I have a lot less degen stories than a lot of other poker players, but still some pretty degen ones. I’ll post more as I think of them.

1. How would you react if I told you mid-staredown that it gives me an erection?
2. Do you think any of the oldschool live pros like Esfandiari or dnegs could beat low/mid stakes online?

McDonald: 1) It happens somewhat often. I’ve stared down enough people that I’ve pretty much seen it all. I think I probably laughed the first time someone said they had an erection but am now usually able to stay stone faced 2) Ya I think so, especially with practice.

As a follow up, how chilled are investors in the poker sphere with regard to being paid back?

McDonald: Ridiclously chilled out. The guy who basically backs half of the nosebleed community for super high rollers is about my age and the friendliest guy imaginable.

What got you into poker? Did you start out using real money? If not, what made you switch and when?

McDonald: I played for play money at the very beginning but I quickly moved to playing for very small stakes online. I think poker is effectively only a good game when you can win or lose “something” whether it be money, prestige, points on a ladder etc. I think just playing play money online where people can reload at will has little value.

How does your typical day look like? Do you play any poker nowdays?

McDonald: When at live tournaments I basically play poker 40-60hours a week and fill all my remaining time with lifting and rock climbing.
At home I am similarly busy during SCOOP/WCOOP but other than that I just play ~12 hours every Sunday and then throughout the week I do much of the same, spend a lot of the time with my friends/family/girlfriend, I’m over the top addicted to this video game Prismata that my friends built and basically replace poker time with Prismata time when I’m home.

What is the scummiest thing you’ve been a victim of a) at the poker table (e.g. angleshots)? b) off the table (e.g. scams)?

a)McDonald: Lots of varying degrees of collusion but nothing sticks out too much. I’ll come back to this if I remember anything. I guess one satellite where one table all agreed to pass the blinds around so none could bust was pretty unethical. Generally poker tournaments are reasonably well run so there aren’t too many big scams
b) off the table- probably being on the epic poker league ethics committee. I’m not used to having people lie to my face and found each meeting to be emotionally draining as I felt I was just being lied to non-stop.

Posted in General, General Posts, Poker News, Pro Players