It was an exquisite night within the spring of 2007, and like each Thursday evening in these days, I used to be sitting in a penthouse suite on the Four Seasons on Doheney Drive in Beverly Hills taking part in high-stakes maintain’em together with Tobey Maguire and regular line up of mega-millionaires, celebs, and captains of business.
That evening, Leonardo DiCaprio determined to swing by and take a look at the motion. While Leo loved poker, he didn’t like the concept of placing his personal cash in danger. For these of you who learn my e book, Billion Dollar Hollywood Heist, you would possibly do not forget that Tobey and I had staked Leo within the early days of our recreation with the intention to entice wealthy whales who would simply drop six figures to say they bought to hang around with A-listers all evening.
A pair years had handed since we had used the movie star trapping performs, and at this level our recreation had reached legendary standing all through the poker world. There was not a must forged a giant web for the fish as a result of the proverbial pond had been stocked! There was a listing a mile lengthy full of everybody from bankers and billionaires to actors and athletes, all hoping for an opportunity to take a seat at our desk.
Our recreation was full that evening, however I may inform that Leo actually had the itch to take a seat down and play for a bit. It’s vital to notice that when I entered the suite every week and was served my favourite beverage by our then-hostess, Molly Bloom, I might mentally flip off the remainder of the world. Any enterprise dealings I had had been placed on maintain. No calls had been allowed to return from my dwelling or workplace as soon as I sat right down to play. Neither my assistant, the executives who labored for me, and even my spouse would dare to disrupt me throughout recreation time. After all, this wasn’t simply any recreation. For me, it was pure enterprise. And when dealt with correctly, it could lead to a six-figure win for the night.
Having mentioned that, on this specific evening, I scheduled a fast enterprise assembly down within the lounge of the Four Seasons. At that point, I had been producing a actuality TV pilot for A&E starring rock star Fred Durst, who had additionally simply completed directing his second function movie. Fred had learn a script I owned and was very desirous about being hooked up because the director.
The different individual attending the assembly was Nick Cassavetes, who had directed a number of movies together with The Notebook. Nick favored the script as effectively and agreed to satisfy with myself and Fred to debate the potential of us all working collectively to get it arrange. If you don’t know Cassavetes from his motion pictures, which additionally embrace Alpha Dog, My Sisters Keeper, and John Q, then chances are you’ll acknowledge his face from appearances on High Stakes Poker. Nick was additionally a semi-regular participant in our recreation and I used to be a semi-regular participant at his dwelling recreation, which occurred on a distinct evening of the week.
I knew I couldn’t blow this assembly off, however when Leonardo DiCaprio arrived on the recreation, it created a small conundrum for me. Tobey, half joking, half critical, identified to me that because the recreation was full, my absence would go away a seat open ought to Leo resolve to play. In my thoughts, that may have been like leaving a large bag of money sitting in the course of Times Square whilst you resolve to seize a slice of pizza, simply hoping it’s nonetheless there whenever you get again. There was no means I used to be going to threat my seat for the whole evening… not even to Dicaprio!
So, I made a decision I might provide to let him play in my stead whereas I shot right down to the lounge for my assembly. Considering Leo solely performed aces and kings preflop, I figured it was well worth the threat.
Leo appeared happier than Jack Dawson after profitable tickets to board the Titanic once I advised him he may take my seat and play a number of fingers whereas I attended my assembly. He sat down on the button because the playing cards had been being dealt, so I made a decision to present him one sweat earlier than I left.
The blinds had been $200-$400 and there have been two limpers and a elevate earlier than it bought to Leo, who appeared down at 7-7 and simply tossed ‘em into the muck as if he was holding 7-2 off after a 3 guess. I figured my cash can be protected for no less than the subsequent 20 minutes, and off I went!
It was a very busy evening on the Four Seasons that night. In addition to Durst and Cassavetes, I bumped into an previous buddy, former MTV president Tony DiSanto, who was hanging out with media big Ben Silverman. And on the best way up I discovered myself using within the elevator with film producer and philanthropist multi-millionaire Steve Bing, who had been residing on the Four Seasons for the previous yr whereas one in every of his houses was being in-built Beverly Hills. I invited him to return try the sport, however he took a rain examine.
As I walked again into the room, I used to be a bit anxious to see how Leo was doing. I admit I believe my coronary heart sank a bit once I noticed that my seat was empty and DiCaprio was sitting on the opposite facet of the penthouse trying form of upset.
I caught eyes with Bobby Safi as if to ask, ‘What the hell happened?’ Bob simply shook his head, letting me know that issues didn’t go effectively for Leo. Then Molly referred to as me over and advised me that I used to be caught my $100,000 from my buy-in, and one other $75,000 in revenue I had received earlier than I let the Wolf of Wall Street babysit my chips!
I used to be steaming and determined to go again right down to the lounge for a drink. I got here up half-hour later and Leo was nonetheless simply sitting there trying bummed. I walked out on the balcony and he determined to observe and provides me the small print.
He advised me he picked up pocket aces and bought reraised all in preflop by Bob Safi. Bobby, who was simply screwing round, ended up profitable the hand with Okay-4 offsuit, flopping two pair for all my cash. I advised him I understood, that Bobby had snapped my aces for no less than half 1,000,000 previously few weeks. I then simply sat there looking on the metropolis skyline, most of it made up of buildings that Mr. Safi had bought quite a few instances over as one of many largest business actual property moguls in Los Angeles.
Finally, Leo spoke up and mentioned, “If it makes you feel any better I’m willing to put $10K towards the loss.” I simply turned, walked again in, and shouted for Molly to place me on the books for one more $100K.
As I sat down, ready for the chips to return, Leo got here up and stood proper behind me. Tobey began smiling, in all probability taking enjoyment from my ache, after which Bob Safi slowly pushed over a large stack of chips in entrance of me and everybody within the room began laughing.
I turned again to Leo, the most effective actors on the planet, and he simply gave me a glance that mentioned, ‘I just fooled your ass!’
Not solely did I’ve my bankroll again, however I walked away from the night profitable over $300,000 and having an ideal story to inform. Truth be advised, Leo and Tobey had executed this identical rip-off to me a number of years prior when the sport was at Tobey’s home… so I ought to have been sensible to it. But I believe that simply made Leo resolve to promote it even more durable.
Thanks for studying, and as all the time, keep sharp! Stay Kardsharp!
Houston Curtis, founding father of KardSharp.com and writer of Billion Dollar Hollywood Heist has lived a profitable double life as each a producer and excessive stakes poker participant for almost 30 years. His credit embrace government producing gambling-related TV exhibits resembling The Ultimate Blackjack Tour on CBS, The Aruba Poker Classic on GSN and pioneering the poker tutorial DVD style with titles that includes poker legend Phil Hellmuth.
Barred for all times from Las Vegas Golden Nugget for “excessive winning” at blackjack, Houston is among the world’s most profitable card mechanics and sleight-of-hand artists of the fashionable period. Curtis, who hardly ever performs in tournaments, received a 2004 Legends of Poker no-limit maintain’em championship occasion besting Scotty Nguyen heads-up on the last desk earlier than happening to co-found the elite Hollywood poker ring that impressed Aaron Sorkin’s Academy Award-nominated movie Molly’s Game.
Curtis now resides in Columbia, Missouri whereas sustaining workplaces in Los Angeles, and Phoenix, Arizona. In addition to operating a manufacturing firm and impartial report label, Curtis additionally consults as a poker safety professional to shoppers throughout the globe searching for perception into grasp degree card dishonest ways by way of superior sleight-of-hand approach. In addition, Houston is now obtainable for in-person and on-line talking engagements, personal sleight-of-hand instruction, and a wide range of media creation/manufacturing providers. Houston may be contacted instantly at firstname.lastname@example.org.