Rounders 2 | Movie Pitch Monday

Welcome to another episode of Movie Pitch Monday — a show where I pitch hypothetical movie ideas. If you don’t know who I am, I’m Edward Mullen, I’m an author, blogger, and YouTuber.

In the past, I have done pitches for Avatar 2, Back to the Future 4, Ready Player 2, A Quieter Place, and dozens of others.

In today’s movie pitch, I want to pitch a sequel to one of my favourite movies — Rounders, staring Matt Damon, Edward Norton, and John Malkovich.

I’ll briefly recap the first movie so that we’re all on the same page.

  • Mike McDermott (Matt Damon), law student, living in NY
  • To pay for law school and his bills, he goes around to different tables around town and plays no limit Texas Hold’em
  • In the beginning of the movie, he’s cocky and plays Teddy KGB (John Malkovich) in which he loses all his money, three stacks of high society aka 30 grand
  • He takes a regular job and focuses on his studies, he has made a commitment to his girlfriend, to not play poker again
  • His friend Worm (Edward Norton) gets out of prison and uses him name to rack up debt
  • They both get in over their heads and need to come up with the money quick
  • Matt Damon’s girlfriend finds out that he’s playing poker again and leaves him without question
  • Mike and Worm go to every game in town, including some outside of town
  • They lie, cheat, and collude to give themselves every advantage
  • Worm gets greedy and uses poor judgement
  • Eventually Worm is caught bottom dealing by a bunch of off-duty police officers and they beat Mike and Worm up
  • With no other options, Matt Damon goes to his Prof and borrows the money to pay back Teddy KGB
  • But instead of using the money to pay him back, he uses it to play poker with Teddy KGB
  • Mike spots Teddy’s tell and wins back his debt as well as enough to pay back the Prof, and the 30 grand he original lost at the beginning of the movie
  • In the end, Mike goes to Las Vegas to play in the World Series of Poker

Okay so that’s where we left off. My movie pitch takes place in present day, 20 years after the first.  We follow the story of Jason (Miles Teller), a young kid who has saved up some money, like four or five thousand dollars, and has moved to Las Vegas with dreams of competing in the World Series of Poker. He has won a number of online tournaments and has done quite well, but it has always been his dream to play with the big boys in Vegas.

Act One

The opening of the movie, I would do a montage of Vegas, upbeat music playing, cards being dealt, dealers raking chips, large stacks of chips being accumulated, and poker pros sitting around until early hours, playing hands.

When we first meet Jason, he has just arrived to Las Vegas for the first time. He walks down the Vegas strip and into a grand entrance of one of the casinos and has his back toward us. He is in awe of the grandiose opulence of the hotel / casino. He’s only ever seen it in movies. The camera pans around and we see a look of awe and excitement on his face.

He enters the casino timidly, and just checks out the scene a bit. He finds a table that doesn’t look that intimidating and takes a seat. He pulls out a wad of cash and gets dealt in.

He folds a lot at first, plays a few hands, takes a small win. An hour later, he gets a little more comfortable and begins to get on a roll. At the end of a long night, he looks exhausted and is up like four or five thousand dollars.

He walks out of the casino, gets a hotel room, and crashes for the night.

The next day, he returns to the Casino and someone recognizes him from the day before. They tell him they were watching him play and invite him to sit at the high-limit table, minimum buy in 10,000. The kid doesn’t have enough money, but agrees to go and watch. When he goes there, he sees some of the pros he’s seen on television like Daniel Ngreanu, Phil Ivey, Phil Helmuth, etc.

After an hour or so, he gets the itch and really wants to play. The guy who invited him to play says that he will bankroll him and they will split the winnings. Jason agrees and takes a seat. He’s up and down and back up again. He has over 100,000, which seems like a lot, but not at this table.

The bankroller tells him to fold and exit the game, but just then he’s dealt pocket Aces. As the hand continues to play out, Jason pushes all-in for one last time to hopefully double his money.

He eventually gets a bad beat and loses it all in one hand, including his earnings from the night before. He now has no money and is completely crushed. He feels sick to his stomach.

The guy who bankrolled him is furious and begins to yell at Jason, but security is quick to step in.

The next scene, we see Jason in a uniform, cleaning backyard pools and he looks miserable. He earns enough to pay his bills and play a couple hands at the low limit tables, but the excitement is missing. He’s tasted the big leagues so going back to the kids’ tables is tough.

One day, Jason is called to a big mansion. He arrived at a gate, gets buzzed in, drives up the winding driveway and gets let in by the maid. He’s carrying his gear through this lavish house, and he’s gawking at all the dope art on the wall, the furniture, the staircase, the entire place is the kind of house you only see in movies. He walks through the house and into the back to the pool area. There’s a guy talking on the phone with his back to the camera.

He turns around and we see that it’s Matt Damon. Now, Matt Damon’s character Mike McDermott is a legend in poker. He’s won a bunch of major tournaments, appeared on TV, has endorsement deals, amassed a fortune, and he’s even in talks of turning his life into a movie.

Mike turns around and sees the kid staring at him and he tells the person whom he was speaking to on the phone that he will call him back.

“You’re Mike McDermott,” the kid manages to say, with his mouth agape.

“Last time I checked. How are you?” Mike responds. He’s really nice and is used to fans. He can tell the kid is star stuck and wants to create a good impression.

Jason then proceeds to tell him how much he respects him and begins recalling famous hands that Mike played to win the World Series of Poker similar to how Mike did in Rounders with Johnny Chan.

Jason proceeds to tell him about himself and his poker accolades. He tells him about losing his money and Mike tells him to stay away from that guy. He’s a shark and a hustler.

Jason offers a deal, he will clean his pool for free anytime he wants, pick up his dry cleaning, drive him to the airport, “anything you need, give me a call.” He gives Mike his business card and Mike says, “for now, just clean the pool.”

Jason cleans the pool and goes on about his day. Later in the week, Jason receives a call from Mike saying that some pump in the pool is broken and Jason drops everything and goes to Mike’s house. Jason’s employer receives a complaint that Jason left one job midday through and went to another job. Jason explains that Mike is a very important customer, but his employer isn’t having it and fires Jason.

Jason shows up at Mike’s house unannounced and is standing outside the gate. Mike buzzes him in and learns that his company fired him.

Mike feels bad and apologizes. He offers to call the company and get his job reinstated. Jason refuses and says, what I really want to do is play poker. Can you teach me?

Mike feels a little guilty about getting him fired and agrees to take him on.

They go around and play games much like we saw in Rounders. Mike shows this kid a life he could only dream of — girls, pool parties, private clubs. Jason is living at the Mike’s house and they have become friends.

We are also led to believe that Mike is teaching Jason how to play and soon Jason is at the high-limit table, playing big hands, despite Mike’s warning to stay away.

Act Two

Of course, Jason doesn’t listen and ends up losing all his bankroll, over 100k. He goes to Mike for a loan and Mike refuses to loan him any money. He says, what about that time when your professor loaned you money. How is this different.

Mike goes, “What did you say?”

“Your professor loaned you money so you could play Teddy KGB. But instead of paying back your debt, you took a bet on yourself and won back your debt, enough to pay back the professor, and keep 30k.”

“How do you know about that?”

The kid goes, “I read about it online.”

“No, you didn’t because I didn’t tell that to anyone. Only three people in this world know where I got the money, me, the Professor, and…” just as he says that, Edward Norton, Worm himself shows up with his sinister, up-to-no-good grin.

“Mikey McDermott. How the hell are you buddy? You know, I have to say, you’ve changed. I was a little disappointed that you weren’t waiting for me when I got out of prison this time.”

Mike is speechless. He’s not sure what’s going on. Worm comes up and puts his arm around Jason and says, I see you’ve met my boy.

“Jason’s you son?”

“Look at us, isn’t the resemblance uncanny?”

“Worm is your dad?” Mike says with a look of betrayal. “Why didn’t you tell me? What angle are you two working?

“Mike, trust me, we’re not working an angles.”

“I found out you two were hanging out and I told him not to tell you because I knew you would think I’m working an angle. See I told you he would think that. You know, you’re so predictable, Mike.”

“I think you two should leave.”

“Oh come on Mike, we’ll leave, but come with us. Let’s grab some beers and catch up. What do you say, Mikey?”

Mike agrees and they all go down to a bar and shoot the shit. They tell a lot of amazing stories, some from the first movie, and others from their lives post Rounders that we didn’t get to see such as Mike coming to Vegas and winning tournaments to becoming a celebrity.

Worm talks about his life and some of his wins and losses.

Then Worm asks if Mike is going to play in the World Series of Poker.

Mike says no, he retired from competition.

Worm and Jason talk him into it.

As Jason goes to the restroom, he gets punched in the stomach, dragged outside, burlap sack over his head, and tossed in the back of a van.

The next thing he knows, he’s being marched out in the middle of the desert, bag ripped off him, gun to his head. It’s the guy from the beginning of the movie. He wants his hundred grand that Jason lost.

Jason explains that he cannot come up with the money, but he plans to play in the WSOP and if he wins, he will pay him back, even though he feels that he doesn’t really owe him.

The bankroller takes off, leaving Jason out in the desert. He is eventually picked up by someone and taken back into the city. He decides not to tell Mike or Worm about this event.

Act Three

In the final act, the World Series of Poker is underway. I think it would be cool to do a lot of celebrity cameos from Dan Bilzerian to Ben Affleck, and all the current pros like Daniel Ngraneau and Phil Ivey. Even Teddy KGB makes a cameo and says a few lines to Mike.

We’re seeing a lot of really great poker action and Mike and Worm end up at the same table. Nobody knows that they know each other and they’re doing a lot of tricks from back in the day. Worm ends up intentionally dumping all his chips to Mike as a way to redeem himself for some past mistakes he made.

Mike is now the chip leader and he makes it to the final table with Jason. It’s heads up and Jason makes a move on Mike, but Mike is a vet. He outplays Jason, takes him out and becomes the World Series of Poker champion. Jason takes the second place prize, which is 200,000 grand. He sees the bankroller, but decides instead to leave town without paying him.

In the post-credits scene, Teddy KGB shows up and asks Mike if he wants to play some cards.

So there it is, my Rounders 2 pitch. Let me know in the comments what you think of the pitch. If you liked it, please hit the like button, if you want to see more pitches like this, please subscribe to my channel. Thanks so much for watching, I will see you next time.

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