Living In The Fast Lane: The Film Of Mike Matusow’s Life

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC Living In The Fast Lane: The Film Of Mike Matusow’s Life

The boundaries of popular culture are constantly changing, while they regularly overlap with various activities and disciplines. During the last decade, the sport of poker has become increasingly influential in pop culture, especially in the world of movies, television and music.

This came into sharper focus recently, when Variety Film reporter Dave McNary reported that a biopic on professional poker player Mike Matusow had been commissioned by 1984 Professional Defense Contractors (PDC). It will be based on Matusow’s own autobiography Check-Raising the Devil.

Mike Matusow: How he learned his Legendary Status



Nicknamed ‘The Mouth’ by pundits and fellow players alike, Mike Matusow is renowned as one of the most successful and controversial poker players of the modern era. He a four-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner, which is an amazing accomplishment on its own, but is that much more impressive when you consider that each win was in a different type of poker game:  No Limit Hold’em, Omaha Hi/Lo, 2-7 Lowball and Stud Hi/Lo. While many modern pros excel at one variation but often flounder at others, Matusow has proved that he is a true poker master with over $9 million in tournament winnings to date.

While his accomplishments on the felt are nothing short of amazing, he might be better known for his antics. The Mouth earned his nickname by trash-talking rival players throughout the course of several tournaments. He is also a particularly volatile and unpredictable player, and has often ruined days of good game play with a single misjudgment. This became affectionately known as the ‘Mike Matusow Meltdown.

Matusow’s first experience of the game came when he played video poker at the tender age of eighteen, and he enjoyed this past-time so much that he developed repetitive strain injuries to his shoulders and arms over time. A verified wild-child, he was reported to have funded his gambling by occasionally stealing money from his mother’s purse, while he only began to harness his natural skill and energy after being taught Texas Hold’em by a professional player called Steve Samaroff.

The Mike Matusow Biopic and its Likely Format

In terms of the biopic itself, there remains some doubt as to whether it will be a film or a television program. The precise format seems unimportant, however, especially when you consider the depth of Matusow’s experience in poker, the antics that he has displayed throughout the course of his career, his tainted past, his struggles with mental illness, and how he has managed to keep so many friends in the industry throughout it all.

Then there is his autobiography, which is the basis for the movie and an incredible read, offering a unique insight into the world of poker and the lifestyle that professional players can attain. From Matusow’s own experience in life to the success that he has enjoyed online and at live poker tables throughout the world, his intelligence seeps through the pages and you would be hard pressed to find a better subject for a televised biopic.

For now, we will wait patiently for more details to emerge on this project that is sure to be wildly entertaining once it hits the screens. There have been rumors that Nicolas Cage is in talks to portray Matusow, which we can only imagine will make things that much more interesting.


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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.

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