11 months ago
Brian Koppelman (Rounders cowriter, Grantland contributor): In the last poker scene of Rounders, Matt Damon’s character — originally we had written it so that you didn’t see his cards, so that you didn’t know he had the straight that mirrored Johnny Chan’s straight. And the director said to us, “We should show the cards,” and I said, “No, if you know the cards it’s not going to be as interesting.” John [Dahl] said, “Let’s put them both up in front of an audience. The same exact movie. The only difference is in one version you can see Matt’s cards, and in the other version you can’t see Matt’s cards.” And we played our version, the one where you couldn’t see the hand, and it went great. The crowd was really surprised when the cards turned over — it was awesome. But when we played the one where you could see that Matt had flopped the straight, the crowd was on the edge of their seats hoping that [John] Malkovich would fall for it. They were completely engaged. It was exactly the hole-card phenomenon. They wanted to be inside Matt’s head. (via)
(Editor’s note: And if you want to get super nerdy about it, this write-up overanalyzing the final hand is a pretty entertaining.)

Brian Koppelman (Rounders cowriter, Grantland contributor): In the last poker scene of Rounders, Matt Damon’s character — originally we had written it so that you didn’t see his cards, so that you didn’t know he had the straight that mirrored Johnny Chan’s straight. And the director said to us, “We should show the cards,” and I said, “No, if you know the cards it’s not going to be as interesting.” John [Dahl] said, “Let’s put them both up in front of an audience. The same exact movie. The only difference is in one version you can see Matt’s cards, and in the other version you can’t see Matt’s cards.” And we played our version, the one where you couldn’t see the hand, and it went great. The crowd was really surprised when the cards turned over — it was awesome. But when we played the one where you could see that Matt had flopped the straight, the crowd was on the edge of their seats hoping that [John] Malkovich would fall for it. They were completely engaged. It was exactly the hole-card phenomenon. They wanted to be inside Matt’s head. (via)

(Editor’s note: And if you want to get super nerdy about it, this write-up overanalyzing the final hand is a pretty entertaining.)

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