Rounders John Malkovich Poker

6 min readJan 30, 2021


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Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) lost money in poker game with the gangster Teddy “KGB” (John Malkovich). Rounders Teddy KGB Very Aggri-Aysive shirt. Under the pressure of his girlfriend, Jo (Gretchen Mol), he promised to give up gambling. Rounders, the 1998 cult classic that helped increase the popularity of poker in the early 2000s, made a return to the news this week. Could momentum again be building for a sequel? 13 Jan Serial tester Adam Savage has reviewed his replica set of poker chips as seen in the movie Rounders. The poker themed release, starring Matt Damon, Ed Norton and John Malkovich, has an almost cult following, and is seen as the best poker movie of all time.

  1. John Malkovich’s Son Loewy Malkovich
  2. John Malkovich Rounders
  3. John Malkovich
  4. ESPN is often given credit for the ‘Poker Boom’ of the mid-2000s but for all intents and purposes it was the movie Roundersstarring Matt Damon, Edward Norton, and John Malkovich that set that poker boom into motion.
  5. The Abridged Script. Movie: September 10, 1998. MATT DAMON sits on one side of a poker table, JOHN MALKOVICH on the other. MATT DAMON (V.O.).

Title Rounders
Year 1998
Director John Dahl
Genre Drama, Crime


Interpreted by

Plot — Mike McDermott is a professional poker player who takes advantage of gambling to attempt to start a new life. Mike studies Law at University and he spends his free time with his girlfriend and fellow student Jo. According to Mike, the legal way to get to success is becoming a lawyer, but he is too attracted by the game. When an old friend of his comes out of jail, Mike has to choose whether he wants to play for him or give it up.

All actors — Matt Damon, Edward Norton, Paul Cicero, John Turturro, Ray Iannicelli, Gretchen Mol, Famke Janssen, Merwin Goldsmith, John Malkovich, Martin Landau, Sonny Zito, Michael Rispoli, Melina Kanakaredes, Mal Z. Lawrence, Josh Mostel, Lenny Clarke, Peter Yoshida, Tom Aldredge, Jay Boryea, Lenny Venito, Richard Mawe, Michael Lombard, Beeson Carroll, E. Matthew Yavne, Eric LaRay Harvey, Dominic Marcus, Brian Anthony Wilson, George Kmeck, Joseph Parisi, Kohl Sudduth, Charlie Matthes, Hank Jacobs, Chris Messina, Michael Ryan Segal, Kerry O’Malley, Slava Schoot, Goran Visnjic, Michele Zanes, Allan Havey, Joe Vega, Neal Hemphill, Vernon E. Jordan Jr., Johnny Chan, Lisa Gorlitsky, John Di Benedetto, Nicole Brier, Bill Camp, Tony Hoty, Mario Mendoza, Joe Zaloom, Sal Richards, Josh Pais, John Gallagher, Adam LeFevre, P.J. Brown, David Zayas, Michael Arkin, Murphy Guyer, Alan Davidson, Joey Vega, Akiko Ashley, Dar Billingham, Marcelline Block, Tim Carr, Salvatore Cavaliere, Hans Cozzens, Jeff DeRocker, Brian Donahue, Bill Golodner, Michael Griffith, Jason Hale, Roberto Lopez, George F. Miller, Robert Sean Miller, Natasha Pavlovich, Maria Soccor, Vinny Vella

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  • “Get your money in when you have the best of it. Protect it when you don’t.”
    Matt Damon — Mike McDermott
  • “I’ve often seen these people, these squares at the table, short stack and long odds against them. All their outs gone. One last card in the deck that can help them. I used to wonder how they could let themselves get into such bad shape, and how the hell they thought they could turn it around.”
    Matt Damon — Mike McDermott
  • “Mike, I learned it from you. You always told me this was the rule. Rule number one: Throw away your cards the moment you know they can’t win. Fold the fucking hand.” — Jo
  • “That’s the safe play. I told Worm you can’t lose what you don’t put in the middle. But you can’t win much either.”
    Matt Damon — Mike McDermott
  • “- Worm: What did I ever do to that guy?
    - Mike McDermott: You fucked his mother.
    - Worm: [amused] Yeah but she was a good looking older woman you gotta give me that.”
    Edward Norton — Worm
    Matt Damon — Mike McDermott
  • “We can’t run from who we are, our destiny chooses us.”
    Martin Landau — Abe Petrovsky
  • “Listen, here’s the thing. If you can’t spot the sucker in your first half hour at the table, then you are the sucker. Guys around here will tell ya, you play for a living, it’s like any other job. You don’t gamble, you grind it out. Your goal is to win one big bet an hour, that’s it.”
    Matt Damon — Mike McDermott
  • “- Moogie: Hey, lemme ask you a question. In the legalsense, can fuckin’ Steinbrenner move the Yankees? Does he have the fuckin’ right to just move them?
    - Mike McDermott: How should I know that?
    - Moogie: You didn’t learn that yet?
    - Mike McDermott: No, we get to Steinbrenner in third year law school.
    - Moogie: Oh…”
    — Moogie
    Matt Damon — Mike McDermott
  • “- Mike McDermott: I watch the cards but I also watch the player react to the cards. That’s how I knew the DA made his two pair and judge Kaplan missed the flush, I was watching their eyes when they checked their river cards, their faces tell you everything.
    - Abe Petrovsky: [confused] You watch the man? I never knew you had to calculate so much…” (continue)(continue reading)Matt Damon — Mike McDermott
    Martin Landau — Abe Petrovsky
  • - Worm: You know what always cheers me up, when I’m feeling shitty?
    - Mike McDermott: No, what’s that?
    - Worm: Rolled up aces over kings. Check-raising stupid tourists and taking huge pots off of them. Playing all-night high-limit Hold’em at the Taj, ‘where the sand turns to gold’. Stacks and towers of checks I can’t even see over.Edward Norton — Worm
    Matt Damon — Mike McDermott
  • In ‘Confessions of a Winning Poker Player’, Jack King said, ‘Few players recall big pots they have won, strange as it seems, but every player can remember with remarkable accuracy the outstanding tough beats of his career’. It seems true to me, cause walking in here, I can hardly remember how I built my bankroll, but I can’t stop thinking of how… (continue)(continue reading)
    Matt Damon — Mike McDermott
  • “- Worm: She’s really got him by the balls.
    - Petra: That’s not so bad, is it?
    - Worm: It depends on the grip!”Edward Norton — Worm
    Famke Janssen — Petra
  • “Why do you think the same five guys make it to the final table of the World Series of Poker every year? What, are they the luckiest guys in Las Vegas? It’s a skill game Jo.”Matt Damon — Mike McDermott
  • “- Worm: I guess the sayings’ true. In the poker game of life, women are the rake man. They are the fuckin’ rake.
    - Mike McDermott: What the fuck are you talkin’ about. What saying?
    - Worm: I don’t know. There ought to be one though.”
    Edward Norton — Worm
    Matt Damon — Mike McDermott
  • “First prize at the World Series of Poker is a million bucks. Does it have my name on it? I don’t know. But, I’m gonna find out.”
    Matt Damon — Mike McDermott
  • “- Mike McDermott: What happened?
    - Worm: Nothing, she closed her legs too fast!”Matt Damon — Mike McDermott
    Edward Norton — Worm


If you haven’t yet read GQ’s great profile on Matt Damon ahead of next week’s release of Jason Bourne, do yourself a favor and run through it, because there are some great quotes from his famous friends. If anything, the Prince story will make you laugh, but there are some other fun anecdotes from Damon’s past, including his feelings about “MAAAATT DAAAAMON” and how he and Edward Norton picked up some pointers to play poker badasses in Rounders.

For example:

John Malkovich’s Son Loewy Malkovich

Edward Norton (co-star, ‘Rounders’): Matt and I got coaching from top poker pros, but also from some guys in the underground poker scene who were experts in working a game as partners with coded signals, because that was something our characters did in the film. We decided we’d see if we could actually pull it off in a game, and we cut it apart. Then we walked down Sixth Avenue a few blocks and chopped up our collective winnings. We agreed that our commitment to the craft of acting justifiably forced our ethical standards into the backseat. And most of the money we clipped came off Harvey and Bob Weinstein, so we agreed that was good for humanity.

On top of that, Damon’s Bourne co-star Alicia Vikander explained how he helped her learn how to play craps, and then she spent some time alone in a Las Vegas casino drinking and gambling. And then, we would assume, she left because some sales bros in town for a convention wouldn’t leave her alone.

John Malkovich Rounders

Anyway, the Rounders stories don’t end with the GQ profile, because Damon sat down with BBC Radio 1 on Thursday to talk about his return to ass-kickery, and he not only broke out a great story about Malkovich on the set of Rounders, but he also showed off his perfect impression of Teddy KGB. We might actually need to get Rounders 2 happening just so they can have a sh*t-talking scene where Mike McD mocks his rival.

John Malkovich

(Via BroBible)

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