Gambling Movie News: Casino Jack and Rounders 2

Casino Jack, the much-anticipated movie about former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, premiered across the U.S. this weekend to mixed reviews. Abramoff, who was born and raised in Atlantic City, became a hero in the gambling industry after he successfully blocked the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act in 1999. Less than a decade later he became one of the industry’s most infamous villains.

In 2005, Abramoff pleaded guilty to defrauding several Native American tribes of more than $25 million in casino gaming interests. Around the same time, Abramoff was also found guilty of fraud against SunCruz Casinos owner Konstantinos Boulis. Earlier this month, Abramoff was released to a halfway house after serving three and a half years of his original six year sentence. Though Abramoff met with actor Kevin Spacey, who plays him in the movie, prior to filming it’s unknown if he’s actually seen the final product.

If you could care less about the political side to gambling, and a straightforward poker movie is more your style, then you’ll no doubt be pleased to hear that yesterday Miramax officially announced plans to start producing a sequel to one of the most iconic poker movies ever made – Rounders. The announcement was just one small part of a press release that also announced the recent partnering of Miramax and The Weinstein Company.

While several other movie sequels were mentioned, Rounders was at the top of the list along with Bad Santa and Shakespeare in Love. While we won’t comment on our enthusiasm about the latter two titles, it goes without saying that most poker fans feel like another good card sharking movie is long overdue.

The original Rounders was released in 1998 and included a star-studded cast headed by Edward Norton and Matt Damon. Both Norton and Damon have expressed a desire to reprise their roles, but most poker fans are probably more curious about whether or not Johnny Chan will again make an appearance.

While some poker players have criticized the accuracy of the movie’s portrayal of high stakes poker games, it’s nevertheless largely considered to be the most comprehensive poker movie ever made. Many pros have even credited Rounders with inspiring their early interest in the game. Vanessa Rousso has even been quoted as saying that “only Rounders really captures the energy and tension in the game. And that’s why it stands as the best poker movie ever made.”

All details about the sequel’s plot and cast are still pending, but IMDB currently shows Rounders 2 as “in development” with its theater release projected to be some time in 2012.

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