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Poker Bustouts: Documentary Chronicles Highs and Lows of Poker Pros


Ever wonder what happened to the professional poker player that won $1 million in the World Series of Poker but never showed up on television again? In reality, the penniless pros far outweigh the glitzy television regulars. Why? Because professional poker is like the French Foreign Legion: nobody cares about your past, and you have no future.

“Poker Bustouts”, a new 60-minute documentary from Willis Entertainment exposes the truth about the professional poker circuit as seen through the eyes of the hard-luck characters that play the game, risking it all, and reaping little reward. “Poker Bustouts” makes a stand against the glamour of televised poker with its hard-nosed and comedic commentary.

Vegas stand-up, Vinny Favorito, headliner at Binion’s Horseshoe, shines with outrageously funny bits on the life, hold’em, poker less-fortunates, and the WSOP. It’s not all fun and games, even though it sometimes seems that way. “Poker Bustouts” also shows the depth of the poker hierarchy, from big-time tournament players, such as Tomer Benvenisti and Ted Lawson, to the short money low-limit experts like Mike “The Bum” Tullis and “Cowboy” Paul Margaritis.

There exists a common thread that binds professional poker players despite the sometimes drastic differences in finances. They all have the desire to beat work. To achieve this goal of goals, certain circumstances dictate this desire. Some win but many lose, giving into their appetite for action and green. However, the dream doesn’t end when the bankroll disappears.

The hustler inside takes over and many players take to the rail, sometimes roaming the streets, sleeping in cars, and rehearsing their latest hard-luck story. Affectionately known as “railbirds,” these poker room fixtures have been panhandling and running errands for players since the dawn of the game. They need to get back into a game, any game. The poker community keeps them alive because of their uncommon generosity with disposable cash.

“Poker Bustouts” craftily displays the full spectrum of the rail, from homeless to poker millionaire railbird. The brutal honesty of the film is complemented by bad beat horror stories and dealer-induced diatribes, not to mention the views of ever-opinionated dealers themselves. This side of poker is not visible to the innocent casino bystander. “Poker Bustouts” will have you running bad in no time.


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