A new documentary about online poker, titled “Drawing Dead: The Highs and Lows of Online Poker,” was shown for the first time on DirecTV on Oct 10, Thursday, at 8:00 p.m. The documentary, which is Mike Weeks first film, throws light on little-known facts about the US online poker boom.
Online poker stepped into a completely new era when the poker legend Chris Moneymaker became the champion of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event in 2003. Moneymaker’s spectacular poker success led to what is popularly known as the Moneymaker Effect in the industry. A large number of people, inspired by the success story of an everyman, began showing interest in poker.
Drawing Dead does not bear any similarity to television advertisements telling tales on how ordinary people can get rich playing poker. Instead, it presents the cold hard facts. The documentary traces the career of two characters—the internationally acclaimed Dusty Schmidt, member of Team PokerStars, and Michael Korpi, an athlete and an honors student who gets addicted to online poker.
Schmidt, a professional golf player began playing poker to pass the time when a heart attack prevented him from pursuing his golf career. Later, he began playing it professionally. He soon got into the ranks of poker millionaires. But Michael Korpi loses everything playing online poker. He gets addicted to the game, steals money, and gets expelled.
Drawing Dead neither advocates nor condemns online poker, but presents a balanced view of the online poker situation by presenting a poker success story while focusing on exploitation of players by offshore online poker rooms and problem gambling.
The movie re-tells the story of the WSOP, leading it up to the events of Black Friday. It also contains interviews with industry experts about problem gambling and gambling addiction. It presents several interesting facts about online poker and how it could lead to problem gambling. Korpi is an interesting character and viewers can’t help hoping that he will be able to overcome his problems.
Besides illustrating points through interesting animations, Mike Weeks also serves as the narrator, in the course of which he presents his opinions and makes several claims. He thus presents himself as an expert although it turns out that he is only an online poker fan. He also uses words that reflect contempt for the online poker industry and his statement that “most online poker players are engaged in some form of cheating” doesn’t hold water.