How Different Was The Rounders Script To The Final Cut?

2 weeks ago
How Different Was The Rounders Script To The Final Cut?
09:59
04 Mar

Brian Koppelman recently released the script he sent to talent agencies when casting Rounders. This is what Matt Damon, John Malkovich and Edward Norton read when they joined the project. 

So, since we know you all love this movie, we read the script and re-watched it to bring you some fun Rounders trivia that will impress your friends and alienate your dates!

Most of the differences can be seen early in the script, the one that jumps right at you is that the main character Mike McDermott is named Matt. This changed after the casting of Matt Damon.

That’s not the only difference, Mike holds an unlit cigarette in his mouth while playing ala Sammy Farha. He’s also seen having a different relationship with Knish, showing a lot less respect for the veteran player, closer to that of a poker buddy than of a mentor.


Teddy KGB is described as being curly haired and at least 50 lbs heavier than Mike. There are also more direct references to his criminal behavior, including murder for hire

He’s not the only one who lost weight in the casting, Dean Abe Pretovsky played by Martin Landau is described as a large bearded man with a Brooklyn/Israeli accent.

But the biggest difference throughout the movie is that there’s a lot more poker


Every game Mike plays has at least one hand shown on screen. The poker game in the first act takes more or less ten minutes of the run time and shows a few hands that didn’t involve Mike, including one where they catch a cheater. 

Consequently, we get to know the New York players better. The character of Petra, for instance, had more lines and personality than in the final cut.

The second and third acts of the script play more or less the same as in the movie, except Mike bluffed Phil Hellmuth out of a hand instead of Johnny Chan. In the film we only know that Mike had “rags” and the Chan folds preflop while in the script, he has eight-nine suited and it gets to a KKJ flop before Hellmuth folds.


While well known in the poker community, Hellmuth would have been a complete unknown to a majority of the 1998 audience. Chan, however, was established in an earlier scene where Mike watches the 1988 WSOP Main Event, which is also in the script.

Since Koppelman was acquainted with Hellmuth at the time, it’s possible that he figured it relatively easy to convince someone he already has some sort of connection with to be in his movie.

And that’s all the differences.  What do you think of this of version of the movie? Send us a Tweet @Pokertube with your opinions!


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