How Hank Azaria and David Schwimmer’s Poker Game Beats Quarantine

2 years ago
How Hank Azaria and David Schwimmer’s Poker Game Beats Quarantine
31 Mar

How do the poker games of the rich and famous differ from your home game? The stakes are probably higher for a start, but it turns out the smack talk is mostly the same.

Andy Bellin, director of Lovelace and writer on the upcoming Phil Ivey movie, wrote an essay for the Los Angeles Times in which he talked about how his home game has stayed alive despite quarantining using a mix of free play poker software, Venmo and Zoom (the video call app, not the poker format).

When the game closed down in the wake of COVID-19’s arrival in the states, the outcry was immediate. One player said it was easier losing a grandmother than the game. So Bellin resurrected the game in a new form, taking it online.

Apart from a tiresome swipe at Gen-Z, Bellin gives a charming insight into a game made up of “an eclectic collection of misfits and yahoo [...] Regulars over the years have included Hank [Azaria], David Schwimmer, Eric Bogosian, Irv Gotti, Billy Crudup, Aaron Tveit and writer-director Brian Koppelman.” 

Some of these misfits speak entirely in Godfather quotes others entirely in insults. So far so normal. Bellin also talks about those features of a home game that will be familiar to most poker players: that feeling of the game being a mix between a night out and group therapy session.

With online poker not an option for most American’s and home games the world over shutting down. 

The article’s most useful aspect is presenting a solution to the problem of keeping the game alive without breaking curfew.

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Jon is a freelance writer and novelist who learned to play poker after watching Rounders in year 9. He has been giving away his beer money at cards ever since. Currently he is based in Bristol where he makes sporadic donations to the occasional live tournament or drunken late night Zoom session. He ...Read more


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