The Card Counter (2021) Movie Script

I never imagined myself as someone
suited to a life of incarceration.
As a boy, I was afraid of confined spaces.
I feared elevators.
When I was old enough,
I just wanted to get in the car,
roll the windows and drive, drive, drive,
wherever my eyes would take me.
I was an American kid.
Confinement of any kind
was terrifying to me.
So to my surprise, having been
sentenced to ten years in prison,
I found I adjusted quite well.
627, full lock-down, 08:00.
I liked the routine.
I liked the regimen.
Same activities. Same time. Every day.
The same toothbrush,
the same clothes, same toilet,
same stale sweat, stale smoke,
stale bodies, stale cooking, stale farts.
Same conversations.
The faces changed,
but not much, no choice.
I found that I liked reading books.
I never read a book before.
Not all the way through.
I found a life for myself
that had been beyond my imagination.
It was in prison I learned to count cards.
What separates Blackjack from other games
is that it's based on dependent events.
Meaning past affects the probability
in the future.
The house has a 1.5% advantage.
If a player knows the nature
of the cards and the shoe,
he can turn
the house advantage to himself.
To do this he has to keep track
of every card that is played.
Count is based on a high-low system,
High cards, ten, jack, queen, king
have a value of minus one.
If they are depleted
player's advantage goes down.
The low cards, two, three, four, five, six
have a value of plus one.
The seven, eight and nine
have no count value.
Player keeps track of every card
and calculates the running count.
Then the player arrives at the true count,
which is the running count
divided by the decks remaining.
For example,
if the running count is plus nine,
and there are
four and a half decks remaining
nine over four and a half
gives you a true count of plus two.
As true count increases,
the player's advantage increases.
The idea is to bet little
when you don't have the advantage.
More, when you do.
That's about enough for me.
Good playing with you.
How are you doing?
- Hi. How are you?
- Good.
- Uh, would you like large bills?
- Yes, please.
One, two, three, four,
five, six, seven and fifty.
- That's 750 dollars.
- Thank you.
- Have a great day.
- You too.
Good day.
Good day to you, sir.
I would like a single, one night.
I'll pay now. I have cash.
Fifty six dollars.
Check outs at noon.
Sign here.
Would you like some coffee?
How old is it?
I made it this morning.
I'm fine.
Room 101.
Thank you.
Mr. B. Long time no see.
- Not so long slippery Joe.
- They don't call me that no more.
- Oh yeah?
- What are they calling you?
- You have a suggestion?
- You're here for the Poker tournament?
Yeah. I like Grand Openings.
Re-openings, you know,
I don't know why they bother.
Theyre working things out.
Mistakes get made. It always happens.
They got a new high stakes Pai gow room.
- Yeah. House odds 11 percent.
- Yeah.
And a plenty of suckers.
I don't know. Those Asian gamblers
are pretty crafty.
No. You just seem to think
of 'em that way.
- What are you gonna play?
- I'm gonna play a little Blackjack.
You know,
there's some great guys down here.
- Downtown Barron.
- I've met enough people.
Oh, you got to meet them, man. So anyway,
All right. You know what?
Let's just go to Washa Casino.
It's 15 minutes away.
We can sit in on the poker game.
Ah Slippery.
Come on, Mr. B.
We're going, we're going, you know what?
It's been dead to me.
You can
Kansas city has been
a bless for me anyway, so ever since...
No way Kansas city.
Washa Casino.
Where they got a name like that?
It's indigenous.
But where's all the Indian shit?
They're down to the final table.
World fucking tournament.
Kiss my balls.
- What's your problems, Slip?
- I got no problem.
U-S-A. U-S-A.
This asshole. Mr. USA.
It's working for him.
And it's working for all it's worth.
He was born in the Ukraine.
He even got his own website.
He came all the way
out of there for this shit.
Where you on to next?
Uh, there's a Law Enforcement
Convention in Atlantic city.
GSC. Their cops row is good.
They get a few drinks in them and
they think nobody can touch them.
Shit, did I ever tell you
about my brother Bobby from Paskeville?
State children.
U-S-A! U-S-A!
They never saw a day of service.
I would like to run that
red, white, and blue flags
straight through his mouth
and out his asshole.
But you just told the story of his life.
U-S-A! U-S-A!
U-S-A! U-S-A!
May I join you?
Be our guest.
- I recognize you.
- We've played before.
Yeah, ma'am.
I'mma let you two just youngsters be.
I'm gonna go play some dice.
All right.
Three times.
No, four times.
Horse Shoe, Baltimore,
Caesars, Atlantic city,
Foxwoods, and Harrah's, Philly.
That's right.
You binked a Gutshot
straight at Foxwoods.
No explaining luck.
- Linda, right?
- La Linda.
L-L, like Lucky Lady.
Ah. Okay.
I've watched you play.
You count cards, right?
I'm not that smart.
But you win.
So you count cards.
How do you avoid getting backed off?
I've been backed off.
Yet here you are.
Yeah. Well, it's a matter of degree.
The house doesn't mind players
who count cards.
They don't even mind players
who count cards and win.
Oh, I'll have a Tom Collins
with tanqueray.
Soda water please.
What they don't like
are players who count cards and win big.
It's about how much you win
and how are you winning.
I stick to modest goals.
That's what I wanted to talk to you about.
What's your name again?
William Tell.
Look, I've watched you play poker
and I wonder why you play at
such low stakes? You're a crackerjack.
I keep to modest goals.
But there's no reason for that.
Do you need someone to stake you?
The MTT, makes seven million payoff.
That's what you do.
You... you run a stable.
I'm always looking
for a good thoroughbred.
I can get someone to back you.
100% on my word.
I prefer to work under the radar.
I thought you were a gambler.
- Thank you.
- You're welcome.
- Thanks.
- You're welcome.
So, Bill, you've ever been to prison?
Why would you say that?
I can tell when someone's been inside.
It's a gift I have.
Here's the problem with a backer.
He puts up the money,
you split the winnings, that's all good.
But if you lose, you have to pay those
losses out of future winnings, right?
That only makes sense.
And slowly you build weight.
You go to any poker website, look at
the top 10 winners, millions in earnings.
50% of them are underwater.
Swamped in debt they will never repay.
If you don't play for money,
why do you play at all?
It passes the time.
So, Bill
Why don't you pass some time with me?
Let's play poker.
In poker, the player
does not play against the house.
He plays against other players.
The house takes a cut.
Two things are necessary.
Knowledge of the mathematical odds,
knowledge of your opponents.
Poker's all about waiting.
Hours pass.
Days pass.
Hand after hand.
Each hand like the hand before.
Then something happens.
There is a weight a gambler can accrue
by accepting financial backing.
It's like any weight
a person in debt accrues.
It builds and builds,
has a life of its own.
There also is a moral weight
a man can accrue.
This is the weight
created by his past actions.
It is a weight which can never be removed.
To your attention please.
The Correctional Officers Association
has been moved
Nice playing with you.
Polygraphs have historically
been the problem child of
investigation and law enforcement.
This may soon change.
Vocat electronics has developed
a 22 point facial recognition software.
That uses a proprietary algorithm
to interact with CQT detection.
This software called STABLE
is in the beta testing phase.
Vocat will soon to be offering
a test version of this software
to qualified law enforcement
and public incarceration agencies.
Vocat makes no great claims, but thinks
this advance of potential truth detection
needs some field experience.
How reliable is it?
How does it work?
That's what I want to get into now.
I've prepared
this Power Point demonstration
with a volunteer
from the Milwaukee police.
Do you remember him?
Misclassifying innocent subjects,
false positives.
This is my number.
I'm staying in this hotel.
Cumulative research evidence
suggests that CQ detects deception better than chance
but with significant error rates.
The smartest bet for a novice
is red, black in roulette.
- Your odds are 47.4%.
- No more bets.
You win, you walk away.
You lose, you walk away.
It's the only smart casino bet.
Fourteen, red.
Where's my shoe?
Where's my shoe, guys?
- Hi.
- Johnny Walker, double, neat please.
You got it.
Yeah. You gave me a piece of paper
with your number on it earlier tonight.
You awake?
I'm here. I'm at the bar.
The one by the elevators.
I'll wait.
You want a drink?
Yeah. I'll have one of those.
Another. The same.
Let's sit.
So what was that all about?
You giving me a piece of paper
with your name and number on it.
You remember Major John Gordo?
Of course he's not a major anymore.
He just uses that title.
What are you talking about?
PFC William Tillich.
Isn't that your name?
I've done my research.
I know your case.
Thank you.
Who are you?
Cirk Baufort. Cirk with a C.
My father was Roger Baufort.
Gordo trained my father
in the arts of enhanced interrogation.
Roger Baufort,
that name doesn't ring a bell.
Gordo was at Abu Ghraib
as a private contractor.
My father, he visited him there.
Is this story going anywhere?
The beauty of this scheme was that Gordo,
once he became a private contractor
he couldn't be prosecuted for crimes,
not on American soil.
But my father,
he wasn't so lucky.
He was dishonorably discharged,
got addicted to Oxycodone,
had been injured.
He drank heavily.
He beat my mother. He beat me.
My mother left one day without saying
a word, without a suitcase, just
That left only me to beat
until he shot himself.
That was four years ago.
So I decided I'd just get into it.
Investigate it for myself.
Find out what really happened,
set things straight.
What does your mother say?
She made her choice.
You know where she is?
And how am I involved in this?
Well, there were a handful of soldiers,
they were bad apples who were punished.
But those who are really responsible,
are still walking around out there,
giving lectures at conventions.
Getting honorary degrees,
the apples weren't bad.
The barrel they came from was bad.
You know, when I recognized you
at John Gordo's seminar
I recognized you instantly.
I thought to myself,
here's a man who might want
a piece of what I'm going to do.
This is how it starts
just a fleeting thought.
A day dream.
Then it builds and builds.
What is that?
Capture him, torture him and kill him.
They made you the fall guy.
They fucked you, PFC Tillich.
- My name is Tell.
- Whatever.
You were in the photos.
No one else was prosecuted.
Just the soldiers in the photos.
They put you in hell,
then they blame you for it.
You got the barracks at Leavenworth
and Gordo got R&R in Kuwait.
Cirk, you need to back off.
I've spent a lot of time
thinking the exact same thoughts
you're thinking right now.
They eat you up.
You gonna tell on me?
I'm not.
It's your life.
Cirk with a C,
It's Bill Tell.
You want a ride with me?
I'm a card player.
I go from city to city,
casino to casino, card room to card room.
It gets lonely.
I'd like some company.
I'll cover the cost.
Who is it?
Tell, Bill.
Come on in.
You live like this?
Well, I was packing.
All right, let's get your shit together.
Get on the road.
Turn it off.
Oh, come on.
Turn that shit off.
Who are you, God?
If you'd ever actually been there
you'd never want to hear
that shit again in your life.
So where are we going?
You never told me.
You never asked.
There's a Racino at Delaware park.
Delaware casinos are tied into racetracks.
I'm not really into playing cards.
Do you like sports?
- Yeah.
- Well, they have a great sports book.
Yeah, but that costs money.
I mean, how much is it going to cost me?
Cause I can't really go around spending
my money like that on sports betting.
Who is this insolent little prick?
I did play Fantasy football
with the guys a while back, but
I suppose that counts.
What about college? What happened there?
Wasn't for me.
How much debt you got?
A lot.
And you wanna go back?
I got out of the mood.
Do you have any interests?
What do you mean?
Interests, like anything you wanna do,
an occupation or business.
I got interests.
Sports betting is a world unto itself.
There's a hundred games going on
around the world at any given moment.
That's a lot of information,
but the algorithms here, at the house
are faster, better and quicker than you,
so, unless you have inside information
sports betting is just for fun.
Here's a couple of hundred bucks.
You pick two teams,
play some bets, have some fun.
I'm going to go play some Blackjack,
and here is walking around money.
Just a second. Just a lot
of damn noisy out there.
Oh, it's a lot better.
Hey, La Linda, you there?
Uh, I'm at Delaware Raceway.
So I've been thinking
about what you were saying
and having some second thoughts.
I might be interested in, uh,
what you were talking about.
Yeah, I realize that
I just think that we could take
the conversation to the next step.
After this pack up to AC.
All right.
Is there an end to punishment?
Is there a limit to the amount
of effort it takes to merit expiation.
Is it possible to know
when one reaches the limit?
Here she is. Madame, join us.
La Linda, I'd like to introduce you to the
young man, formerly known as Cirk Baufort.
Now we just call him The Kid.
- Yup. That's Cirk With a C.
- Yeah.
Pleased to meet you, kid.
King of sports bet, the kid is,
yesterday he played two games,
hit 'em both on a double pop.
Give me some of your luck.
La Linda and I just have something
we wanna discuss, can you...
Yeah. I will give the slots a roll.
All right, bet small, lose small.
He's a good kid.
What was this thing
you wanted to talk about?
Um, well, I may wanna
build up a nest egg,
and to do that I need a backer.
Now, that's a dramatic turn.
You woke something in me.
I don't know, it's the kid. He needs help.
And money will do that?
He's got debts.
So where do we start?
Well, jump on one of these WSOP tours.
They got an event every week.
And you'll come up fast
if you're willing to travel.
I am.
We'll start on the East Coast
for now, tease 'em.
That's where the money is.
Do I have to meet the backer?
For some people it's an ego thing.
Others don't care.
I'll find something that suits you.
I build my nest egg, I bail.
When you're max, then I'm out.
I wish I could believe that.
I'm too old for this.
- Bye.
- Bye.
The other day, you asked me,
what was the greatest hand
of poker ever played.
And I can only speak
for what I have seen.
And this
is the best hand I've ever saw.
2012 Indian casino in Iowa.
Blackbird bend, Omaha nation,
10K tournament.
Goldie, Asian player, wore a lot of gold.
And Alex Cresco, WSOP champion.
You may have heard of him.
Alex has pocket queens,
clubs and diamonds.
Goldie has eight, nine of diamonds.
- How did you do that?
- Practice.
I was in a place where I had
a lot of time on my hands.
Now, the flop. Ten of spades,
Jack of diamonds, queen of hearts.
There's blood in the water.
Both players think they're ahead.
It goes: check, raise, re-raise,
re-re-raise, call.
Alex and Goldie, head to head.
Now, the turn.
Ten of diamonds.
Now, there is only one card
that gets Goldie out.
There's a two percent chance
the river will come the seven of diamonds
Alex has a 98 percent chance
of winning with Queens, full of tens.
Goldie looks at the damage.
He doesn't even have
a pot size bet left behind
makes this little sucking sound
like the Japanese do.
And he goes all in. Alex calls.
Now, the river.
Seven of diamonds.
Straight flush beats a full house.
Goldie wins.
You saw that game?
Haven't been to Iowa since...
Can you top us off please?
So, this, um...
This plan you have
About major John Gordo.
You giving it more thought?
He's on the heels.
You're not.
He's right at the fucking call of duty.
How are you gonna do that?
Well, there will need
to be a tranquilizer.
Ketamine combined with Telazol
can be administered by a dirt pistol.
Where did you find out about this?
The internet.
- And you have it?
- Just the Ketamine.
But it's amazing
how easy this stuff is to get.
I mean, I ordered it on a Lark,
three days later, it arrived.
This isn't very well-thought of.
And that's why I need a partner.
Somebody with experience.
Somebody with expertise and motive.
A strong guy, a guy like you.
Let's roll back
your scenario for a moment.
You've located John Gordo.
You've shot him with a dart. He's gaga.
What next?
Strip him naked. Put a hood over his head.
One of those green military sandbags.
You can find them on eBay.
Handcuff him,
hang him from the ceiling,
keep him from sleeping.
Make him try to jerk off
while I him in the legs.
Did your father tell you about this?
No. He never talked about it.
Kept it all inside.
He beat you.
That's in the past.
The body remembers.
It stores it all.
Do you wanna hear about it?
Would that interest you?
You know what, you're dying to hear.
The noise. The smell.
Feces, urine, oil,
explosives, bleach, sweat, smoke,
all day, every day.
Sand spiders, camel spiders,
ants as big as cockroaches,
the heat, the fear, the adrenaline Jack,
the mortars, the shooting noise of it
and blood.
And the only way to survive
was to rise above, rise and laugh.
Surf the craziness.
To see a grown man
shit and piss on himself
Sing the song, and the noise,
the fucking noise.
The noise
we were all just trapped in there.
At the same shit, shi-shi-shithole.
Them and us.
And am I trying to justify what we did?
Nothing can justify what we did.
Your father understood that.
If you were there you could understand.
Otherwise there is no understanding.
When was the last time?
Oxford Downs. That's right.
- You were with Clickity Dick.
I'd like to put a cap
on that motherfucker.
Take it smooth, Minnie,
and exercise those legs.
They call him Minnesota Fats
after the movie.
Now there's not a lot of fat people
that play professional poker.
I like to call him Charlie Two Chins.
Why is that?
Cause he got more chins
than a Chinese phone book.
- Thanks for the straight line.
- Minnesota Fats played pool in that movie.
- No, poker.
- No, that was Cincinnati kid.
Uh, whatever.
The preferred poker variant
for multi-table tournaments
is no-limit Texas hold'em.
It encourages large pots and large raises.
Prize money is split
between the top five players.
Before the whole cards are dealt
the player to the left with the button
must post small and big blinds.
This stimulates action
and the blinds go up every hour.
The rest of the cards are common cards.
The flop, three cards.
Eighteen hundred.
The turn.
And the river.
The river can instantly
turn a losing hand into a winner.
That's Hold'em betting appeal.
All in.
What happened? You got bored?
Played some slots.
You should read some books.
I'm gonna buy you one.
I've read books.
What is it with her?
Name one.
- One what?
- Book.
Called "Poker for Dummies."
I believe you may have read it.
I like him.
Wow. You made it
to the second dinner break.
I must've fired two dozen tournaments
before I lasted that long.
So how many are left?
Four tables, so, she'll be done tomorrow.
How much cards do you play?
Forty hands an hour,
eight to 12 hours a day,
six to seven days a week.
Do you do anything else?
Like what?
Like anything,
go to a park, a concert, a museum.
A museum?
Yeah, I'll buy you a book on it.
It's called "Museums for Dummies."
No, but seriously
you should do something else.
Just for variety.
I like playing cards.
That's 800,000 dollars.
Where do they get that money?
Geez Louise, slow down, kid.
You see the purple chips?
What do they say?
- Five thousand.
- Five thousand what?
Five thousand grains of rice?
That's not money.
Those are tournament chips.
We just call them dollars.
It's good publicity.
So how much is it?
Depends on the buy-in and the split.
A game like this,
there was about 500,000 in play.
The winner will get 150,000,
runner up anywhere 70,000 to 80,000.
And so on.
Do you know who he is?
Bill Tell or whatever his real name is,
you know who he is, right?
All I've ever heard was William Tell.
Why do you think he has another name?
You've been around him.
He's a mystery.
And I don't know if that's
a good thing or a bad thing.
Am I in any danger?
Of what?
Falling in love?
Don't be a child.
What is his past?
I haven't asked.
Well, what are you two doing together?
I don't have any goals.
I'm just along for the ride,
one day at a time.
What do you think he's holding?
I don't know,
but if you'd be quiet we'll find out.
All in.
- USA!
- That's it baby!
Fifty four thousand for a night's work.
Hope you're not disappointed.
It's all right.
Twenty seven for you.
Twenty seven for me.
Sign this.
Excuse me a second, I gotta hose it.
All right.
I'll have a Manhattan.
I'll have the same, please.
There you go.
Thank you.
What did you mean
when you said that the other day?
Said what?
I woke you. What does that mean?
I don't know.
It was just something I said.
Just a comment.
It's an odd thing to say.
So what's your story?
Everybody's got a story.
What's your story?
Play poker.
Let me guess,
it has something to do with a man.
Where was this?
East St. Louis.
Went outside his zone.
He tilted.
Which direction?
But he had some good friends who liked me.
And they were gamblers
and I drifted in that direction.
And they said
I have very good people skills.
Yeah. I found something I'm good at.
I like you.
I like this friendship we have.
Um, what are your plans?
I like... I like where it's headed.
I mean tonight.
I got to go back to my motel.
I got some work to do.
You are not staying here?
No, I don't like staying in the casinos.
They know everything about you,
the maids and the stuff.
Quarter cameras, noise, it's not for me.
See you down the road, La Linda.
Cleveland, right?
His real name was John Rogers.
John Gordo came sometime later.
He was born in Georgia.
He first came to the attention of the CIA
during the Contras counterinsurgency.
He was trained
in interrogation in Nicaragua.
From there, he entered the SERE program
Survival. Evasion. Resistance. Escape.
The program was devised to help
captured US soldiers
withstand hostile interrogations.
- Get up!
- Fuck off!
Get up! Get up!
They were put into stress conditions.
Sensory deprivation,
confinement in closed spaces.
Giving bombardment
with dangerous decibels of noise.
Starvation, sleep deprivation,
and sexual humiliation.
After the foreign fighters
at the Guantanamo detention camp
were unresponsive to interrogations
the decision was made to reverse engineer
the lessons learned in the SERE program.
SERE psych op instructors
were brought to Gitmo
to devise enhanced
interrogation techniques.
One of the first to arrive
was consultant John Gordo, now a civilian.
Lessons learned at Gitmo
were conveyed to interrogation
black sites around the world.
In 2003, a decision was made
to GITMO-ize the civilian prisons
at Bagram airfield and Abu Ghraib.
Civilian consultant
John Gordo arrived in May.
Did you go to college, Tillich?
Community college, two years.
They teach you creativity there?
No, sir.
Now, that's what it takes here.
Not everything's black and white.
You gotta use your imagination.
This isn't about following a manual.
It's about getting answers,
answers that will save American lives.
What if they don't know the answers?
They all say that. That's their culture.
Follow me,
Wake him up. Baufort, get in there.
Time to talk, little buddy.
I'll be right back.
Tillich, I like you.
I think you got what it takes.
You got the right stuff.
I'm gonna put you on night shift.
That's where all the good stuff happens.
Okay, let's fuck this Akhmet up.
wipe that shit off of 'em.
Your easy days are over, Akhmet.
Come on.
Get him up. Get him up.
Gordo was right.
I had it in me.
I had the right stuff.
The kid was right.
When those photos came out,
Gordo vanished.
The only ones prosecuted
were in the pictures,
not their superiors,
not their superiors superiors.
Gordo moved on,
started his own consulting company.
I heard he was working in Cairo.
In the military rank means everything.
In USDB it means nothing.
Whatchu doing man?
You got a problem?
- No. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
- You got a problem?
I'm sorry about that.
Do it. Do it.
Prisoner's name was Clay Williams.
I don't know if he's alive or dead.
If he were alive
wonder if I could hire him
to finish the job?
You know, this ain't such a bad life.
I think I could get used to this.
It's a thin margin.
Most cats can't cut it.
So how did you meet La Linda?
I like her.
She runs a stable.
That's what they call a group
of gamblers backed by investors.
Gamblers are the horses,
the investors put up the money,
split the winnings with the stable.
Why don't they just use their own money?
Other people's money.
Casino, the TV,
the websites, they all want big pots.
It's entertainment.
And where are we going, anyway?
I thought St. Louis is back that way.
We'll take a detour.
We'll take a little trip
down memory lane.
This was my home
for eight and a half years.
Since we were near,
I thought we'd drop by.
Up there. Second floor. 202 B Pod.
Got my own place after the first year.
Then, um, another place on the other side.
You know that fella I told you about.
The one I wanted you to meet.
He's here.
Thought I'd pay him a visit,
I've arranged it.
You wanna join?
And go to a military prison?
No, no, thanks.
It's pretty good,
as far as prisons go, you know,
built in 2002, things still work
like toilets.
Shit man, I mean, you walk in there
and there's doors closed behind you.
That's fucking it.
I'm going in. Come on.
Think of it as a field trip.
It's a teachable moment.
I'll wait in the car.
I'm inviting you.
I ain't going.
Just park the car.
Hey, you've ever been on Google Earth?
Where is that?
That's where I was when I
was waiting for you. It's amazing.
Look, you can enter any place
in the world. It comes right up.
Street view. Look at that.
290, Great Hills RD,
Rockville, Virginia.
The house, the surroundings,
latitude, longitude.
That's John Gordo's house.
Front entrance, back entrance.
You still got him on the brain.
Yes, sir.
I don't think that's such a great idea.
How'd it go at Leavenworth?
You're still pissed at me?
Hey, wasn't La Linda
supposed to meet us here?
Yeah, she'll be here tomorrow.
She's in St. Louise.
Into deep stacks in Biloxi,
Tunica, and on to Panama City.
You like her, huh?
Yeah. Me too.
You ever been married?
When I was in the service
I was a bit of a ladies man.
Thought I was,
that, uh,
then the other stuff happened.
A narrative was broken.
So how long has it been
since you got laid?
How long has it been
since you've seen your mother?
I wouldn't know where to find her.
It's bullshit.
What business is it of yours anyway?
You remember her?
Yeah? She reach out to you?
She try and contact you?
I'll make you a deal, kid.
You go see your mother
and I'll fucking get laid.
About earlier, I don't like prisons.
Even seeing them on the highway here,
looking at it, and you realize,
oh my God, that's a prison.
My dad used to send
my mom letters, she has a bag of them.
And she would cry.
There's something quite similar in poker.
You know, the phrase 'tilt'?
When a player gets caught up on winning,
he plays outside his zone.
Just like in pinball.
And there is something similar
in interrogations.
It's called forced drift.
It happens with the interrogator
who applies more and more force
to the prisoner with less results.
The interrogator becomes intoxicated
by frustration and power.
Any man can tilt.
I can tilt.
Your father can tilt.
You can tilt.
I said ride with me.
You did.
You came along.
What do you think
we're up to, you and me?
Here, I pre-registered
you with the buy-in.
Your name is getting
some recognition value.
- Well, that probably is a good thing.
How is the tourney up?
I guess normal. You know,
that guy that's always doing like this?
- Religious Ronnie?
- Yeah, he's here.
Lock on 38.
Okay. All right.
A great player can see
right into your soul.
You can wear earplugs,
a hoodie, a baseball cap.
Mirrored glasses, the ski mask,
but he'll see right into your soul.
Where's Cirk?
He must've crashed.
I'll call him. Wake him up.
No, that's all right. Don't bother.
I want a drink.
What can I get you y'all?
I'll have a tanqueray on the rocks.
I'll have a Jack, uh, double, neat.
You talked to him. Have you
noticed anything about him lately?
Like what?
Moody and
I don't know.
Well, I got an offer for a sponsorship
from Rock Poker, 10,000. For you.
Yeah? That's the one
with the pony logo on the titty, right?
Yeah, the rocking horse
with the word POKER.
Are you all right?
I'm fucking all right.
Fucking all right. Crying and shit.
What do I have to do for this sponsorship?
You just have to wear
their t-shirts during the tournaments.
I had to ask, it was an offer.
I wish the kid have been here.
- Uh, let me call up.
- No, it's all right.
Leave him alone.
You know, you made the cut?
This is your moment.
You know what, I think that you have
the wrong idea about me.
I want to win money.
I want to go to the World Series,
but then that's it.
This kid Cirk, he needs help.
He's got financial debts.
And I understand him.
If I can help him maybe he
has a chance to start over again,
resume his education and start a life.
And you would do all that?
Well, yeah.
You have to be the strangest
poker player I have ever met.
Oh, you have no idea.
What are you doing tomorrow? You're off.
I got no plans.
She said to me,
did you ever see a city
all lit up at night?
I said, yeah,
I've seen a whole city on fire.
Not like that, she said.
I didn't have it bad,
that's not what I meant to say.
Of course you know other people
have it better and you learn to be careful
around certain people, but I had friends.
And I have family, of course.
They had a party.
They lit it up like this, much bigger.
How would I know?
I was just a little kid.
Everything was bigger.
- This was St. Louis?
- Yeah.
You know, it doesn't matter to me
if you did something bad in the past.
You can tell me about it.
Yeah. I don't know.
What could be so bad?
I was just a kid.
- Everything was bigger.
- Just in your mind.
Why did you suggest this place?
Where were you?
Oh, a little Blackjack.
How'd that go?
I came out ahead.
How do you like it?
Like what?
This life we have. You and me.
Yeah, it's cool.
That's for sure.
- But.
- But what?
It's all the same, you know?
It's repetitive. It's
I don't know if it really
feels like it's going anywhere.
You know, you just go
round and round until you work things out.
How's that going for you?
Have you given it any more thought?
You going into the World Series of Poker?
Already registered.
That'll be cool.
Yeah that'll be it for me.
You're gonna quit with the circuit?
I've done my time.
Look, I don't know
if I am up for going to Vegas.
You're gonna bail?
It's late, but you got a second?
I want to show you something.
You have a moment?
I got a proposal. Come here, follow me.
Come on.
You live like this?
Sit down.
Need anything? Some water?
No, I'm fine.
How about
a sandbag to put over your head?
They sell them on eBay.
A civilian contractor John Gordo
first approached in Abu Ghraib
He said I needed to be more creative.
He said I had talent
but I lacked imagination.
Would you agree with that?
Bill, what the fuck is going on here?
Real life is going on.
World Series of Torture.
- I'm gonna...
- Stay seated!
You sure I can't get you any water?
You may wish you'd accepted later.
Do I have your attention now, Cirk?
Do I? Do I?
There is a little nerves
at the ends of your fingers and toes,
and the tip of your dick
starting to tingle with fear.
Let me enhance this a little bit.
I've been doing a little investigating
about you, Cirk, with a C.
About your father.
I didn't meet him at Abu Ghraib,
I lied about that.
Your mother.
Your time in college.
Your scrapes with law.
It's all on the internet, of course.
I'm gonna make you a proposal.
Sit up.
You have approximately 20 thousand
dollars in college loan debts.
Twenty thousand.
To go back to college, tuition,
expenses, condoms and so forth.
It adds up.
So let's say another
Eighty thousand.
On top of that, you've got
five thousand dollars in credit card debt.
Your mama, bless her,
she's got her problems, she's
about 35 grand underwater,
the mortgage and all.
So let's say forty grand.
And for the heck of it let's throw
another 10 grand, pocket money.
That's a 150 grand.
Cash. Tax free.
All that's yours on one condition.
And what is that?
Go see your mother.
She lives in Fall River, Oregon.
I have the address.
I spoke to her, I didn't tell her
who I was of course.
Go visit her.
Forgive her.
Make things right with her.
Clear up her debt.
Tell her about your college plans,
and put her on the phone with me.
I wanna hear her say these things.
I wanna hear her voice.
Are you serious?
And if I don't?
This is not a proposal
you can afford to reject.
And if you cheat me, I'll find you.
You don't want that to happen.
I don't like celebrity gambling.
I like anonymous gambling.
I did this for you.
You hear what I'm saying?
Do we have a deal?
Yeah, we have a deal.
Thank you.
Okay, let's give her a call.
She'd still be up right now.
Who is it?
It's William.
Whats up?
Thought we were meeting in the pit.
- You cool?
- Yeah.
- You know, final table tomorrow.
- Yeah, I know. 2:30 right?
And where's your sidekick?
Oh yeah. He had to go home.
His mom's not feeling well.
- He has a mom?
- Yeah. Believe it or not.
So what's on your mind?
I made a promise to Cirk before I left.
You know, he talks about you,
he fancies you.
Maybe he fancies himself a matchmaker.
I promised him
that I'd act on these feelings I have.
These feelings towards you.
- Well?
- I think you may have them too.
- Yeah, I do.
- Yes, you do.
The feeling of being forgiven by another
and forgiving oneself are so much alike.
There's no point
in trying to keep them distinct.
How much time we got?
Come look at this.
My God, Cirk, is that you?
- Yeah, mom, it's me.
- Where are you?
I'm in Panama City.
What's happening?
It's been so long.
Mom. I've been thinking and
I haven't been fair to you.
I want to come and see you.
Are you... are you all right?
So it goes on like that for a while,
got a little maudlin.
She lives outside of Portland.
He'll be there in a day or two.
He'll call me from there.
How'd you get him to do that?
He wanted to.
Just needed an excuse.
I may go visit them.
I've never played the North-West.
And welcome to the final table.
Would you keep tabs on this?
I'm expecting a call.
Well done.
All right, players.
That's the end of the level.
Your phone was buzzing.
It's from Cirk, "Wish you were here."
We got at about ten minutes.
Good game, man.
I need a minute.
What's going on?
Thanks for joining me here in Rockville,
Virginia, Ryan Troy, with 11Alive news.
We are currently on the scene
of major John Gordo's home.
Now, what we do know is that
there has been a unidentified suspect
that was armed with a pellet pistol.
The suspect fired and missed.
Major Gordo returned
fire killing the suspect.
Earlier today, I spoke with Major Gordo.
You purchase security thinking
something like this might happen
but you don't think it ever will.
In other news a fire in the warehouse
district of suspicious origin,
four fire companies responded,
there were no reported injuries
and the fire was brought under control
after roughly 90 minutes.
Fire investigators are on the scene
It's turned off.
Come sit down, John.
Don't be stupid.
You remember me?
Should I?
Tier 1A, Abu Ghraib.
Bill Tillich?
You look pretty good.
All things considered.
- How long were you in Leavenworth?
- Eight and a half years.
Thats a bitch.
That boy that you shot,
he wanted to kill you.
I assumed that.
You trained his father.
His name was Roger Baufort.
Just like you trained me.
What happened to him?
He shot himself.
So I'm to blame?
That's a pussified defense,
PFC Tillich and you know it.
We are each responsible
for our own actions.
I believe that.
We are going to go into the next room.
You and I.
And we are going to have
a traumatic re-enactment.
Only one of us would come out alive.
I'm gonna make things right.
Either that, John Rogers
or I'm going to blast a bullet
straight through your eyeball.
- Lead the way.
- After you.
I got some cigarettes, you want one?
Neither do I.
Who goes first?
Emergency services.
I would like to report a homicide.
290, Great Falls RD.
I never imagined myself as someone
suited to a life of incarceration.
Inmate Tillich, you got a visitor.