Joe Stapleton, the man who helped bring poker realism to a new ‘card counter’ film, has been named as one of the 10 most influential people in gaming.

Joe Stapleton is a professional poker player who has been in the game for over 20 years. He has helped bring poker realism to movies such as The Card Counter which was released on October 12th, 2018. Read more in detail here: the card counter.

The majority of poker players have experienced this experience. In a poker-related film or television program, the action isn’t exactly how it would be in the real world.

Joe Stapleton understands how you feel. The veteran poker player, pundit, and comic believes that his involvement as a poker consultant on the upcoming film The Card Counter contributed to the story’s authenticity. Hopefully, the movie will not make poker players squirm.

“Obviously, there aren’t many poker movies out there,” he adds, “but we’ve all seen movies with poker in them and seen stuff that make us go, ‘Aw come on!’” “I was delighted to do so, both personally and as a service to the poker community — as a poker fan.”

To put it another way, don’t expect the protagonist to throw his Rolex into the mix. Paul Schrader’s film, which he wrote and directed, was released in cinemas on Friday. Not only did Schrader want to create a wonderful picture, but he also wanted to make the card game seem real. That’s when Stapleton entered the picture. 

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As part of the film’s setting, poker is played.

The Card Counter recounts the tale of William Tell (Oscar Isaac), who works as a blackjack card counter and also plays poker in mid-American casinos.

After spending time in a military jail for crimes committed in Iraq, Tell, a former special operations officer, has a profound and lasting sense of remorse. While playing poker, he finds a surrogate family.

Tell helps a younger guy cope with the suicide of his father, who was also a soldier in Iraq, along the road. Tell continues to numb the agony with casinos, poker, and blackjack, feeling guilty and believing he should be punished more severely. In the end, the film depicts a guy seeking redemption.

After working with Schrader on Taxi Driver, Martin Scorsese acted as an executive. The Card Counter has garnered positive reviews so far, with an 86 percent critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Stapleton, on the other hand, had a different group of critics to appease: poker players. The World Series of Poker Circuit plays an important part, and Stapleton hoped that no humiliating poker moments would make it to the big screen.

Keeping an eye on the poker game that is being broadcast on camera

Stapleton had no intention of becoming a poker film consultant, but everything simply seemed to fall into place. Lauren Mann, a movie producer friend of Stapleton’s, saw Schrader’s screenplay and felt it could be of interest to him. The screenplay had a lot of poker sequences in it, so Mann submitted it to him for feedback.

“I read it and wrote a lot of pages of notes for her as a favor,” he adds. “As my buddy, I can’t allow you create a poker movie with this many kinds of poker hazards in it,” I said. Paul said, “We’ve got to employ this man,” when she emailed the notes to him.

Stapleton then served as the film’s poker consultant, assisting in the resolution of discrepancies between the Hollywood depiction of poker and the actual game.

“Both Paul and the producers wanted to make the movie as genuine as possible from the start,” he adds. “Obviously, not every proposal I offered was accepted, but almost all of them were. They were simply very excited to make something that poker players could at the very least watch and not just point out where the poker went wrong, but also be able to concentrate on the remainder of the movie.”

What was one of the most serious issues that Stapleton had to iron out with the crew? The most serious issues were the game’s jargon and language.

“As you can see from the final product, there’s a lot of talking about poker and a lot of dialogue,” Stapleton explains, “so I had to make recommendations simply around things like authenticity and the way individuals speak.”

The road to redemption is a lengthy one. A film by Paul Schrader is presented by Martin Scorsese. Only on September 10th, #TheCardCounter will be released in cinemas. pic.twitter.com/lpSSUHo2VD

July 27, 2021 — The Card Counter (@CardCounterFilm)

More than just poker chatter

Stapleton’s main focus wasn’t correcting errors in poker terminology. His contribution was not limited to the game’s mechanics.

He explains, “It wasn’t only the writing where they sought authenticity.” “They wanted it to appear genuine, too, so I proposed places, different clothing, (and so on)… to make it look as authentic as possible.”

To feature in the film, Stapleton utilized his contacts at Poker Night in America and D+B Publishing. He believed that his presence would provide The Card Counter with a genuine connection to the contemporary poker scene.

This includes the use of WSOP logos. Stapleton liked his consulting debut overall, but struggled to balance offering recommendations without treading on toes.

He adds, “It was a lot of fun.” “It was very stressful, to say the least. I honestly didn’t realize how highly Paul is regarded as a director until much later.

“It was a little difficult because Paul was trying to tell a narrative, Oscar Isaac and Tiffany Haddish were trying to act, and you had me saying, ‘Hey guys, you keep saying gutshot but it’s actually a flush,’” she said. This kind of stuff. It was both entertaining and frightening.”

Bringing attention to poker’s lowest echelons

Joe-Stapleton-Helped-Bring-Poker-Realism-to-New-%E2%80%98Card-CounterMany poker-related films focus on the game’s top echelons and glitterati. Mike McDermott’s quest to make it big in the World Series of Poker is the subject of Rounders. 

Molly’s Game featured Hollywood celebrities and elites competing for large sums of money. Even in Casino Royale, James Bond and his adversary compete in a Texas Hold’em poker game for millions of dollars.

The Card Counter, on the other hand, takes a different approach, providing a peek inside some of the game’s lower-level grinders. William Tell battles it out on the WSOP Circuit at inexpensive hotels.

“I believe Paul intended for the entire thing to be leading up to Las Vegas and the World Series,” Stapleton adds. “Paul like to keep a low profile (when shooting), so participating in the little everyday tournaments that we see (William Tell) show up in throughout the film was certainly Paul’s idea. But having him remain there was something we all kind of directed based on the character’s believability and what we could visually carry off.”

From a logistical and budgetary perspective, recreating the WSOP stage in Las Vegas was not feasible. The dazzling lights of Vegas didn’t seem to blend in with the rest of the tale. 

Refining the film also means avoiding overuse of precise poker terminology. Tell isn’t a seasoned internet marketer in his twenties. Stapelton attempted to strike a balance so that the character’s speech didn’t come off as too extreme poker.

“Just because this person is a terrific poker player,” he adds, “doesn’t mean he understands all of the terms that young kids who are the greatest poker players in the world use.” “The crowd he hangs around with is the kind that gets things a little bit incorrect in their reasoning or their usage of poker terminology.”

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It’s not a poker movie, but it’s a nice one.

Poker-related films seldom concentrate exclusively on the game. Poker may be utilized as a narrative technique, as well as a metaphor for larger life meanings.

Stapleton was concerned that there would not be enough poker for fans, despite the fact that there is a lot of grinding to be done. Poker is a simple game in which the player either wins or loses, according to Stapleton.

He hopes that spectators will enjoy a good story incorporating the game, but with larger issues, as well as a fantastic film.

“What I hope poker enthusiasts take away from it is similar to what I took away from it – I ultimately stopped caring about the poker and became more concerned with this guy and what was going to happen,” he adds. “I’m hoping the poker will bring in poker enthusiasts, and then they’ll realize they’ve just seen another Paul Schrader masterpiece.”

Click here to read USPoker’s interview with The Card Counter writer and director Paul Schrader.

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