Less than 10 years ago, the online poker boom created a nationwide rush of young poker pros, and Austin's Jay Rosenkrantz was one of them. He worked to document the subculture as a producer of his first feature film "Bet Raise Fold."
"I've always had two passions in my life. One was poker because I saw 'Rounders,' the other was movies because I saw 'Rounders' and 'Star Wars,'" Rosenkrantz said.
Rosenkrantz played poker professionally until the U.S. Department of Justice and FBI shut down online poker sites, instantly seizing a war chest of winnings.
"I remember exactly where I was. A lot of people in the poker world compare this to the moment, fairly or unfairly, where were you when JFK was shot, where were you on Black Friday," Rosenkrantz said.
His first reaction was to capture the fallout on film, interviewing some of the players hit hardest in the process. The result is the first feature-length documentary about online poker and a movie flushed with legal and political intrigue.
"The way that online poker was shutdown by the Department of Justice and the way that the online poker industry operated in the legal gray area that it existed in and the political maneuvering that happened in Congress, I think that element of the story is something that a lot of people can respond to," Rosenkrantz said.
"Bet Raise Fold" will screen for the first time in Austin on Sept. 23 at the the Alamo Drafthouse Village. The film is also available on demand at BetRasieFoldmovie.com.