Daniel Tzvetkoff found wandering around New York
Apparently Leonardo DiCaprio is busy working on a movie about online gambling starring Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck and titled Runner, Runner.
If Leo’s struggling for ideas I’ve got a great plot line for him full of all the twists, turns, intrigue, drama and suspense that Hollywood loves to dish out…
Chapter 1, setting the scene…
Young IT whiz kid (played by Timberlake…JT) enjoys a meteoric rise from obscurity to multimillionaire. He buys mansions for tens of millions of dollars, fills their garages with exotic cars and lives life in the very fast lane and becomes a regular in the social pages. Hailed as the Bill Gates of online payment processing clients of his company, Intabill, include giants of the net poker industry like Full Tilt and Poker Stars. Money and champagne flow and the good times are extremely good.
Chapter 2, Icarus moment…
We knew this would come (we’re only 20 minutes into the movie and bad stuff has to happen right?). JT tries to fly too high and comes crashing down to earth with a thud when all of a sudden Intabill goes bust owing a over $100 of million to Poker Stars et al.
Chapter 3, Phoenix rising…almost…
Poker Stars, boss (played by Ben Affleck…BA) threatens JT with a lawsuit as well as the possibility of a little bit of ‘old school, leave the police out of this’ justice but JT pays him no heed. Despite his setback he’s brash and still confident he can conquer the world. Lawsuits are piling up (including one from his former Intabill co-founder) amid the train wreck of corporate carnage left in his wake but undeterred, JT starts another payment processing venture and gets set to fly again.
Chapter 4, Ignoring the warnings…
JT attends a gaming conference in Las Vegas, flaunting his new operation and showing no remorse to those burnt by his past sins. BA is still fuming about the $50 million hole left in his company’s accounts by JT, and is even less happy to learn that instead of trying to pay back the money, he is marketing his new venture at the conference. Somewhere here is a very intense confrontation between BA and JT, with lines like ‘you’re going down you little ass-hole‘ , ‘You though you could steal from ME?’
Chapter 5, Enter the Feds…
BA tips off the FBI that JT is in town and tells them that he was responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars worth of illegal bank transactions and money laundering activity. An over eager FBI agent (played by DiCaprio…LD) arrests JT and threatens to put him behind bars for a long, long time unless he turns state’s evidence and helps to bring down the real big fish in the game…BA.
Chapter 6, Supergrass…
Staring down the barrel of a potential 40 years in prison, JT starts talking faster than Ace Ventura on amphetamines and before long the FBI know just about everything there is to know about the online poker payment trail. LD is excited about the prospect of bringing US online poker to its knees and is now eyeing a move into politics when this case wraps up.
Chapter 7, Black Friday…
In a highly coordinated FBI sting, BA is arrested along with executives at rival operations Full Tilt and Absolute Poker. Domains are seized, bank accounts are frozen. We cut here to an online poker player sitting at home (in his pyjamas) about to collect a $1,500 Texas Holdem pot at Full Tilt when all of sudden the table and chips disappear and in their place is a message from the Department of Justice…“This domain has been seized by the F.B.I pursuant to an arrest warrant obtained by the United States Attorney’s Office”.
Chapter 8, Guilty!
In the face of mountains of evidence (provided by JT) BA is convicted of bank fraud and various other offences. Executives from Full Tilt and Absolute Poker suffer similar fates. JT has single handedly brought online poker in the US to its knees and he is (online poker playing) public enemy number 1.
As the movie nears its end we wonder what became of JT ? In prison somewhere? Witness protection perhaps living in some new estate under a false identity?
There’s a reporter from JT‘s home town of Brisbane (played by Russell Crowe…RC) who broke the original story of Intabill’s demise and who has been relentlessly investigating his movements ever since. RC follows a lead to New York where (final scene) he confronts a man resembling JT wandering with his family through China Town.
“Hey JT”, shouts RC.
JT replies, “No that’s not me.”
“I know it’s you,” continues RC.
JT , now anxious and forceful, ”Look, you’re going to get in a lot of trouble. There are people with us who you’re going to be in trouble with.”
With that he jumps in a cab which disappears into the traffic.
In case you hadn’t picked it, this is (with minor creative license taken) the story of Daniel Tzvetkoff who did play a significant part in US Poker’s Black Friday. He has just this week re-surfaced in New York according to reports in the Brisbane Courier Mail.
What do you reckon Leo?