As fantasy as the stories told by Hollywood movies are, in the mecca of cinema there are times when reality surpasses fiction. Even though there are already fictions inspired by that reality. This has been known these days thanks to the revelations of the book The Billion Dollar Hollywood Heist (which could be translated as Billionaire holdup from Hollywood), which has all the ingredients to mount an action film in which there are no shortage of protagonists for a good story, such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck or the brain of the matter, Tobey Maguire.
The volume is written by former television producer Houston Curtis, who for years was a contributor to Maguire. Together they set up a huge poker timba in Hollywood — first at the actor’s home. The rules of the Cider House; later in the suite room of a luxurious hotel— where, every Tuesday, millions of dollars were put on the table. Curtis had won a world poker championship in 2004, although Maguire was unaware of his expertise and invited him to a few games; He was careful not to fleece others and not draw too much attention. The following year they would start their business.
The story probably sounds like more than one. Secret timbas, millions on the table, luxury hotels, power and money … Indeed, the book and later the 2017 film were based on it Molly’s game. Molly was Molly Bloom (later played by Jessica Chastain), who started out as a mere observer and ended up managing the reins of the matter. But that, says Curtis, was only in his version.
Because that open secret was a thing of Maguire and Curtis. DiCaprio, Damon, Affleck, directors Nick Cassavetes (Noa’s diary) and Todd Phillips (Hangover in Las Vegas, Joker) or Guy Laliberté, founder of the Circo del Sol, were the ones who were present in all of this arrangement between 2005 and 2009. They were some of the famous names, because most of them were millionaires little known to the general public, but to whom Like any mortal, they liked to rub shoulders with Hollywood stars, who served as bait and to tell anecdotes. According to Curtis, producer Rick Salomon – who had gained a reputation for starring in a sex tape with Paris Hilton – asked Ben Affleck several questions in the middle of the game about the characteristics of his then-recent ex-fiancé, Jennifer Lopez.
The figures that were handled were extraordinary. “Winning $ 20,000 was like losing,” says Curtis in a preview of the book published by the newspaper. The New York Post.
Also involved in the business was Maguire’s first girlfriend – since 2003 – and then the wife – between 2007 and 2017 -, jewelry designer Jennifer Meyer, daughter of NBC CEO and NBC vice president Ron Meyer. According to Curtis, “I wanted her to feel included.” Players used to tip him high.
But there was a time when the actor from Spiderman He felt uneasy about having the players at home. Although he gave them clogs and forced them to take off their shoes when they entered, it bothered them that they spit, that they ordered pizza from pepperoni at home, he being vegan. So he decided to change the stage for the Viper Room, the Los Angeles venue sadly famous for being the one where River Phoenix died, and later for a suite room from the Four Seasons hotel.
It was in the Viper Room that the famous Molly came into play, as the club owner introduced her to Maguire and Curtis to serve drinks and lend a hand. In the end, he went on to earn $ 30,000 in tips in one night.
Little by little, the existence of the game began to run through Hollywood and rich people “who didn’t even know how to shuffle the cards” would join it, remembers Curtis. It was also there when DiCaprio, Maguire’s intimate since childhood, entered the game, always according to the version of the film producer, with whom Maguire shared part of the profits and who covered the losses, in case of having them, which happened with infrequent: DiCaprio always won.
Who was not so lucky was Matt Damon, who one night lost to Curtis, as he remembers, more than $ 50,000. He had no money “and Affleck wrote the check for him.” It also brought down the creator of Circo del Sol: “The first time I won a quarter of a million dollars was the first night of Guy [Laliberté] in the game”. He did not take it badly, since he invited all the timba companions to fly with him in his jet to Hawaii.
Curtis also became rich thanks to the game: he calculates that he won up to 15 million dollars, buying a mansion for himself and his family, for his mother, his brother … But luck is not eternal. It all ended in 2009, when the timba began to be investigated by lawyers, who especially monitored Molly Bloom. The blood did not reach the river because they had not broken any law.
However, Curtis’ mansion dropped by almost 70% in value, lost $ 100,000 in Las Vegas, and soon after a million in a single night. His wife left with her daughters. He had to go live with his mother, who was forced to sell that big house and suffered a heart problem that almost cost her life. A television executive helped him with $ 15,000 to get ahead; Tobey Maguire loaned him $ 600,000. They were not enough. He lost everything, but his health recovered and he is writing another book. According to Curtis, the actor (who made about $ 36 million thanks to Spiderman), he would have won between 30 and 40 million thanks to that long and lucky poker hand.