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From the felt to film: Poker documentary screens in Tulsa

‘All In' takes viewers on a trip through the history of poker
BY SEAN CHAFFIN, For The Oklahoman Published: April 25, 2012

“I just always liked poker,” he says. “My experience was always playing with my grandparents a lot growing up. That's where my appreciation for the game came from.

“We always felt we had to do two things and that was taking the amount of time we did to tell the story, to travel to all the places we did — I think we shot in 11 or 12 states. It wasn't like we just went to Vegas for a weekend and Atlantic City for a weekend, and threw something together. We were in Ohio and Illinois, Nevada, California, Mississippi.

“One of the things that we were trying to say is that it is one of those sports that anybody can play. You can go and play with the top 25 poker players in the world and you can't do that in any other sport. I don't think you get from just talking to 20 people in town for the World Series or Poker.”

The idea about the game's unique history and its place in pop culture began to take shape. And poker's recent history might be some of the most interesting in “All In.” Tirola waited until the last possible day to include as much as possible about recent events including Black Friday — April 15, 2011 — the day the feds cracked down on online poker. Online poker as an issue and political battleground becomes a major focus.

A must-see for poker fans for sure, “All In” also offers plenty for theatergoers who don't know a royal flush from busted straight.

For more information visit For information on the Tulsa screenings visit

Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer based in Rockwall, Texas, and editor of, devoted to poker history, lore, lifestyle, and people. For more information on his work, visit Do you have an interesting poker tale? Email Also, look for his forthcoming e-book about poker history, lore, and crazy gambling tales at