Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Con-Man Casting Call!

At a party with my ex-cheating buddies (now all retired) not too long ago, we got into a conversation about which celebrities would make the best casino cheaters. Our arguments were based on their roles, whether it be in movies, sports or just the aura they give off and the incidents they're involved with in real life. All of the NFL troublemakers getting busted for drunken driving and strip-bar rousing were disqualified from consideration.

Here's what we came up with:

James Woods: the top prospect. You just sense he’s got the balls along with his healthy mix of charm and intimidation. He was great in the movie "Casino" and even had a small role in the cult gambling classic "The Gambler." No, not the one with Kenny Rogers, the one with James Caan!

Speaking of which, James Caan: No doubt Axel Freed always in the hole again would take to the underhanded ruses of casino cheating, despite his role of surveillance director Big Ed in "Vegas."

Daytona 500 winner Jeff Gordon: one of my buddies cited his adept confrontation of danger. He'd love the race for the cash!

Hank Azaria: picked for his “underrated” wide-range and quick wit.

Former MTV funnyman Tom Green because sometimes you need a little bit of craziness to get the job done.

How about the females?

Lindsay Lohan....forget it! She'd never make it to the casino! Neither would Britney Spears for that matter.

The top female prospects included Mary McCormack, Sarah Silverman, Ricki Lake and Angie Dickenson, all for their various beauty and talents, although Angie might be a bit aged, but can you imagine her once luscious "policewoman's" legs diverting pit bosses' attention as she strolled across the casino? Someone mentioned Jodie Foster
for her role in Taxi Driver, though Robert Dinero was deemed too mafioso to be a smooth casino cheater.

None of us had confidence in Ben Affleck’s ability to play that part, nor were they impressed with Dennis Rodman or any other NBA players, not even Tony Parker, whose cute and innocent face would surely fool casino bosses, but his wife did get mention.

And as for my own opinion about the best possible woman cheater? Sharon Stone without a doubt! Her feline charm from "Basic Instinct" would hot and bother any male casino employee into paying her bet! Imagine her teaming up to scam the casinos with James Woods!

Here's some more of what was said:

James Woods – He comes across as a smart guy not just in his acting but in interviews. I heard about one where he recognized casinos don’t even really give you a chance to win. I imagine he might like to play some slick little games against the house.

Jeff Gordon – Most of the best cheaters I’ve worked with love fast cars. Cheaters are thrill seekers but like to be in control. I imagine NASCAR drivers are similar in this respect, and have discipline, skill and guts

Hank Azaria – Love his voices on the Simpsons and in The Birdcage. Versatility is big in cheating casinos where you might need to play the high-roller one night and the bust-out the next.

Tom Green -- a bit out there and could definitely get on my nerves but it is business and he would probably go to extreme lengths to get the job done.

Mary McCormack -- played Howard Stern’s loving wife in his movie. Most of her other roles aren’t standout performances but that’s what you want in a good actress. Get the job done without undue attention. Not just a good but a great actress.

Sarah Silverman – funny as hell, with off the wall material. Not too bad on the eyes either, a distraction that that can come in handy.

Ricki Lake – It’s not her captivating looks or particularly anything about her personality, but several of my cheating buddies see a certain something that makes her engaging. It seems people just want to like her, a great asset in any con.

Angie Dickenson – sort of a catch all for all of the HOT women. If they turn a head they are useful. In her day, Angie turned lots of heads. And, unlike some of the other pretty faces she seems wise to the ways of the world and could keep her mouth shut in a pinch.

Ben Affleck seemed to pull off some good roles both on the screen and at the poker table but none of us were really interested in taking a chance of any jail time based on his ability at acting under duress.

Dennis Rodman & Dave Navarro – Nobody’s ever going to forget seeing these two coming or going. Being too unique looking is a no-no in the cheating game.


My former partner Balls and I would be willing to take a risk on FRIENDS' David Schwimmer. Nobody else seems interested in him as a cheating partner. I’d also give Matthew Perry a try.

I recall hearing how Martin Sheen wouldn’t let a heart attack stop him form filming APOCALYPSE NOW. Any cheating team could use that sort of dedication.

You might think Penn Jillette would be great because he’s a magician, but it is less about sleight of hand as it is about attitude. I still think his performer's sensibility would be a great asset but the magic tricks do very little to add to his viability. Didn't he write a book about cheating his friends at poker??

Kathy Griffin is kind of a loudmouth. She’s got a quick wit but being able to keep your mouth shut is too important in this business.

While he’s not a great actor, of the entire bunch it seems that Norm MacDonald might have the most experience as a real gambler. Real gambling doesn’t have a lot to do with cheating except that having lost to casinos helps motivate. Norm would be worth a closer look.

And last but not least, don't forget about "Ruthie," the one time real female casino cheater portrayed in my book "American Roulette," who gave it all up for the fake life of a Hollywood movie star. I never met her, but my mentor Joe Classon told me she was the best!!