Star‘s Dylan Howard is reporting that Brad Ruderman, a junior-league Bernie Madoff now doing time for bilking investors out of $25 million with a ponzi scheme, lost $311,300 to Tobey Maguire in a 2007 high-stakes poker game, including one losing hand of $110,000.
And now Maguire is being sued by lawyers for clients whose funds were embezzled by Ruderman “in the hope of recouping some of their lost savings,” the story says. Others being sued over this same issue include The Notebook director Nick Cassavetes and Welcome Back, Kotter star Gabe Kaplan.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon have also played in these once-active Texas Hold ’em matches, which had a buy-in of $100,000. This particular game reportedly stopped happening in ’09. DiCaprio, Affleck and Damon are not being sued, Howard reports.
The amusing part of the story is the assertion that private high-roller poker games are “illegal.” Bullshit and beside the point. If a bunch of rich guys want to to get together for a poker game and lose or win money, it’s nobody’s damn business. As Burl Ives‘ Rufus Hennessy says in The Big Country, “They’re full-growed and can take their lickings.” It’s their money and the government has nothing to say about it. Poker games are about balls and honor and character and nerve. If you’re a man and you put up money (ill-gotten or not) and you lose it, tough shit all around.
“Maguire won as much as $1 million a month over a period of three years,” one source told Howard, meaning the Spider-Man star “could have made up to $30 to $40 million from these games.”
Howard passes along an observation from a participant in the games that Damon “never won” and that DiCaprio “is a tight-ass…when he lost $50,000 the look in his eyes was obvious [that] he was crazy.”
One of the reasons I’m a bad poker player is that I can’t tolerate the idea of losing a lot of money. I’ve worked and slaved so hard for it and some guy with a better hand is going to just take it from me? Yes, jerkwad — he can do that because those are the rules. But when I lose a big hand I quietly freak out and burn through so much internal anger that I can’t think straight. I’m not the only one, and some are worse than me. I’ve heard of guys who’ve ripped their cards into shreds when they lose. I’ve heard of guys who get up from the table when they lose and go into the kitchen and punch the refrigerator so hard that they leave a dent.