An online poker-themed comedy based around a group of internet phenoms is set to air this month. “Luckboxes” is the brainchild of BET RAISE FOLD director, Ryan Firpo, who writes, directs, and edits.
And by the look of the initial clips, it’s set to be pretty close to the bone for anyone who’s ever played poker online. Indeed, the series is billed as a “loose adaptation” of his original documentary.
The key characters are a pair of brothers, Sean and Ariel (alias: “Blueberry3.14”), trying to turn their fortunes around during the recession by hitting the online poker tables.
Intelligently, the writer/director has set his new series in 2009, two years before Black Friday, although let’s hope there is a season closer to where the DOJ strikes and the main characters are left rushing to withdraw their bankrolls.
The meager clips on the Luckboxes homepage are limited at best. And the discerning keyboard warriors of the internet forums will be hoping the final product is better than the clips.
One clip shows leads Sean and Ariel fighting over the family laptop during the latter’s Skype job interview before a stripped-down Sean ruins any hopes of Ariel bagging the job by parading in front of the screen in his underwear.
Later, the pair meet “Team Durp”, a stable of nosebleed pros who’ve hit the big time and are living in luxury. Staked by Zoe (“durp”, the “most feared player on the internet”), the players are joined by Ariel and Sean for a weekly $300 tournament.
Socially inept and surrounded by empty soda cups, Team Zurp are the perfect parody of the kind of grinders who hit the big games online pre-poker Armageddon.
Zoe is the central character, an intelligent college graduate who eschewed a hedge fund career for a life “stocking donks”. She takes a massive 90-percent cut of the players’ action (a surefire dig at real-life backers) but lives the life of luxury.
Firpo is obviously hooked into a world he witnessed first-hand when making BET RAISE FOLD: The Story of Online Poker. The documentary followed characters like Danielle “DMoonGirl” Moon-Andersen, WPT co-host Tony Dunst, and online gamer Martin “AlexeiMartov” Bradstreet as he tried to understand the factors that made the online poker boom so successful.
Daniel Negreanu, Adam Pliska, Tom Dwan and Phil Galfond all appear in the documentary.
Firpo spoke exclusively to PokerSites.com, saying:
“I completed BET RAISE FOLD in the summer of 2013, and I had a draft for the LUCKBOXES pilot by November of that year. It was very, very different than the draft we shot earlier this year, but that was the point LUCKBOXES became a ‘thing’.
“My friend and producing partner on BET RAISE FOLD, Jay Rosenkrantz, and I considered making it independently as a mini-series, then selling it direct to our audience like we did with BET RAISE FOLD. But when we ran the numbers, we realized is simply wasn’t financially viable. So I set it aside for a while, and focused on other projects, then late last year a new opportunity opened up and I finally got the chance to shoot the pilot.”
Without doubt, it’s the intelligent former StarCraft player and super-grinder Bradstreet who forms the basis of many of the characters in Luckboxes. Bradstreet made and lost a fortune on Full Tilt and PokerStars between 2007 and 2011. He was also known for his six-figure cash game pots against the likes of late-2000’s online legends like Jens Kyllonen and Ilari “Ziigmund” Sahamies.
Elsewhere, Firpo admits, the character “durp” references Tom “durrr” Dwan, a star of the late-2000s nosebleed action. The character Cates is named after Dan “Jungleman” Cates, but for the most part, Firpo adds, the characters are based on “various archetypes” he encountered through his experiences in the online poker community.
And the personal sushi chef featured in the pilot is taken directly from Jay Rosenkratz’s Vegas WSOP adventures, where ‘Chef Robert’ (as featured in the documentary, 2 Months, 2 Million) would travel with the players.
If the pilot and first series of Luckboxes are a success, let’s hope for more poker-related sitcoms. A spin-off of Friends, produced by Late Night Poker honcho Mori Eskandari and featuring Phil Hellmuth, Jennifer Harman and Eli Elezra perhaps?
To watch clips from the show, head to luckboxes.tv.