In the film, Billie Offer (Barrymore) came to Las Vegas with dreams that have nothing to do with what’s in the cards. She is hoping to make a new life as a singer, and Vegas, with its miles of small clubs and smoky lounges, seems like the right place to start. But when Billie meets Huck Cheever (Bana) her life changes in ways she never expected.
A professional poker player, Huck is known around town as a blaster—a player who goes all out, all the time. But in his personal relationships, Huck plays it tight, expertly avoiding emotional commitments and long-term expectations. When Huck sets out to win the main event of the World Series of Poker—while also trying to win Billie’s affections—there is one significant obstacle in his path: his father, L.C. Cheever (Robert Duvall), the poker legend who abandoned Huck’s mother years ago. In the end, it is Billie’s call to make. If they are going to have any chance at all, she is going to have to show Huck that to win in the games of life and poker, he must try to play cards the way he has been living his life and live his life the way he has been playing cards.
Warner Bros.’ “Lucky You” is set in the world of high-stakes poker in Las Vegas in 2003. A longtime poker player himself, Hanson offers, “I wanted to do a relationship story set in the world of poker because I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that the skills one must develop to be a good poker player are almost the exact opposite of the skills needed to be successful in a relationship. Deceit, or bluffing, which can destroy the trust needed for a successful personal relationship, is a big part of the game. There is also no collaborative spirit; it’s an individual sport. Poker players must be completely self-centered; they can’t have sympathy and win. They can’t worry about whether their opponent can afford a loss. By contrast, warm human relationships are based on caring, empathy, honesty and often putting the other person first. Because of this dichotomy, it seemed poker could be both a metaphor and a mirror for the different relationships in a story.”
Screenwriter Eric Roth (Forrest Gump) actually began writing the original script for “Lucky You” before the spike in poker’s popularity. “I wanted to create something different about gamblers and gambling because I think all great gambling movies are love stories at heart, about winning and losing and finding your way,” he says.
Hanson adds, “We set the story in 2003 because that was the year the world of poker dramatically changed. Three things came together to make that happen. Internet poker was exploding, allowing amateur players from all over the world to hone their card skills online. The hole card camera was introduced that year, which made the game much more popular on television because it allowed the audience at home to see the players’ hole cards and learn about the nuances of betting and bluffing from the top pros. And it was the year an unknown amateur internet player named Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker, making it possible for everyone to say, ‘That could be me.’” – Warner Bros. Pictures