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Here Come the Bad Boys

by Sami Hernesaho |  Published: Nov 01, 2010


Everything is possible in America. A new poker teaching site, that gets its name from the infamous Pelican Bay prison, has recruited Hollywood bad boys Paul Logan and Jason Mewes as their poster boys. When others are trying to polish poker to be presentable, Pelican Bay Poker Club reminds us of the shady past of the king of card games. People have been playing cards for ages in saloons and lumber mills in groups where a revolver and knife beat a royal flush.

Pelican Bay Poker Club (PBPC), which takes advantage of this wild reputation, has found two believable hot-heads to represent itself. Jason Mewes and Paul Logan, who have made loads of action packed films, are almost the same in person as they are on the big screen — both are interested in fast cars and motorcycles, tattoos, and other things that belong to a bad boy image.

Mewes is from New Jersey, a city which acts as a backdrop for the television show The Sopranos. There are many similarities between the show and real life, one being the poker games that are run in the backrooms of bars. “I’ve played poker for as long as I can remember,” says Mewes. “I like tough games but that is only natural because I come from New Jersey.” Thirty-six-year old Mewes was the first celebrity recruit of PBPC, and his recruitment gave an early sign of the spirit in which the new site was going to be marketed. Pelican Bay Poker Club defines itself as a “playground for the tough guys” and it doesn’t matter if its poster boys have some questionable things in their pasts. “I’m not an addict, I just happen to like heroin,” exclaims Mewes, who has been clean since 2003, in answer to questions about his drug-related past.

He is currently working on movies such as K-11, The Last Godfather, and Danny Trejo´s Vengeance. There are also non-violent films on his résumé such as Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Mewes ensures that at the poker table he is more like the tough guys he has played than a shyly smiling, teenage boy in a comedy. “My style of play is semi-loose and aggressive,” he explains, “I play hard and I hate to give up.”

This summer Mewes played in the World Series of Poker with the PBPC team and the expectations were naturally high. “I managed to arrange some playing time in the middle of filming, so I can honestly say, that my life right now is poker,” he laughs. The actor considers being the poster boy for this new information site is an opportunity to improve as a player. “My friends Matt Damon and Ben Affleck will be surprised when we sit at the poker table next time. They are both extremely good at playing poker, but they fold way too easily. And they haven’t understood that a .44 Magnum beats four aces. I’ll promise to teach that to them,” he says mischievously.

Film Sets, Premieres, and Poker Tables

The other half of this power duo, Paul Logan, is a lot calmer than his younger colleague. For him, poker is mostly a way to relax and have a fun evening with group of good friends. “My father taught me how to play when I was 10-years-old. At that time we naturally played without any real money bets, but it was fun in any case,” he explained. Logan has appeared in many films that combine action with horror such as Cannibal Taboo, Vampire in Vegas, and Aliens on Crack. At the moment he is working on a movie called Ballistica, which is scheduled to premier late summer. “Apart from movies, I’ve also acted on the soap opera Days of Our Lives for two-and-a-half years and I’ve had roles in, for example, Friends and Angel. I live in Los Angeles so it is relatively easy for me to stop by a local casino or go to Las Vegas to play. “Sometimes, on the breaks between filming, we play on the set with other actors and the production team or sometimes I go to play online,” he said.

When talking about poker skills Logan defines himself as a good beginner and sets his goals to keep his game profitable in the long run. “I always strive to improve my game and to tell you the truth, I’ve even gotten a coach to help me with that,” he reveals. About his role in the workings of Pelican Bay Poker Club, Logan said, “I try to help the marketing of the site in any way possible and I also take part in the operation of the site by taking active users of the site to movie premieres and other social events.”

Although Logan has himself been taught poker as a little kid, he doesn’t consider it impossible that one could learn the secrets of the game at a later age. “Poker is a very equalizing game in a sense that it doesn’t take into consideration the age, sex, physical characteristics, or economic standing of a player. There are games for all levels of skill and wallet and you always have an opportunity to improve your game and move on to a higher level,” he muses.

Paul could tell loads of funny stories about poker, but we asked him to tell about the not so happy ones. “A few times I’ve gotten into trouble for playing strip poker, but that is enough about that!” he giggles. He is also very happy that he hasn’t had to take one step inside the walls of the original Pelican Bay prison. “Thank god, I’ve never had to visit the place. It is very important that the dangerous and violent repeated offenders can be locked outside society behind secure locks.”

Spidey Masters Home Games

In Hollywood, poker has been a part of the action on the big screen since the first steps of Westerns. Poker has been a main focus on movies such as Cincinnati Kid (1965), Maverick (1994) and Rounders (1998). Besides being part of movies, poker has, in recent years, become quite popular amongst the stars of Hollywood including Ben Affleck, Jason Alexander, James Woods, and Shannon Elizabeth are serious about poker and have achieved top places in international tournaments.

Since the beginning of the poker boom, many stars have sought help from professional players to improve their skills and if one should believe the rumors, you really should improve your skills if you want to sit to the same table with Tobey Maguire. In addition to over $200,000 dollars he has won from tournaments, people say that Tobey runs a home game, from which he has, along the years, won from his Hollywood colleagues millions of dollars.

Maguire, who became famous from the part of Spider-Man, has a story that closely resembles one of the first movies that focused on playing cards: Dr. Mabuse — The Gambler, directed by Fritz Lang in 1922. The main character of the movies Dr. Mabuse has an ability to control people’s thoughts with the power of his mind and he uses his skills effectively both in blackjack and poker. Perhaps Maguire has acquired a so-called sixth sense from playing Spider-Man?

Criminal Intent

Pelican Bay Poker Club, the Internet newcomer, got its name from one of the toughest and notorious prisons in the United States. Pelican Bay acts as a prison for extremely dangerous convicts and numerous bloody conflicts between different gangs color its history. Besides the name, there is also one other thing that connects this Internet-based information site to the notorious prison: one of the main operators behind the site is a former convict L. T. Deaton. “Many prisons have unofficial hobby groups and Pelican Bay Poker Club in one of them. After I got released from prison and started to manufacture prison themed t-shirts and Pelican Bay Poker Club immediately became one of the most popular. It grew to become its own brand and ultimately became a website,” he explains.

PBPC is not a site for playing but for information. It acts both as a site to find info from and as a gathering place for people interested in poker. Because of its Hollywood connections the site has a lot of unique content: people have an opportunity to chat with the celebrity players and competitions on site have prizes such as small roles in movies currently in production. “I hope that our site works as a learning tool for the successful players of the future. At least we have a good starting point, because when I was in prison, the convicts of Pelican Bay were always the kings of the card rings!” laughs Deaton.

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