Ben Mezrich continues to receive mainstream coverage on his book Straight Flush. The Accidental Billionaires author’s newest work dives into the story of how six University of Montana frat brothers founded Absolute Poker. As many know, Absolute would become one of the world’s largest online poker sites, pulling in $1 million in profit a day at one point.
Mezrich’s depiction of the Absolute Poker story is generating quite a bit of press. He recently appeared on CNBC to discuss Straight Flush (interview in link) and had some very interesting things to say about it.
One of the more intriguing subjects that Mezrich discussed was how Absolute Poker owners were just days away from launching an initial public offering. However, the multi-billion dollar company’s 2006 IPO was derailed when US President George W. Bush signed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) into effect in 2006.
“These guys were the first people and these guys are paying the price for being too early,” Mezrich stated. “They were days away from being like Mark Zuckerberg.” But as fate would have it, Absolute’s owners, Scott Tom and Brent Beckley, essentially lost their poker site after Black Friday (April 15th, 2011), when the US Department of Justice busted AP.
During the interview, Mezrich also went into detail on the UIGEA and legalized gambling today. “The (US) government, in my opinion, passed some hypocritical bill that went after online poker for reasons unexplained,” he said. “And now it’s starting to come back – now online poker is starting to be legalized. But these guys (AP founders) were kind of the first people, and now they’re kind of paying the price for being too early.”
Mezrich also mentions how he hopes Straight Flush will eventually become a movie. Kevin Spacey was brought up during the interview since he starred in 21 – the film adaptation of Mezrich’s Bringing Down the House. Assuming Straight Flush does get turned into a movie, watch for Spacey to grace the screen in a prominent role.