Grinders to Debut at Hot Docs Film Festival

Poker has become a worldwide phenomenon and there are actually some people out there whose whole lives revolve around it. God knows it’s not the healthiest of lifestyles, but it’s a reality that people just can’t keep ignoring. Freelance Filmmaker Matt Gallagher, in a quest to save himself from his own financial woes, found an opportunity to document the life of those people who play poker for an actual living, and thus the documentary “Grinders” was born.

How did the Film come to be?

As the title of the film implies, the documentary revolves around the lives of ‘grinders’, i.e. those people who play poker for a living. Matt Gallagher first chanced upon them during one of the slumps in his life. He had decided to go on hiatus from his career as a filmmaker so that he could spend more time with his daughter. However, the economic recession hit at the same time, and Gallagher found himself losing money fast. When a friend invited him to play poker at an underground club, Gallagher agreed, and that was where everything started. Gallagher played well enough that he earned enough money for his mortgage on his first month. His wife, however, was less than happy about the nocturnal shift in his schedule. The cards and the money weren’t the only things that kept Gallagher coming back to that club though. He was also very intrigued about the people who played there, the ‘grinders’. The film will be making its debut at the Hot Docs Film Festival on April 29 at the Isabel Bader Theatre. It features the lives of three different men and how being a grinder affects them.

What is the documentary film all about?

As mentioned, the film is about three people Gallagher meets at the club. The first one is a father of three who lives in suburban Toronto. He has been able to make both ends meet through playing poker, the game being the source of his money for bills for the past decade. Then there’s a gentleman who owns a club in Scarborough. Finally, there’s this 25 year old guy who has been playing poker since he was 16 years old. Poker is his career, it’s the only thing he knows, and yet he’s making a really good living out of it. This documentary really gives a peek at the real people who play poker. These stories are something that people are likely to see every day in the poker scene.

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