Adam Weinraub is a man who has had to wear many different hats during his 57 years on Earth.
“I tell you I’ve had a full life that’s for sure,” Weinraub admitted.
The Norfolk, Virginia-native’s first gig was working after school at a locksmith shop starting at age 10. When he was 16, he took a job delivering a car west across the country to California. He loved it out there so much, that he decided to stay. He had nothing, but lied about his age to score a job as a locksmith.
It turns out that Weinraub was really good at the job. So good, in fact, that he soon opened three retail stores of his own, and eventually started designing the actual tools of the trade himself. With 17 patents, he sold his retail stores and concentrated on his manufacturing business. That business has since grown to the point where the day-to-day operations are now being handled by his sons and nephew.
With his time suddenly free, Weinraub turned to one of his early loves, which was poker.
“At that time, I was pretty much just a cash game player,” Weinraub recalled. “I was playing a lot at Commerce back in the days when Kenny Tran was on his run. One of my favorite stories from back then is that we were playing and Jeffrey Katzenberg was playing in the game as well. This was right when one of the Shrek movies was coming out. He had his Blackberry out and he says, ‘Well, it’s official. We’re the highest opening animated film in history,’ or whatever, it was something like that. He calls the floor guy over and has him call up The Palm Restaurant, a place most of us can’t even get into. He orders steak dinners for the entire table, and sure enough, the restaurant sends over these guys in tuxedos to deliver the food.”
But high-stakes cash games would soon lead to the occasional tournament.
“I was on a charity site one night, and noticed that the World Poker Tour had donated a seat to the Susan G. Komen foundation for a breast cancer research fundraiser. I bid on it, something like $7,000 or $8,000, and I won the seat into the WPT Celebrity Invitational tournament at Commerce. I ended up winning it.”
Weinraub topped a field of 385 pros and celebrities to win the title, including a final table with Hollywood director Nick Cassavetes. To top it off, he donated $20,000 of his $100,000 prize back to the foundation.
Despite his success, Weinraub wasn’t about to hop on the tournament circuit or give up his day job.
“Poker is an easy way to make a tough living. I don’t know how these kids do it.”
Of course, when an opportunity comes along, sometimes you just have to jump on it.
“I was playing in the Legends of Poker event three years ago and during the dinner break, I got stuck in this long line for the buffet. I decided I wasn’t going to wait in it, so I went to the bar. Vince Van Patten sat down, along with one of his buddies, who was playing at the same table as me in the tournament. So, we got to talking, just shooting the shit, having a good time, and even taking some shots, and Vince asks me, ‘Do you like movies?’ Yeah, of course I like movies. So he says he has a script based on his life and Hollywood poker game and asks me if I want to take a look at it. Keep in mind, I’m not a book reader. I can’t even tell you the last book I’ve read. But this script, I couldn’t put it down. I didn’t expect to enjoy it, but it grabbed me. I was high on it immediately. I called Vince up and told him how much I enjoyed it, and he said, ‘Well, would you like to be a part of it?’
Weinraub got his wife on board, and the two were suddenly driving to Malibu to meet with Vince and his wife Eileen Davidson. The two-time Emmy winner has starred in soaps such as The Bold And The Beautiful, Days Of Our Lives, and The Young And The Restless, and was also heavily featured on The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills.
Van Patten, of course, is no slouch when it comes to acting himself. The WPT commentator and former pro tennis player (who was once ranked as high as no. 25 in the world) was the lead in the movie The Break, and Hell Night, and even has the show Baywatch on his list of credits.
The script in question was for the movie Walk To Vegas, now re-titled 7 Days To Vegas. Van Patten co-wrote the story with Steve Alper, based on the true account of a prop bet that emerged from one of his Hollywood poker home games.
“The prop bets start out small, and then start escalating,” Weinraub said of the film. “The iTunes description gives one from the movie away, where a guy accepted a $50,000 bet for dressing in drag for three months. Stuff like that. But the bets keep getting bigger and bigger, until the point where Duke (played by Van Patten) gets challenged to walk from L.A. to Las Vegas in seven days for $1 million.”
Initially, Weinraub and his wife were just investors, but he really enjoyed being on the set and learning about how the movie process worked, and ultimately became more heavily involved.
“After a lot of hard work and time, I became a full-blown producer on the movie. There’s basically four of us. Vince, his brother Jimmy, Kim Waltrip, and myself. The four of us had great chemistry, formed a terrific team, are close friends and we’ve been working our asses off on this movie for three years now. We’re excited for people to finally see it.”
In addition to Van Patten and Davidson, the cast also include notables such as Ross McCall (Band Of Brothers_), Paul Walter Hauser (I, Tonya_), Willie Garson (Sex And The City_), Lucas Bryant (Haven_), Don Stark (That ‘70s Show), John O’Hurley (Seinfeld), and Chad Lowe (Pretty Little Liars). The film also features cameos from poker players Antonio Esfandiari, Mike Sexton, Jennifer Tilly, and Phil Laak.
Although poker is featured in the movie, Weinraub assured viewers that they wouldn’t have to endure the typical cheesy Hollywood version of poker that we’ve come to know over the years.
“I think we will keep the poker community happy with the poker scenes,” he said. “There are no poker hands in the movie that contribute to the plot. You won’t be groaning over cheesy setups where quads run into a royal flush.”
Weinraub, who also has a merchandise licensing deal with the WPT to sell products online at shopWPT.com, has been promoting the movie whenever and wherever he can. He even wore a hoodie with the film’s website printed on the front when he took down a Card Player Poker Tour main event at Ocean’s Eleven casino in San Diego last April.
Ironically, he almost didn’t play in the event at all.
“I haven’t had much time to play tournament poker in the last few years, simply because I’ve been wrapped up in the movie. I was in San Diego, and I had planned to go back to L.A. for another tournament at the Commerce, but I got sidetracked at my mother in law’s house and realized I was never going to make it back in time. So, I just decided to check out the tournament going on at the nearby Ocean’s Eleven casino, and they had the day 2 quantum buy-in for the event. I pulled in there, played it, and ended up winning it.”
He got another big free promotional opportunity in May when he attended Tiger Jam in Las Vegas. In a video that has since gone viral, Weinraub asked 81-time PGA winner Tiger Woods about the fan that won big betting on him to win the Masters.
“F—-ing great bet.”
—Tiger Woods on the fan who bet $85K on him to win the Masters pic.twitter.com/FCLYVWObGM
— ESPN (@espn) May 25, 2019
“Tiger, what do you think about the guy that bet $85,000 for you to win the Masters?” asked Weinraub off camera.
“Fucking great bet,” Woods quickly replied, eliciting laughter from the crowd of onlookers at Shadow Creek golf course.
“I’m not a social media guy. The only reason why I’m even on twitter and Instagram, is for the movie and to see other posts about the movie. The whole thing was just perfect; the timing, his response, everything. I thought it was funny as shit. I only had like 12 followers, but before I knew it, other people had picked it up and it was exploding. All of a sudden, I was getting calls from ESPN, the Golf Channel, and TMZ, asking to pay me for the right to use the video. Instead, I just asked them to credit the movie’s website.”
The video has since been watched more than 7 million times on various social media platforms, and sure enough, the movie’s title is there for all to see. Weinraub happened to be attending the event with noted film critic Richard Roeper. He enjoyed the movie so much that he will be hosting a private screening to a sold-out 275-seat theater in Chicago in early September. The movie also recently won the best comedy award at the California Independent Film Festival.
7 Days To Vegas, directed by Eric Balfour, will officially open in select cities Sept. 20. Viewers can pre-order the movie on iTunes today before it is officially released Sept. 24.
Weinraub’s days as a movie producer on this film may be coming to an end, but that will undoubtedly leave more time for him at the poker table, an activity he loves for its ability to bring people together.
“I think the poker community is going to really enjoy this movie. If you play poker or gamble this movie has to be on your ‘must see’ list! There haven’t been many great gambling movies, but I think this one will check all the boxes. Vince says it’s like The Hangover meets The Sting. I like to say that ‘friend or no friend, sometimes you have to bet the other side.’ The characters in this movie are all so different, exactly like you would find at the poker table. I recently went to the Bike and played with [Phil] Hellmuth and [Mike] Matusow, you know, real characters. And Bill Klein, who is a good poker friend of mine, he came over to talk. I just thought to myself, where else can a billionaire sit down with someone like a restaurant dishwasher on equal footing but the poker table? The gambling world is like a crock pot of personalities, and I think the movie does a great job of showing that.”
Check out the trailer below and view behind-the-scenes footage for the film at 7DaysToVegas.com.
*Featured image courtesy of WPT/Joe Giron.