Tim Headington Plans Benny Binion TV Series
Ley Line Productions is creating a tv series about Benny Binion, the man who founded the World Series of Poker. Award-winning producer Tim Headington heads the project, which is based on a 2005 novel. Headington draws his inspiration from Doug J. Swanson’s book “Blood Aces: The Wild Ride of Benny Benion.”
Relativity Productions planned an adaption of Blood Aces into a feature film in 2015, but the project ended up in development hell. Since then, Tim Headington’s company Ley Line optioned the rights. Readers might know Tim Headington as the producer of Argo, the film starring Ben Affleck as a movie producer who smuggled hostages out of Iran in the 1980s.
Benny Binion (1924-1989) lived as a Dallas area illegal gaming operator. He moved to Las Vegas in 1946, because Texas prosecutors ran him out of Dallas. Binion founded the Horseshoe Casino in Downtown Las Vegas, which attained legendary status due to its link to the World Series of Poker.
The Horseshoe’s owner hosted the first World Series of Poker (WSOP) in 1970. Back in those days, the WSOP was much different than the mainstream event it is now. Binion brought together the best players in the world for a series of poker events. The competitors voted on the winner of the WSOP when they finished playing poker.
Who Was Benny Binion?
The WSOP serves as the hook that will draw people to a Benny Binion series. The man’s colorful life story should convince them to watch. The series will detail a rogue who made it big, because of a combination of salesmanship, tenacity, and smarts.
Benny Binion controlled the Dallas-Fort Worth gambling scene by 1946. He carried a pistol with him and wasn’t afraid to use it. In fact, he acquired the nickname “Cowboy”, because he flashed the pistol when the situation required it. By most accounts, he shot two mean dead defending his turf.
Rumors persisted that rival racketeers who died were his victims. Two Texas prosecutors were determined to take down Benny Binion, because they believed the rumors were true. He moved to Las Vegas because he had a reckoning with the Dallas-area legal system — whether he deserved it or not.
Binion’s Horseshoe Casino
In Las Vegas, Benny Binion befriended judges, politicians, and law enforcement officials. His longtime lawyer, Harry Claiborne, described how Bioion survived (or thrived) in Vegas. Claiborne said, “Benny never had to fight a turf war in this town. I never knew anybody who didn’t like him.”
Deadline.com’s Peter White describes the roguish and well-liked casino mogul as a multi-faceted anti-hero. White wrote, “He was a racketeer, a family man, a killer, a philanthropist, a friend to the downtrodden and an enemy to be feared.”
“His rise to power, and his ability to stay there, is unmatched in the American underworld. Though he could barely read or write, Binion used native intelligence, personal charm and innate ruthlessness to build a gambling kingdom.”
Fall of The House of Binion
Texas Monthly’s Gary Cartwright wrote of Binion’s Horseshoe in 1999, “Before there was a Strip, and long before gaming mogul Steve Wynn began replicating the Seven Wonders of the World and installing slot machines in their every nook, Binion’s Horseshoe was a haven for hard-eyed, no-nonsense gamblers. It was the cornerstone of Glitter Gulch—the noisiest, rowdiest, most wide-open casino in downtown Las Vegas. The doors never closed and the action never stopped.”
“Benny boasted that he offered the world’s best odds, and he never flinched from covering a bet. Texas high rollers, in particular, were attracted by his steadfast policy of no limits and no frills. ‘The size of your limit is the size of your first bet,’ Benny pledged.”
Gary Cartwright’s retelling of the demise of Benny Binion’s family makes good reading on the end of the era. One can assume the Benny Binion tv series will begin in 1946, when Binion moved from Dallas to Las Vegas.
Benny Binion TV Series
Benny Binion story has all the elements of great television, if it’s done right. A story that captures the early Las Vegas boom in post-war America should gain an audience. The story should hit its mark, because it will depict mobsters, gamblers, classic entertainers, and an endless number of scoundrels. Through Benny Binion, Tim Headington can tell a story of roguish Americans of all types — all of whom on the make. The Hollywood version might be a bit more glamorous than the real story was, but that should only add to the allure.