The absolute classics from the movies. They make and create the most romantic ideas of poker and while are not usually very untrue to what good poker actually looked like. Here are three great bluffs from poker on the big screen.
Rounders, directed by John Dahl, is the royal flush of poker movies, and adored by poker and fans around the world. It is not necessarily a critically acclaimed masterpiece, but is certainly a ‘cult classic’. The game is accurately portrayed throughout the film through its incredibly talented cast and nail-biting story.
In the opening game of Rounders, we see Mike deal out each player’s cards. He sees he has an ace and a nine of clubs, and raises $500. The two other players fold, leaving Mike against Teddy KGB, a mobster. Teddy’s clearly no pushover, as he takes his time to eat a cookie during the game. While Mike seems to think he’s setting a trap for Teddy, it’s actually the other way around. Teddy calls, and Mike deals the card that Teddy needs for the flush that Mike thinks he has, while Mike actually has a full house. When Teddy raises by $15,000, Mike takes a moment, then reveals that he doesn’t think Teddy has the spades needed for a flush, and that Teddy’s bluffing (which is poor poker etiquette, but probably not something they’re worried about in a game with mobsters).
But Teddy completely flips the game when he matches Mike’s bet and reveals that he doesn’t have spades, but a pair of aces, beating out Mike’s full house of three nines and two aces with three aces and a pair of nines.
This scene instantly captures your attention, as it highlights not only the different types of skill that go into playing poker, such as knowing when to play the person and when to play the cards, but also that no matter how you play, sometimes luck’s just not on your side. Poker might be a game of skill, but that comes second to poker as a game of luck!
The final hand of Casino Royale in Montenegro between the 5 final hands seated at the table is a classic case of the director emphasising drama over reality.
At a serious poker table this hand would have never unfolded in this way. The ultimate Daniel Craig (James Bond) call to the previous 4 all-ins was a low suited combination that conveniently created an out of place straight flush to the previous and progressively better full houses which were turned before him.
The significance of this scene is amazing because of an emphasis on James Bond picking on Le-Chiffre's tell… A bleeding eye. That’s a bit of a give away if you are supposed to be a world class poker player.
What makes this hand famous and one of the best on screen of all time is the immense drama of it all, and the misrepresentation of Daniel Craig’s ‘bad beat’ as some example of elite poker playing.
The real poker players out there recognize the truth!