Many films combine the world of high-stakes poker and fast-paced action – hoping, perhaps, to spice up their plots and add an edgy charm to their characters. Unfortunately, much of the gambling scene borders on ridiculous. Think the utterly ridiculous House of Games, the insanely stilted Honeymoon in Vegas, and the kitsch Maverick—all of which can give serious gamblers the creeps, if only for the way they totally disrespect the game and make it as tacky as filming themselves. .
The others, on the other hand, are very well done, and should be on any poker fan’s list of Movies for Rent. So when you’re not online, winning the game yourself, you can relax in front of the television and “watch” the game. It’s not all about poker; some include only a few good scenes – but they are worth watching.
If you’re in the mood for an old movie, try California Spit. It’s a bit old fashioned, made in 1974, and the outstanding pair can have a bit blurry audio. However, it documents the lives of poker players in perpetual pursuits or pursuits. You’ll even see World Series Poker Champion Amarillo Slim, although the main characters are played by George Segal and Elliot Gould. Watching movies makes you realize how far some people will go for gaming, and those of you who have daily jobs will sigh sadly when you see a lifestyle of gamble-till-you-drop, then sleep-till-noon.
Paul Newman did justice to the role of a hardcore poker player in the 1973 film, The Sting. The film reveals that it’s not always a man’s game – and the look on his opponent, Robert Shaw’s face when he sees he’s being ripped off is priceless. While the film tends to be portrayed as a lousy con (unfair to those who spend years mastering the science and skills involved), we all fantasize about pulling fast people on someone who deserves to taste his own evil remedy.
Another classic is Cincinnati Kid, made decades ago (1965) but still considered one of the most enjoyable poker movies of all time. Unfortunately, the ending tends to disappoint most viewers (we won’t tell you anything, but it’s known to inspire furious howls from poker fanatics) but if you have Ann Margret and Steve McQueen it’s almost worth it. Love the phrase, “It’s all about, doing the wrong thing at the right time”—which most gamblers will relate to.
The film Kaleidoscope, set in 1966, is more obscure, even unknown to Warren Beatty’s most avid fans. The plot revolves around breaking into a factory that prints cards that are distributed to all the biggest casinos in the world. He tagged them, then started playing poker and blackjack when the batch was released. At his climax, the casino suddenly hands him an unmarked card – and he is forced to rely solely on his wits and skill. Grab some popcorn, it’s a nice ride.