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The Problem With Poker in the Movies

21 January, 2019 by Everette Renner
Poker in the Movies

From Maverick and Casino Royale, to The Sting and 21, there is no question that these are great movies, and certainly entertaining. But as far as being an accurate representation of Poker goes, they aren’t exactly what could be called accurate. In fact, they could best be called downright lousy at depicting a card game that is largely about patience, skill, and striking while the iron is hot.

If watching any of the above movies you would swear that Poker was about wanting the right cards hard enough, after which they tend to land up in your hand. Or, likewise, about concentrating so hard that everyone else at the table forgets how to play, and allows you to win out of sheer sympathy for your determination. Which is to say; movie clichés don’t work particularly well outside of the silver screen. But why does Hollywood have such a strange take on a casino game?

Card Games Make For Great Viewing

Movies love high stakes, and they love tension. Both these things are built into games of chance that use real money, like Poker. Hence, casino games are the perfect setting for good movies. The only problem is that, if looking seriously Poker, and all skills based casino games really, that although they are indeed based around high stakes and have plenty of tension, that they happen to be a rather slow paced, and not very rapidly explosive at all.

Hence, movie makers take a great deal of liberties, bend the truth, and land up depicting card games in a way that is not representative of how best to play them at all. After all, most Hollywood movies will have you believe that random chance can suddenly fall in your favour the more skilled you are, and films such as Maverick even go so far as to hint, none too subtly, that the right card can be summoned, if you really believe.

Forget Movies, Read Strategy Guides

Skilled players in the real world know that games of skill and chance in a casino setting are about a slow, sensible approach, and that any amount of bravado will likely just land up with your bankroll being empty, and shoulders sagging in defeat. Yes, these movies are still great fun, and there is no harm in watching them, but they should certainly not be taken as some sort of guide as to how to be a better player.

Instead, focus on practice, sticking to strategies, and putting a great deal of time into smart money management. Sorry Maverick, you would be broke in real life, they you sure are still a fun character.