With poker currently such an influential factor in pop culture, it makes perfect sense that there would be many poker movies available to people around the world. For example, there's this page about Bollywood poker. While some movies have poker as only a limited factor, many movies such as Maverick and Casino Royale make the game their primary focus. The game determines the fate of multiple characters and organizes the plot based on the game of poker. While games such as Blackjack have exciting and intense movies dedicated to the game (21, for example), the movies created that focus on poker greatly outnumber the movies made for other games.
How do Poker Movies Help Poker Players?
As an educational tool, poker movies can go either way. Some poker movies have excellent advice about decision making and game play strategy. However, others have less than helpful advice about chasing straights or flushes when the pot does not justify the risk. For example, in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, the main character, Eddy (played by Nick Moran) enlists the help of his friends to come up with the cash for a buy in at a high stakes, private (not to mention illegal) game. At the climax of the game, Eddy ends up borrowing money from his competitor to match a raise and loses everything, plus $50,000.
Although this unfortunate turn of events happens because the winner was cheating by having one of his employees spy on Eddy's cards, the movie progresses to show the dire consequences of making such a decision. Eddy chooses to bet with money that he does not have and ends up being in a situation where he will likely lose his father's business, his fingers and, most likely, his life. Losing your entire bankroll at an online casino will not result in a loan shark coming after your business or fingers, but it can have dire consequences for yourself and your family. This movie shows that betting money that you do not have on poker can be a disaster for not only yourself, but other indirect participants.
Poker movies can also give dedicated professionals a break from practice while continuing to learn about the game. They are entertaining movies that give a little poker advice broken up by interesting plot and character development. If you are watching a poker movie with the correct mindset or attitude, you can get a great deal of study done by sitting down with a bowl of popcorn and a good movie. Remember that you are not limited to only poker movies in your study of the game. Any movie about gambling or skill based gaming can have some application to your poker skills and strategy set. Every professional or dedicated poker player should build up a collection of poker movies to add to their resources.
How to Watch a Poker Movie
Obtaining poker knowledge from a poker movie relies heavily on your ability to watch the movie with the right attitude. This does not mean diligently taking notes on how the plot develops and how players react to poker situations, but it does mean paying attention to how the characters on the screen play the game and make decisions. Always remember that these poker games are exciting for a reason. They are a fictitious set of events designed to show the viewer how exciting a final showdown can be under the right circumstances.
For example, when Maverick gets the last card required for his Royal Flush in the movie Maverick, this is an intense moment that makes it seem like Mel Gibson's character willed this card to the top of the deck. This is a power that no poker player possesses and it would be dangerous to assume that you do. Royal Flushes are statistically rare and luck is the sole device that determines when they occur. Most of the time, unfortunately, Royal Flushes end up winning very small pots because no other player is willing to match their pair of tens up against the possible highest hand in the game. In Maverick, the game is not a community card game when this would be apparent but statistically, high hands tend to diminish when one player has a Royal Flush simply because a great deal of high cards are in the possession of a single player.
When watching a poker movie, think about how you would have played in a given situation. As the viewer, you likely have the knowledge of what each player holds in their hand, sometimes making it difficult to imagine objective decisions contrary to the main characters. However, try to imagine how each situation could have unfolded contrary to how it actually did. For example, would you have gone all in with the possibility of a Royal Flush in Maverick? Would you have been so confident of your hand to borrow money from your opponent to match a bet in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels? Would you have made an all in call on such a meager hand as James Bond had in Casino Royale before being eliminated from the tournament and having to be bought back in by his future friend, Felix Leiter? Knowing the outcome can make such decisions trivial at times. However, taking yourself out of the movie and putting yourself in the character's situation can be valuable when learning from a poker movie.
If you are watching a poker movie for the first time, you have the most potential to get this concept right. When a character has a decision to make in the movie, try pausing the playback before the movie continues and decide what you would do right away. If you see a pocket pair of Kings would you simply call or make a raise? Good poker movies will match game play strategies with the character's personalities. Le Chiffe (played by Mads Mikkelsen) in Casino Royale is a numbers and statistics driven character and his poker play reflects this. The first time that poker appears in the movie, Le Chiffe makes an all in call by saying "I have two pair and you have a 17.4% chance of making a straight." Under this pressure, the opponent, of course, folds. Imagine how you would change your strategy to face such a formidable foe as Le Chiffe and hope for the opportunity in the future.
If you decide, after watching a poker movie, that you'd like to get into some real online gambling action, I'd suggest checking out this guide to the 100 best casino sites. The site features reviews some of the best online casinos, many of which accept USA players. Just be sure that you're obeying all the appropriate laws in your jurisdiction. You might also take a look at this article about where USA players can play poker online too. And if you just want to read about movies then you should enjoy visiting A1 Movie Reviews, which reviews hundreds of movies.