The Big Blind (1999)

The Big Blind (1999)The Big Blind is a poker film released in 1999 independently. The Big Blind was created by a David James, a real poker player who wrote the script for the film in between hands of poker. James financed the film using his poker winnings.

The Big Blind follows the story of fifty poker players trying to make it big in the world of poker, and includes twelve intertwining story lines that ultimately determine whether or not the players will be successful. The Big Blind is available on DVD from

Cast and Crew of The Big Blind

The Big Blind was written and directed by David James. The cast includes several up-and-coming actors, as well as professional poker players making cameo appearances and starring in key roles. The film is narrated by Darrin the Narrator, played by Blake Adams. The Big Blind also includes Matt Corboy as Lane, Michael Christian as Railbird, Timoth D. Harris as Frog, William Edward North as Wayne, Landry Larb as Sly, Elizabeth Burr as Debbie, Buddy Daniels as Rick Lanning, Gene Feldman as White Chip Terry, Audrey Gelfand as Gladys, Max Goldberg as Leo, Marcus Gordon as Jamal, poker pro Jennifer Harman as Kathy, David L. James as Smooth, Reggie Lee as Roger, Ryan Michaels as Otto, poker pro Scotty Nguyen as Scotty, and Ray William Smith as Bob Scott.

The supporting cast includes many actors playing casino personnel and other players. These actors include Larry Weisman, Jeff Sable, Jon Vince, Jack Thurman, Michael Weisenberg, Angela Wright, Kim Wilson, Kim Wills, Wally Wagner, Thom Vernon, John Schneider Jr., Michael Quent, Gretchen Palmer, and more.

Plot Synopsis

The Big Blind depicts the story of several poker players. Some of these players, such as Scotty (Scotty Nguyen) are in it for the money, and find themselves frequently winning pots. Other players are involved for the thrill of the action. Some of the players sit on the sidelines and provide comic relief without having much of a chance at winning.

Darrin is a constant voice of narration throughout the film. Darrin guides the viewer through the exploits of over fifty players looking to strike it rich. Lane is one of the better players involved in the movie, and has the confidence and knowledge to win consistently. His sister Kath (Jennifer Harman) has the motivation to win, as she owes a debt to the mob. One of the many plot lines in the movie follows Lane and Kathy’s sibling rivalry, and the ways in which poker develop their relationship.

Roger is a character who had no intention of getting involved in poker at all. However, after entering the casino to use the phone, he finds himself intrigued by the action. Eventually, Roger is unable to pull himself fro the table, and becomes romantically interested in a girl who is involved with a scam artist, both of whom are also trying to make their names playing poker.

Sly and Queen Mama are a couple with an uneasy alliance at the poker table. The pair are romantically involved, but Sly is a cheater and card mechanic who will stop at nothing to take home the biggest pots. Queen Mama is a dangerous character herself, and is gradually becoming more aware of Sly’s intentions and capabilities.

All of the action in The Big Blind plays out in a casino in a small town in California. Many other characters make appearances as well, and the film depicts the rise and fall of these players. Some of the players achieve greatness, while others fall by the wayside and are eliminated from the tournament.

Critical Reception for The Big Blind

Critical reviews for The Big Blind have been extremely mixed. The division seems to be between film critics who don’t appreciate or understand the game of poker, and those who do. Hardcore poker players in general appreciate The Big Blind as a realistic depiction of the gritty details of the game, and many poker professionals have cited The Big Blind as the most accurate poker film of all time.

The Big Blind realism can be attributed primarily to the vision and direction of writer/director David James. James is a real poker player who has an obvious love of the game, as he can be seen yearly at the World Series of Poker. James has an in-depth knowledge of the history and details of poker, and savvy reviewers have picked up on this.

Favorable reviews for The Big Blind compliment its ability to show a variety of personas and personalities simultaneously and giving them all fair treatment within in the film, rather than focusing on a single main character that the audience is compelled to root for. In addition, some critics appreciate the way that The Big Blind depicts the atmosphere of a real poker game, in addition to the happenings of the hands themselves.

If you’re looking for a realistic poker film that just might help you improve your game, The Big Blind is worth checking out.