Nov 21, 2013
The 5 Worst Poker Movie Scenes Ever
By RTR Dennis
Most poker movie scenes are dummed down and/or given an unrealistic, glamorous touch. The idea is to create drama and excitement for general audiences, most of which don't play poker. For instance, you might see the hero get a royal flush to beat his villainous rival's quads. So yea, Hollywood isn't exactly big on realism, and it's led to some terrible poker movie scenes, which you can see below.
1. Casino Royale - Bond wins a $115 million pot
Casino Royale was revolutionary in the James Bond franchise because it marked a change from the stiff, judo-chopping actors of the past (ie - Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan) to a more athletic Daniel Craig. About the only downside to this fresh look was a completely ridiculous poker scene where the buy-in is no less than $10 million. The final hand alone is enough to make this the worst-ever poker scene.
After surviving the ole' mid-game poisoning, Bond sees two all-in calls, along with a raise from his nemesis, Le Chiffre. Bond goes all-in, while Le Chiffre calls, leaving the final four players with everything in the pot. The first player flips over an ace-high flush, the second player has a full house, Le Chiffre shows a better full house, and Bond wins with a straight flush. Apparently producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli weren't too concerned about realism when throwing all of these great hands into one scene.
2. Maverick - The Final Card is revealed
Based on the same-titled TV series from the 1950's, Maverick follows the mis-adventures of a conman and high stakes poker player named Bret Maverick (Mel Gibson). He wants to enter a $25,000 buy-in, five-card draw tournament and prove that he's the best player; but he needs $3,000 more to enter. Following some dangerous encounters, Maverick is able to get the money and enter the tournament.
Now, Maverick doesn't carry the same pretentiousness as Casino Royale. But that doesn't excuse how silly the final poker scene is. On the last hand, the Commodore (James Coburn) goes all-in with quad 8's, Angel (Alfred Molina) calls with a straight flush, and Maverick calls with 10, jack, queen and king of spades (he hasn't looked at the fifth card yet). Of course, with a little Hollywood magic, this card turns out to be the game-winning ace of spades.
3. The Sting - Mystery Hand
Like Rounders, The Sting is actually a solid movie with good acting. Paul Newman and Robert Redford are excellent in their roles as Henry Gondorf and John Hooker - two conmen trying to pull off a huge job and stay alive in the process.
Despite the movie's critical success, there is one poker scene that'll leave viewers scratching their heads. At one point, Gondorf (Newman) is dealt three 3's while playing five-card draw, which is behind his cheating opponent's three 9's. After drawing for more cards, the bad guy has four 9's and Gondorf has four 3's. But when the cards are laid down, Gondord has four jacks all of the sudden. We, the viewers, are never shown how he gets the jacks, which is a big missing piece of the puzzle.
4. Rounders - The Judges Game
When it comes to the best poker movies of all-time, Rounders wins hands-down. This late-90's cult classic inspired millions of people to take up poker, including 2003 WSOP Main Event winner Chris Moneymaker. And while Rounders gets poker right for the most part, there is one scene that goes over the top.
When Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) comes to his professor's office to drop off some papers, he walks into the "Judges Game." While watching the game for half a hand and observing that there are "no real card players" involved, McDermott raises for his professor. Following a few calls, McDermott raises for the professor again and proceeds to tell everybody else EXACTLY what they were holding and thinking. Sure McDermott is supposed to be a great player, but this goes beyond any humanly possible reading abilities.
5. Lucky You - The Final Table
It would be harder to pick up a good scene from Lucky You since it's widely regarded as one of the worst poker films. From the weak-acting cameos by players like Jennifer Harman, John Hennigan and David Oppenheim, to the unconvincing romance between Eric Bana and Drew Barrymore, this film never stood a chance.
The cheesiness of the poker scenes only makes matters worse, with the WSOP Main Event final table being the most cringe-worthy. The fact that the final table is announced like it's a professional basketball game is bad enough. Then, when you throw in all of the dramatic hands and see all of the sappy storylines play out, it goes even further into the abyss.