The dramatic effect of poker in the movies

Jeff Bridges as wild bill

Poker scenes have been used in many different kinds of movie, right back from the early talkies through to popular movies of today. One of the important poker scenes is taken from the movie Wild Bill which tells the story of Wild Bill Hickok, a gambler, gun fighter, soldier, spy and lawmen in the wild, Wild West. Of course the same story has been told in several different movies.

The best poker scene in Wild Bill is the denouement scene in which Wild Bill (played by Jeff Bridges, who has actually recently embarked upon a musical career) meets his nadir during a hand of poker in the little town of Deadwood which “reminded him of something out of the bible before god got angry”. Although it has received a poor press, the movie is actually, or appears to, be very authentic, at least it believable and includes much fine detail including the actual crudely printed cards with which they are playing poker. Wild Bill is shot in the back and killed mid game by Jack McCall, and the cards that he was holding have gone down in poker history. His hand is called “dead man’s hand” and consists of two black aces and two black eights, there is some debate regarding the fifth cards. The game incidentally was “five card draw” poker.

Most movies use more modern versions of casino games, with poker, Texas Hold’em Poker.  This is the game made popular by the emergence of online poker rooms, though some attribute its rise in popularity at least in part to the film Rounders about two roving poker players, itinerant poker players are generally known as “rounders”. There are many great poker scenes in the movie, though the one in which Mike McDermott, played by Matt Damon, gets ripped off in a poker game by the Russian mobster and gambler known as KGB, is one of the best and sets the scene for the rest of the movie. In it Mike loses $30,000, which is all the money he has and vows to give up the game for good, of course he doesn’t.


Author: cfwebmaster

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