Poker movies rock!

March 16, 2008

If there’s anything I enjoy more than playing poker, it’s watching poker movies. Yes, they can fall into all sorts of tired clichés, predictable conclusions and such, but when they go out on a limb to tackle the coolest topic in cinema (arguably), all of the secondary problems and shortcomings are forgiven. The list of movies, TV shows, plays or other forms of entertainment that have revolved around or included bits and pieces of poker are probably endless, and span back much further than my “day.” If anything, all that does is serve as a perfect example as to how timeless the game really is.

This isn’t the point of my article, but as I’m writing it, I’d love to find or see a compiled list of movies and television shows that were about poker and see how far back it goes, and how numerous it would be.

And that transitions wonderfully into what is the point of the article…and that’s simply applauding some great quotes from poker movies or shows that are at the top of my favorites list. As long as the list of great poker movies is, the list of quotes could gun it down with a six shooter…sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself with the Western poker gunfighter theme already.


*** WARNING **** You will encounter movie spoilers in the rest of this article. ********

Maverick: For a movie with such a big-name cast (Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, James Garner), it certainly doesn’t seem to be talked about anymore, or quoted for that matter, in poker movie circles or general movie circles…which is such a shame, because as much as I can’t stand Mel Gibson lately…I do still appreciate and enjoy most of his movies and performances. Maverick is definitely no exception. While it’s a little too silly for me, there are a few great quotes to uncover.

When Jodie Foster finally loses at the final poker table, she says. “I’ll just pretend like I was playing with someone else’s money.” It’s a cute line because she pretty much was playing with money Gibson’s character got for her. It earns a quick response from Gibson, “Shouldn’t be too hard.”

The best quote, which does serve as somewhat of an inside joke in my poker circles, is right before the final reveal when Gibson shows he “magically” pulled the Ace of spades on a draw to make his winning royal flush…the bad guy – named Angel, believe it or not – is furious that Gibson won’t check the card he was dealt. It’s his accent and attitude that sell the lines, it’s hard to convey that here in type, but if you’ve seen it you know what I’m talking about.

“You’re not gonna look at your card?” “What kinda poker you playin’? LOOK AT YOUR GOD DAMN CARD!”

Good stuff.

Rounders: A movie many more people are likely familiar with, about Matt Damon and a slimy Edward Norton (and let’s not forget Famke!!!!) playing cards in the underground of New York, with Damon’s character Mike having aspirations of making it to the big time. Great supporting cast, as well.

Funny enough, Malcovich’s Russian character Teddy KGB has the best quotes in this flick.

Right at the end when Damon beats him, after he gets pissed off he goes – “He beeeet meeee, straiiiiight up. Pay heeem, pay dat man, heees money.”

A few others from Teddy:

“Big man with new attitude, and you – won’t – be – pushed – a -round. I cawl.”

“You’re right Mike, I don’t heeave da spades.”

Norton’s character snake has a few choice quotes, as well.

“You know what cheers me up? Rolled up aces over kings. Check raising stupid tourists over and over again….”
“You know what grandma, I need your charity like I need a c— in my a—.”

Many of today’s poker pros credit the movie Rounders with starting them out on the poker road. Guys like Chris Moneymaker from and Jerry Yang from Full Tilt say they started playing poker because of Rounders.

Shade: Definitely an under the radar movie worth checking out. For some reason it never made it to the theater, but it has a high-profile cast including Stallone, Griffith, Jamie Foxx and Gabriel Byrne. It’s basically about a bunch of con artists and cheaters and it revolves mostly around poker. I can’t remember any specific quotes, but it doesn’t matter because Byrne’s accent is so damn cool in everything he makes everything he says quotable.

Case in point. “I caun’t feel my legs…….Kaisa'”

Yeah, bad ass.

A few others worth throwing in.

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure: One of the best scenes in the movie (aside from when they introduce the historical characters to Missy – “Bob Ghengis Khan”) is when they go back to the old West.

Billy The Kid: “What I win, I keep…..what you win, I keep.”

Bill and Ted together: “Sounds good Mr. the Kid!”

Casino Royale: I’m sure most of you are familiar with this movie since it came of fairly recently. During the scene right after Bond gets tricked into losing his money…as soon as he realizes it, the bad guy (Le Chiffre) says “You probably thought I was bluffing, Mr. Bond.” Then Bond’s face lights up with realization that Le Chiffre knew Bond was on to his so-called tell the entire time. Great scene.

Well that’s all I got…I’m sure there are a million more poker quotes to throw in, and maybe down the line after I’ve seen some more poker movies (or they make a new one!), I’ll post some more.