WHAT MOVIES GET WRONG ABOUT CARD GAMES

what movies get wrong about card games

In this week's edition of Poker Nation's blogs about poker in India, we have, WHAT MOVIES GET WRONG ABOUT CARD GAMES

There are certain exceptions but in general there are a few points that TV and movies tend to get wrong about poker and other card games:

Relative Hand Strength

If you went by the movies you’d probably assume the only method to win a pot in poker is by hitting a four-of-a-kind or Royal Flush.

In reality, the odds of hitting a Royal Flush are roughly in the range of 649,739-1. There’s a good chance you’ll never even encounter a Royal Flush unless you play a considerable amount.

Successful poker pros play a wide range of hands and poker tournaments are quite often decided by a modest pair or even ace-high at times. If you’ve witnessed the famous Casino Royale straight flush hand scene then you know what we’re talking about.

When to Show Your Cards

When was the last time you watched a dramatic poker battle where a player showed the winning hand FIRST? Directors always have the winning hand (usually the protagonist) shown last in order to create drama and tension.

In actuality this is very rarely the case and there is a designated order for revealing your hand. Another method that directors crank up the drama is by having the victor pause before revealing their hand.

In reality this is completely at odds with poker etiquette and a good way to get an entire table of players to dislike you.

Card Counting

The 2009 movie Hangover gets this aspect of the card game wrong. Toward the final act of the film the three protagonists engage in card counting and subsequently win a substantial amount of money to pay the ransom to have their friend returned back safely. After withdrawing a couple thousand dollars from one of their bank accounts they begin to play. During the playing montage they show obvious plays that would never be executed by a professional card player. Some of the plays shown are the splitting of 5s and the splitting of tens. There is no instance in a counting game that calls for splitting 5s. But to be fair there are some situations that warrant for spitting tens, but no professional ever does that because it draws too much attention.

The question begs to be asked: Why is this an ongoing theme in Hollywood movies and TV shows? The likely reason is it offers entertainment value to the movie patron. Another reason is that in order for the studios to be granted permission to use these premises, the casinos insist that such misplays be adapted into the storyline so that movie-goers are induced to imitate what they see on screen and lose more money. This is more plausible when considering major studios like MGM, because they themselves own several casino properties all around the globe and its return on investment can be hedged with the bad play supported in the movie.