The (un)Reality of Poker in the Movies Image

The (un)Reality of Poker in the Movies

By Film Threat Staff | April 17, 2024

Poker and movies have had a long history of collaboration. It doesn’t matter the movie’s genre or the year it was released; there is a high possibility that a game of poker will occur in the film. However, in these movies, in an attempt to dramatize and entertain, there can be an over-exaggeration about the game of poker. Players are doing things within the game or specific outcomes that would never occur in a real-life poker game. It builds perceptions about the poker game that do not pan out once someone plays it in real life.

Below, we will look at some unrealistic parts of poker that appear in movies.

Unrealistic perceptions of poker in movies

Here is a list of some things that occur in movies related to poker that are unrealistic compared to the game of poker in real life.

1. Players having the same winning hand several times—Some movies portray a player going on a winning streak with the same set of cards several games in a row. While there are only a limited number of cards in a deck of cards, there are a vast number of combinations a player can achieve in the game. So, while a player may go on a winning streak, it is highly unlikely they will do so with the same hand several times.

2. One player winning every game in one night of playing—Players have good nights and can go on a streak, but winning every game in one night is improbable. It is possible to win two or three hands, but if a group of people were to play fifteen rounds, one player is unlikely to win all fifteen rounds.

3. Players betting away something personal or high priced – In a movie, you can find a player who is very confident they will win that instead of money, they put up for grabs their watch or the deed to their house. A game of poker can get intense, but most people are not going to put something precious to them, such as their house, on the line for a game of poker. No matter how confident they may appear.

4. Players continuing to play after losing a lot of money – Movies like to portray characters who lose vast sums of money, if not all the money they have in their name, but refuse to quit. Players will play for large sums of money but will walk away if they have lost a considerable amount. Where this falls down even more in the modern era is the reality where these offshore poker sites have inbuilt protections to encourage you to quit if you’re losing too much, almost like the background character who’ll exclaim that they need to think of the wife and kids and walk away, only for the lead to pull it out of the fire with a big win.

5. Loud outburst—Movies build players’ perception once they win a big hand, having these loud outbursts, jumping around, etc. Poker is a game known for its respect amongst the players, whether in person or online. Even when they win a large sum of money, players maintain composure and simply pull out of the game or move on to the next match.

6. Trash talk—As mentioned previously, poker is a game based on respect and strategy. Players do not antagonize other players while waiting for them to make a move. This is especially true in professional poker, where it is almost entirely silent as players focus on the game instead of trying to trash-talk their fellow competitors.


The people in charge of a movie try to make them funny, entertaining, dramatic, etc. The film’s primary purpose is to attract people and keep them engaged with the movie and its plot. With this drive to entertain, the nuances typically associated with a poker game are not considered when implementing a poker scene. If portraying characters kicking and screaming when they win or lose a big hand or one person betting their entire bank account throughout the night on a poker game, make the movie or scene more entertaining. No matter how unrealistic it may be, if the people in charge of the movie believe it will make the film better, it will go in.

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