(Distributed Dec. 12, 2006)
ACTION-PACKED BOND FLICK GOES AWRY IN POKER SCENES
Sure, Casino Royale isn’t a poker movie, but…
Why does a flick that stuns you with a thrilling foot chase through a construction site and amazes you with the dramatic sinking of a large building in Venice have to botch a key poker scene in which our hero James Bond must win at Texas hold’em?
Let’s blame it on Hollywood flair.
The thing is, from a poker point of view, moviegoers planning to venture soon into a card room for the first time should forget about half of what they saw happen at the felt in the 21st official film of the 44-year-old spy adventure series.
The game was no-limit hold’em, a 21st century update to Ian Fleming’s 1953 novel in which the characters played baccarat. Nine players put up $10 million each — with one $5 million rebuy optional — for a one-table sit-and-go, winner take all.
Bond, portrayed by series newcomer Daniel Craig, must win the $100 million to prevent the villainous Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) from financing terrorists. Agent 007 eventually won, of course, and the poker scene yielded Bond’s best one-liner after a poisoned-drink interlude: “I’m sorry, that last hand nearly killed me.”
However, here are moments from the poker sequence you should never see in your local card room:
* DON’T SPLASH THE POT — Time after time, players tossed their bets haphazardly into the pot with chips flying everywhere. When they shoved all-in, for added drama they toppled their stacks toward the center of the table, making a true chip count impossible.
A warning: Splash the pot more than once in a card room and you could earn a 10-minute penalty in a tournament or get booted from a cash game.
* DON’T SLOW-ROLL YOUR HAND — Bond dumped his initial $10 million buy-in when his monster full house, kings over aces, lost to the bad guy’s quad jacks (two jacks were showing on the community board). In Hollywood fashion, at showdown Le Chiffre turned up his two hole cards with one jack showing, then after a dramatic pause slid the top card aside to reveal the fourth jack.
To add insult atop injury, he threw a wisecrack at Bond, who just sat there looking at the cards in stunned silence (we’ve all been there, James!).
The message: Skip the showdown theatrics when you’re playing in a card room. You can have some fun in a home game with friends and family, but in a casino setting it is bad etiquette to slow-roll your winning hand to show up your opponent.
* FOLLOW THE RULES — Two major rules were broken in the movie poker game. Although they were playing “table stakes” — meaning you can’t pull more betting money from your pocket in the middle of a hand — the dealer allowed the villain to wager his new Aston Martin DBS by tossing the keys into the pot in an early all-in confrontation with Bond.
On the final hand, with two players already all-in for the main pot of about $25 million, Bond and Le Chiffre continued to bet their hands, creating a huge side pot for all of the remaining cash. So far, so good. The scene technically goes awry, however, when at showdown the hands are exposed opposite the order prescribed by poker rules. Drama was served, not reality.
The lesson: Know the rules of poker before you play in a card room (they’re easy to find online.) Also, check out each card room’s unique rules, usually posted on a wall. Finally, for the integrity of the game, if you see a rules violation, immediately call it to the attention of the dealer or floor supervisor.
One last tip: If Casino Royale put you in the mood for cinematic poker, go rent The Cincinnati Kid (1965), the best poker movie ever, starring Steve McQueen and Edward G. Robinson, or Rounders (1998), starring Matt Damon and Ed Norton, the movie that helped fuel the current poker boom.
E-mail your poker questions and comments to email@example.com for use in future columns. To find out more about Russ Scott and read previous LuckyDog Poker columns, visit www.creators.com or www.luckydogpoker.com.
COPYRIGHT 2006 RUSS SCOTT
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