Poker has given the world some of its most colourful characters, tantalising tales ... Poker is immortalised ... Classics poker movies includes 'Big Hand For A Little.
Poker in popular culture Poker has given the world some of its most colourful characters, tantalising tales and seductive language.
Poker is immortalised Poker burst into the popular imagination one fateful evening in August 1876 when Doc Holliday and ‘Wild Bill’ Hickok sat down to play in a game in Deadwood, South Dakota.
Hickok broke one of his own golden rules and sat with his back to the door. It was a move which, with hindsight, could be described as one of the greatest ever errors of judgment at a poker table.
Hickok’s nemesis, Jack McCall, walked in and shot him in the back. Wild Bill's cards - two black aces, two black eights - became known as ‘the Dead Man's Hand’.
The biggest game in town Poker’s next game of historical note came in the summer of 1949. And what a game it was.
Nicholas ‘Nick the Greek’ Dandolos played Johnny Moss in a marathon high-stakes poker game in Benny Binion’s Horseshoe Casino, Las Vegas.
The game was played in public view (so the ever shrewd Binion could entice people into the casino) and lasted five months. The players took breaks only to sleep.
Moss eventually won ‘the biggest game in town’ – an estimated $2 million.
When Nick the Greek lost his last pot, he stood up, gave a slight bow and uttered what would become one of the most famous phrases in poker – ‘Mr Moss, I have to let you go’.
Hollywood plays its hand Hollywood LOVES poker. Classics poker movies includes ‘Big Hand For A Little Lady’, ‘The Cincinnati Kid’, ‘The Sting’, and ‘Sunset Trail’, while modern movies such as ‘Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels’, ‘Maverick’, ‘Ocean's Eleven’, and ‘Rounders’, have upped the ante in terms of realism and production values and kept the tradition of great poker movies alive.
Celebrities get the bug The list of Hollywood A-listers seduced by poker includes Ashton Kutcher, Bam Margera, Ben Affleck, Cameron Diaz, Carrie Fisher, Coolio, David Schwimmer, Don Cheadle, Ellen DeGeneres, Hank Azaria, Hayden Christensen, James Woods, Jennifer Tilley, Martin Sheen, Mimi Rogers, Robbie Williams, Shannon Elizabeth, and Tobey Maguire.
Irish celebrities playing at the highest level include Ken Doherty, Tommy Tiernan and Tony Cascarino.
Poker and language The jargon of poker is so expressive it has seeped readily into the English language and many phrases are recognised by all who speak them, whether they know their origins or not.
Phrases such as ‘ace in the hole’, ‘beats me’, ‘blue chip’, ‘call your bluff’, ‘cash in’, ‘pass the buck’, ‘poker face’, ‘stack up’, ‘up the ante’, ‘when the chips are down’, and ‘wild card’ have made the transition from the poker table into mainstream language.