The Texas Hold 'em Tournament in Casino Royale has been voted the best poker scene in cinematic history. Daniel Craig’s first outing as James Bond sees him take on terrorist Le Chiffre, played by Mads Mikkelson in a tense match-up. With over $120 million in the pot, the stakes are high but spoiler alert – 007 wins the lot when Le Chiffre makes the mistake of thinking he has Bond’s game plan figured out. The second best poker scene of all time is from 1988’s Rain Man which starred Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman as siblings. In it, Charlie Babbitt (Cruise) takes his uniquely talented brother, Raymond Babbitt (Hoffman) to a casino and they play Blackjack.
The third spot in the poll of 2,000 adults went to the Five Card Draw scene from The Sting where Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman) attempts to defeat mobster, Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw). The research was commissioned by 888poker.com, to celebrate the World Series of Poker which starts today (July 4th). A spokesman said, “There are all manner of twists and turns in a game of poker so it is perfect for cinema. In many of the scenes featured in the top 10 moviegoers are able to get some sense of the pressure and intensity of a real game. The game is very unpredictable and no game is ever the same so you’re never short of surprises whether you’re watching it or taking part.”
Goodfellas (1990) also made the top 10 – specifically the scene where Spider (Michael Imperioli) forgets to get Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) his drink during a game of poker. And Tommy overreacts in true Joe Pesci fashion. The poker scene from Cool Hand Luke (1967) also featured in it Luke (Paul Newman) plays against his fellow inmates and (spoiler) wins the game by showing his great bluffing skills. Other iconic poker-featuring movies include Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998), The Cincinnati Kid (1965) and Maverick (1994). And Casino (1995), which also starred Joe Pesci along with Robert De Niro and Sharon Stone, appeared in the top 10 twice. Aside from intensity and tension, the key components to a poker scene according to those polled are an unexpected twist, high stakes, and a miraculous comeback.
Thirty-nine percent find watching poker, in general, to be entertaining and as such 26 percent think this is why the game works so well in the film. However, just 27 percent said they understand the rules of the game. Carried out through OnePoll, the research found a third of Brits have played poker at one time or another. The top three most popular variations of the game are Texas hold'em, Seven-card stud and Draw poker. A spokesman for 888poker.com added, “As the results show, poker is very popular in the UK – whether it is played for fun or taken slightly more seriously. But perhaps this is one reason why movies featuring games of poker go down so well with audiences.”Read More