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Poker Tips From the Movies

Poker often has a part to play in Hollywood movies, whether it has a starring role, or just a bit part.

Perhaps the most educational film about poker is Rounders, the 1998 film is which Matt Damon plays a young poker player who gives up the game after losing $30,000. He inevitably starts playing poker again (or it would have been a very short film) and ends up risking everything in a game against a Russian gangster, in an attempt to pay off his and a friend's debts.
Matt Damon's success at the game lies in his ability to read other people's 'tells'- subconscious movements that betray a player's feelings, no matter how good their poker face is:  “The key to the game is playing the man, not the cards.”
In Maverick, Mel Gibson's character also has a knack for reading tells. He puts Jodie Foster's Mrs Branson out of the game by reading her subconscious movements. She can't understand how Mel Gibson knew she was bluffing, as she didn't fidget with her ring or play with her hair.
“You held your breath,” Mel Gibson tells her, proving that even the smallest actions in poker can give us away. If you’re worried about a ‘tell’ giving you away, it’s probably best to stay safe and play online using sites such as
However, movies also teach us the danger of misreading people's tells. In Casino Royale, James Bond thinks the baddy is bluffing because he nervously twiddles chips between his fingertips. It turns out he's double bluffing and 007 loses hundreds of thousands of dollars.
For other tips on how not to lose at poker, go to the Bwin site where they have a 'how to play' page. In this section, Bwin explains the rules of the different types of Texas Hold'em games, as well as providing video tutorials and a glossary of poker terms, so that you can swot up on the game and give yourself the best chance of winning.