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Ocean’s Eleven – Poker on screen

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Ocean's Eleven - Poker on screen

The beauty of this week’s Poker on Screen is that, like much of what you’re about to see, there’s little to no point in it being there at all.

Poker is often an element that is brought into movies to imbibe the overall experience with a little glitz, glamour and good-time gangster hi-jinks. What, then, is the purpose of poker in a movie already packed with pranks, topped up with tuxedos and positively drowning in dimes?

Brad Pitt is leading the scene, explaining to his underlings the process of calling out a bluff, in this instance being made by George ‘Pour me a very small cup of coffee’ Clooney, who in the days around the release of this movie, namely 2001, was still a five-bet deep into a wager with Cameron Diaz that he wouldn’t marry again before he was 50. In case you’re wondering, he won the bet, marrying his wife Amal when he was 53.

Clearly, in this scene, Brad Pitt’s character, Robert ‘Rusty’ Ryan is living up to his name in the game of poker. While Clooney’s character, the Danny Ocean of the title continues to bet bigger and bigger with each street, string betting all over the place, Rusty is certain – he’s bluffing. Danny Ocean, leader of the gang, lord of all surveys and in the context of the movie, the winner of the WSOP Main Event, F.A. Cup and the Grand National rolled into one, is bluffing.

Call after call goes into the middle, chips flying everywhere. Eventually, the hand reaches its conclusion and ‘Gorgeous George’ as he was nicknamed during this era, turns over quad nines.

Danny Ocean is proved a master of nothing, while Rusty Ryan’s poker class shut its doors the very next week when literally no-one except the cleaning lady turned up… and she took his bankroll.

Here it is in all it’s glory. Remember, take notes, learn from every twitch at the table and above all, take one very important lesson from what you’re about to see. That lesson is: never, ever, under any circumstances, listen to a damn word that a Brad Pitt character tells you about poker.’
Ocean’s Eleven (2001):

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