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Deal: Poker on the Big Screen
Set in Las Vegas, "the Deal" is a movie about high stakes Texas Hold'em poker. It was released in April 2008
A visit to Monte Carlo or to the Las Vegas Strip are exciting events, especially for the first timers. The architecture, the Mediterranean or desert backdrop, the restaurants and of course the casinos all come as a staggering and exciting surprise.
The idea of making a movie in such a setting is exciting too and many gambling movies were filmed at these locations. What could be more thrilling than the beautiful and under-dressed women, the men in their tuxedos with red rose buttonholes, the aura of drinks and sumptuous food?
But very few gambling movies have been box office hits and the others are just movies that go nowhere. To date the 2006 remake of Casino Royale is the best, but that relied partly on an off-topic cliff-hanger in the shape of a wild car chase through the streets. Perhaps it's because most men can see themselves behind the wheel of a car at high speed, but not holding a couple of cards and waiting for a flush or a full house.
Deal: the plot
The movie Deal is set against the world of high stakes poker and follows the story of Alex Stillman (Bret Harrison), a cocky, hotshot, card-playing senior at Yale University. Alex dreams of becoming a professional Texas Hold'em poker player but does not yet have the skill to master the table.
Fortunately for Alex, a chance encounter introduces him to retired poker legend, Tommy Vinson (Burt Reynolds). Tommy was at the top of his game twenty years ago but gave it all up in order to save his family.
On meeting Alex, Tommy realizes he can regain his own self-confidence, pride and a poker championship title by turning Alex into his protégé. The two pair up and master every tournament they enter. The winning streak and friendship between the two is eventually thwarted by the interference of a stunningly beautiful call girl, Michelle (Shannon Elizabeth). The pair eventually part ways and separately prepare for the World Poker Tour. Only one will take home the championship title.
As the critic said, the poker sequences are the best things about Deal.