Friends: The One with All the Poker
The 18th episode of the extremely popular American sitcom, Friends was full of references to poker.
The American sitcom Friends became a global phenomenon from the first episode way back in 1994 right through to the 236th and last episode a decade later. The final episode of the show was watched by over 50 million American, and repeats of the show continue to rate well all over the world.
For poker fans, the 18th episode of the first season, which went to air on March 2, 1995, should stand out above all else.
Entitled "The One with All the Poker" (all Friends episode titles begin with the words "The One with"), the episode focuses on a series of poker contests between the guys (Ross, Chandler and Joey) and the ladies (Rachel, Monica and Phoebe).
After losing the first contest badly, the girls call in Monica's Aunt Iris, (played by Beverly Garland of My Three Sons fame, who passed away on Dec. 5 aged 82). An expert on the art of poker, Iris teaches the girls everything she knows, but the lesson fails to help them as they go on to lose the rematch and endure further taunts from the guys.
Meanwhile, Rachel has just had an interview for a dream job as a buyer for upscale department store Saks Fifth Avenue. During a third and final rematch, which ends with Rachel and Ross playing out for high stakes, Rachel gets the phone call telling her she has missed out on the position.
Determined to prove a point, Rachel raises Ross' 50 cents to 5 dollars, then berates him for attempting to fold after the other four already say they are out of the hand. The two then exchange raises until the pot stands at $42 after both borrow money from the bystanders.
Rachel lays down her cards, revealing a full house. Ross then folds to allow Rachel to win the hand, telling the guys to look at how happy it has made her. He then snatches the cards away before Chandler and Joey have a chance to see if he had the better hand.
The girls reveal their lack of knowledge of the game during the first match-up, when they find out Joey has been bluffing. "Oh I see, so then, you were lying," Phoebe accuses him. "About what?" Joey asks. "About how good your cards were," she says. "I was bluffing," Joey says. "Aha!" says Phoebe, "And what is bluffing? Is it not another word for lying?"
The girls are again exposed when Monica asks, "Ok, are we ready to play some serious poker?" to which Ross responds "Well are you sure? Phoebe just threw away two jacks because they didn't look happy."
Joey makes an excuse for one loss, saying he mistook a 3 for an 8 because it had chocolate on it.
We see another side to Ross early in the episode, when he tells Rachel, "I play to win, and in order for me to win, other people have to lose. So if you're going to play with me, don't expect me to be a nice guy, 'cause when I play poker...I'm not a nice guy."