Runner Runner is an American crime thriller film that was directed by Brad Furman, written by David Levien and Brian Koppelman and starring by Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake, Anthony Mackie and Gemma Arerton. It was released on 4th Oct, 2013, grossed $62 million but received generally negative review due to its not so unique nature.
Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake) is a candidate at Princeton University and a marketing representative for online gambling firms. Unfortunately, the dean put an end to his referral business. Since he could no longer keep up with his tuition payment, he risks his remaining savings in the hope of winning at online poker only to see all drained away by a player with an uncanny win ratio. Convinced that someone has hustled out his tuition money, he takes a flight to Costa Rica to meet Ivan Block (Ben Affleck), CEO of the company that Richie suspects of cheating. Impressed by Richie’s gambling knowledge, Ivan offers him a dream job as the manager of the company with a seven figure salary. However, it is long before Richie is contacted by Shavers, an FBI agent who puts Richie in great danger
Shortcomings of the film
Generally Runner Runner is a generic and flat drama film from the beginning to the end. It fails to do anything interesting with the gambling subject which in the end is nothing more than a familiar story about opportunistic business people and corrupt officials.
The biggest drawback is the film story that moves so fast leaving no time to develop dramatic tension. The brief 90 minutes is spent highlighting key moments between characters but failing to provide subtle moments of story development that separate the great drama stories.
Whenever momentum seems to stall, Furman introduces a new character or a threat –Agent Shavers is brought into the mix for some yelling or someone gets punched in the face- because the characters and the story are too thin to maintain interest independently.
Another major shortcoming of this film is the lack of interconnectivity between the characters and the gambling world. Throughout the film, Furman attempts to keep reminding viewers that Runner Runner is about gambling through exposition and metaphors.
As a result, we can conclude that Runner Runner is a shallow and superficial representation of the gambling world. It prioritizes of generic story rather than innovative drama. However, the few solid performances along the line hint that Furman lost sight of any captivating hooks in his film and instead delivered a familiar and bland narrative that takes very few risks.
Poker is dubbed as the America’s game. It is played by politicians, celebrities, athletes and presidents alike. On any day, you will find a channel airing it but it is not played on a stadium or a field but on tables and chairs that can be found in any room.
About All in, the poker movie
All In, the poker movie is a documentary that was released on 29th July, 2011 in the U.S. It follows the history of poker from its humble Texas beginnings personified by Amarillo Slim and Doyle Brunson to the height of its popularity and subsequent fall.
Directed by Douglas Tirola, All in, the poker movie portrays the history of the game like never before with testimonies from dozens of industry executives, celebrities and professional poker players and a special focus on the miraculous World Series of Poker win by Chris Moneymaker in 2003.
This film is broken into segments which are dedicated to the biggest moments of the game’s development from the 19992 World Series through the drastic explosion that came in 2003 to 15th April, 2011, a day the poker community refers to as the Black Friday.
Agenda of the film
The Department of Justice and the FBI shut down the three largest online poker sites – Full Tilt Poker, Absolute and PokerStars accusing them of operating Ponzi schemes. Citing the 2006,s Unlawful internet gambling enforcement Act and the Act of1961, the closure of the three online poker giants led to the fall of the booming community of online players most of whom earned their living by playing poker.
The release of Al in, the poker movie a year later aimed at disputing the government efforts to control online gambling. The documentary portrayed poker as a game that symbolizes the American dream.
The film begins and ends with groups of people relating where they were when they heard the news that the government was cracking down online poker and how they felt about it. Some people even compared the moment to the attack on Pearl Harbor or the assassination of Jon F Kennedy.
Though this film is able to pass its message, it is padded with cheer leading such that it does not have serious exploration of poker in different cultures or the consequences of its global reach and rapid rise.
Watching Al in may not make you drop everything and head to Texas to play a round of poker but it will give you a more appreciation for the game.
If there is one fictional character that has transcended over decades, in style, poise and action, it is MI6 James Bond! Played by notable actors like Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig, James Bond has been the cynosure of action since time immemorial. The very sight of this well dressed, chivalrous gentleman sitting cross legged with a cigar in his mouth and with a magazine in his hand, makes women go weak on their knees! And, it appears that he is betrothed to lady luck when he throws his charm in spades at the casinos!
So, what is it with James Bond and Casinos?
Ian Fleming, the prodigal behind the creation of James Bond character, would not have imagined in his wildest dreams about how his pet character was going to spawn countless movies of thriller and action for decades to come! His calm demeanour, astute sense of dressing, his keen interest in gadgets and his unsaid love for casinos mark him to be a man of different shades, interesting shades.
And ever since Sean Connery as the legendary James Bond, aced the Baccarat in the 1962 movie Dr. No, this game just became the face of Bond’s lucky charm in casinos!
Baccarat is an intriguing game that needs 6 to 8 decks of cards and, can have a solo player or up to five or six players. For every player, there are three hands that come into play – the banker hand, the player hand and, a tie. For every hand, two cards are drawn out of the shoe after the bets are placed on the said hand. The face cards and the tens have zero value. The Ace has a value of 1 and, other cards with numbers hold their value.
Now, when a bet is placed on either the banker or the player, two cards are drawn for each. If the total hand value for either of the hand adds up to 9, it is a natural win. In this game, there is no value for two digit numerals and hence, if the hand value crosses 9, the value is what the one’s position in the numeral holds.
For instance, if the hand value total is 13, the hand value will be 3 only. The winning returns on banker hand or player are paid in the ratio of 1:1. However, for every win on the banker, the casino is entitled a 5 percent commission on the winning returns as banker bets have a lower casino advantage.
The pay off on tie is the highest with the ratio being either 9:1 or 8:1, when the bets are placed and if, the hand values on both hands total up to the same numeral. However, in that case the bets are returned resulting in another draw.
Player hand rules: If the hand value of the first two cards adds up to 6 or more, a third card cannot be drawn. However, if the hand value is less than or equal to 5, then the third card is drawn.
Banker Hand rules: If the hand value of the first drawn cards adds up to 7 or more, then the additional card cannot be drawn and, the banker hand must stand. However, if the sum total of numerals is 0 or 1 or 2, then the third card can be drawn. In case, the value is from 3, 4, 5, 6 then, the drawing of the card depends on the numeral value of the player hand and, whether the player hand will draw the successive card. The other game that soared high, with Bond written all over it, was Texas Hold’em Poker.
Playing Texas Hold’em Poker
Is the expression poker face derived from the unperturbed expression Daniel Craig gave during the Texas Hold’em Poker game, much to the chagrin of the antagonist Le Chiffre? The game on the other hand underwent a magnetic transformation with Bond’s magical touch!
Texas Hold ‘em Poker comprises of a poker set that contains, a single or a couple of decks of cards, 300 or more poker chips and, a dealer. As per the rules, every player is given two cards face down, known as hole cards. In the first round of betting, the player may choose one of the five actions: Check, Fold, Call, Bet or Raise.
Check implies, that the card is still in the player’s hand and, he chooses not to bet.
Fold means the player faces a bet, but chooses to not call and hence, throws away his cards.
Call is when a player’s bet matches the opponent’s bet.
Bet as its name suggests means, the player is now willing to put money on the table.
Raise means that the player is already facing a bet but, he goes ahead and puts more money on the table.
When the game begins, two players from the table place their blinds (ensuring money on the table in the form of poker chips). Then, the dealer shuffles the deck and, gives each player two cards face down.
The first round of betting is known as the pre-flop. Whether the player wishes to bet, check or fold depends on the starting hand.
When first round of betting is completed, three shared cards are placed face up on the table. This is known as the Flop.
Betting rounds continue until a fourth shared card joins the table. This is called the Turn.
Following this, there is a third round of betting that results in the fifth card joining the card brigade. This is known as the River.
Now, the fourth and final betting round is initiated. This round is showdown where both players reveal their cards. From the two, whoever is able to bring the highest ranking five card poker hand from their two cards along with the five shared cards on the table, wins the game.