Film Review: Poker Club

SYNOPSIS:

Four friends discover and accidentally kill a burglar — who may not be alone — in the kitchen during their weekly poker night.

REVIEW:

The Poker Club is a movie that is supposedly based on a novel by Ed Gorman of the same title. It revolves around a group of buddies that have gotten together once a week to play Texas Holdem poker. In a somewhat cliche opening to the movie, the main character Aaron reveals that the events of the next 72 hours would change their lives.

While only 1 hour and 20 minutes long, the Poker Club actually felt like it was 72 hours in length, and that’s not a compliment. Early on we start with a “friendly” game of poker in Aaron’s shed. He is joined by best friend and business partner Curtis, a former Major League pitcher turned strip club owner Bill, and teacher and cokehead Neil.

A robber tries to break into the house and the four capture him and tie him up. For some reason, Bill decides to hit him in the head and this kills the robber. You can guess what happens next. The four cover up the murder and try to go back to their normal lives. Cue the creepy “heavy breathing” phone calls. We kid you not.

It becomes apparent early in the movie that Aaron is having marital problems and the source of his problems, his ex-secretary, still has a thing for him. She shows up to his house and he sends her away, only to have her found less than 1/4 mile from his house with her throat slit.

Cue the obligatory phone call with Trudy, his wife. During this call the wife makes you think when she is in on things when she tells her husband “you don’t realize what you have started.” He doesn’t catch on, but it is obvious to the viewer that she knows something is up.

The police obviously suspect Aaron and this becomes intensified when they find the dead body with Aaron’s address on it. The wife briefly returns but then leaves within a day when she accidentally finds out about the murder. For future reference, talking about a murder over a phone within earshot of your wife is not a good idea.

From this point, one by one, the poker club is killed off. Neil is first, followed by Curtis. The police are closing in on Aaron, bit on a hunch, the female detective in charge of the case interviews the wife and we begin to get a picture of what is going on.

The detective talks to Trudy and soon we find out that she was having an affair with Bill and that he is in love with her. During this time, Bill and Aaron are back at the house and a whack across the back confirms what the interview was building up to. Bill was the mastermind behind the robber, who was sent there to kill Aaron.

Aaron gets away and makes his way to the shed where they play poker to get his gun. He gets the gun, but Bill knocks it away. As Bill is ready to deliver the decisive blow with his bat, he is shot through the heart from behind by the female detective. The movie then ends with the same sound bit with Aaron claiming that the next 72 hours would change their lives forever.

To call this a poker themed movie is a bit of a stretch. At best, The Poker Club is a bad Lifetime movie or late night network TV movie. It is extremely predictable and could have been cut back to about 40 minutes in length. There were many scenes of dialog that I basically fast forwarded through. If you want to watch The Poker Club, don’t buy the DVD. Better stream it online or watch it on Netflix. However, if this got you interested and want to learn how to play Texas Holdem poker, check out this guide to see the Texas Holdem Poker rules. Who knows, maybe you’ll turn out to be a better poker player than the characters of the movie.

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