Everybody loves a good comedy and writers are often pressed to create scenes in which they can set their big characters up for lots of laughs.
Sitcoms are perhaps the most challenging, they’re expected to deliver something different every week, further enhancing their characters foibles and personality traits. In order to highlight those amusing angles, they need to place their characters into situations; hence ‘sit com’ or ‘situation comedy’.
Poker is a classic vehicle by which to deliver laughs and even plot movement in films. It presents the opportunity to place several characters together and work with the location as much as the plot.
So we’ve selected four we think work perfectly in film and TV.
Friends is an American classic, a sitcom which defined a whole generation. It became part of common culture across the world, with the words ‘we’re on a break’ drawing laughs across Europe, Australia and Asia as well as the U.S.
The trials and tribulations of the six friends were always amusing, never more so than when they sat down to play poker. The girls weren’t completely up to speed with the rules, Phoebe even giving away two jacks because they ‘looked unhappy’.
Fans of the series were left delighted when an unscripted reunion special was suggested last year. Our article titled ‘Friends Reunion Special in The Works at HBO Max’ gave fans hope of seeing Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Joey and Phoebe together one last time.
The 40-Year-Old Virgin
The poker scene in The 40-Year-Old Virgin is integral to the movie’s plot because it’s where Steve Carrell’s Andy is revealed as a virgin. Without it, the entire premise of the film wouldn’t work. It’s also a nice reminder of the social aspect of the game, friends just coming together and chatting about the world, or in this case something a little racier.
The film, which Screenrant have as one of Carrell’s top four roles, also helped launched the careers of Seth Rogan and Paul Rudd, both of whom have gone on to be fine comedy actors recognizable across the world.
Only Fools and Horses
This British sitcom contains perhaps one of the funniest poker scenes of all time, serving up a classic take on cheating with cards. Del Boy, played by David Jason, is a well-known but lovable crook. He’s locked in a game with Boycie, a typical used car salesman. Both men are cheating to win with hilarious consequences.
It played on the perception that poker games were easily rigged and manipulated which perhaps created an illusion that some poker providers have worked hard to prove incorrect. Del Boy and Boycie wouldn’t get away with their antics with the current crop of online platforms. PPPoker are one such provider who outline on their LinkedIn page that they’re committed to providing a fair and safe platform for players, hopefully dispelling the myths built up by scenes such as this over the years. That wouldn’t stop these two though, as their scene takes place long before poker fans could play a hand at home or even visualise an online world.
Fresh Prince of Bel Air
The Fresh Prince’s subtle poker scene might also have had an element of cheating going on, but certainly not to the extent of Del Boy and Boycie.
Rather than focusing on the actual poker, it delivers a strong message about respecting elders. His Gran doesn’t check his hand as she wins each time by only looking at her own cards. Whilst it’s obviously ridiculous, it pretty much typifies the humor around which Will Smith’s first major role was delivered. We might soon see a repeat on the small screen too, as Den of Geek suggest that Smith is working on a spin-off from the classic nineties series.