Friday, November 30, 2007

Poker is a lot like gunslinging.

One of my all time favorite film characters is Doc Holiday from the movie Tombstone, played by Val Kilmer. Tombstone is not a movie about poker like Rounders or Shade or Lucky You, but Holiday's one-liners about poker are priceless.

The film follows the Earp brothers' ill-fated venture into the casino business. Along the way they meet up with Doc Holiday and war against a gang of cowboys leading to the fight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, AZ. I don't want to spoil the movie for anyone who has not seen it. That being said, go out and see it. It is easily in my top three favorite westerns, along with The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and Unforgiven.

Doc Holiday


Doc Holiday in particular is a fascinating character. He is portrayed as both the best gun slinger and the best card player in the west. In a shot out I imagine the most important quality to have, even more than marksmanship, is an almost reckless lack of fear to loss of life. Wyatt is described as perfectly calm under fire, and the same can be said for Holiday. We all know the risk involved with gambling. Although we may not fear for our lives, we do fear bankruptcy.

It is a fear I don't want to completely shed. When playing with money you need for food or rent the fear is perfectly healthy. It is your mind telling you that you should not put that money at risk. On the other hand, after you put money aside that you can afford to lose if the game turns sour, you must play without fear of saying "all-in!" If you can't then you should listen to the words of the wise Doc Holiday.

"Maybe poker's just not your game."

1 comment:

  1. [...] Shade is my favorite poker movie. Minority Report and 2001: A Space Odyssey are my favorite non-trilogy sci-fi films. Tombstone and Unforgiven are my favorite westerns. I just wrote about why I love Tombstone from a poker angle here. [...]

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