While I was winding down tonight, I watched the documentary ‘All In’. This is a movie about poker and a rather good one at that. The movie starts off with ‘Black Friday’ and works its way back from there. Now if you don’t know what ‘Black Friday’ is in the poker world, it is the day the U.S. government shut down the two biggest online poker sites. Cases that are still ongoing.
Americans who spout so much about freedom are actively hunted down by their government for playing poker and in particular online poker which the government considers illegal thanks to a bill passed by Republicans during the George W. Bush Presidency. This makes us unique in the developed world. As the movie pointed out, the government chose to prosecute online poker players and sites but didn’t go after Wall Street bankers and their shenanigans that created the economic crash.
If you think this movie is about Black Friday, you would be wrong. It starts and ends with Black Friday but what I really like about it most is that it gives you a history of the game. It talks about the game through the 20th century in America and really picks it up after Amarillo Slim’s win at the WSOP.
This was great for me because poker is a sport, unlike other sports, where the history is really lost mainly because it doesn’t affect your play. If you are a basketball player, knowing what Michael Jordan did or learning to shoot like Pistol Pete will further your game. A golfer might want to get that Tiger Woods swing down. In poker, I think experience is the best teacher because it is more of a mental event. I can watch guys on tv or learn about Amarillo Slim but I will never know what was going through their head or how I would truly react without actually being in the situation. I think this is why a lot of the history gets lost.
For me it was great to see the likes of an Amarillo Slim and learn his contribution to the game or learn how the movie Rounders came about and the Mayfield Room – which everyone has heard of but few have physically experienced. If you think the history would be boring you would be wrong again because there is a parade of famous faces and experts that liven up the dialogue by sharing their experiences.
Whether you are a poker player or not this movie should entertain you. It will also give you a glimpse into the world of poker both in what they want you to see in front of the tv cameras and what is happening behind the scenes where money has the biggest influence.