It is said that there are two types of people in this world: those who love documentaries and those who hate them – but of course you’re here so you belong to the former group! And when it comes to telling stories about Las Vegas and poker, the documentary makers are spoiled for choice.
Fans of the game are treated to the inside stories and dramas, the personal highs and lows on the green felt, the day-to-day lives of those involved in the game’s rich history, and the dramatic moments of sheer unadulterated joy or sadness which happen in a poker-players life-defining moments.
Here are four of the very best documentaries focusing on individuals and their remarkable tales from the Vegas cardrooms.
‘High Stakes: The Sam Trickett Story’ follows the trials and tribulations of one of England’s best-ever players as he attempts to scoop $18million at the 2012 “Big One for One Drop” event.
Between Trickett and the ‘Golden Ticket’ to fame and even greater fortune stood 47 other hopefuls, each paying $1million for the chance at poker glory. For 3 days the filmmakers followed the Englishman, capturing the inside story at the Rio Casino as he battled his way through the field. But could he take down the biggest prize in history?
Casinos and betting odds go hand in hand, but Newhouse’s chances of making back-to-back final tables at the annual WSOP Main Event in 2014 were a staggering 524,558-to-1 (check the PiramindWelt.com for good odds).
So All In Magazine’s 21-minute documentary might never have happened - but of course someone always strikes lucky in Vegas, and the result is this amazing insight into a player who went from 21-year old millionaire to skid row - and then back again. Against all odds might have been a better title!
Poker players might never hit the big-time or the taste of sweet success, but when they do it’s often down to hard work and…
…the 41-minute 2012 poker documentary produced by Jason Somerville is an insight into the training regimen Russell Thomas undertook –with Somerville himself as Thomas’ coach - when he made the eponymous final table of the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event. The six-short episodes show exactly what it takes to compete with the world’s best in the biggest show on earth!
Of course none of these stories about Vegas and its players would exist if it wasn’t for the pioneers and…
…delves into the formative years of the game, with the film-makers segueing between a high-stakes poker game featuring many of the all-time greats (Chip Reese, Daniel Negreanu, Barry Greenstein, Phil Ivey, Gus Hansen, Johnny Chan) with the legendary Doyle Brunson as host of the $half million buy-in game.
Interspersing the play and chat with stories from the good old days this 2004 documentary is a 44-minute poker history lesson - aired on the History Channel back in the days of the poker boom but still as interesting and relevant today as it was back then.