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Poker for Dummies
Poker for Dummies
Actors: Chris Moneymaker, Barry Shulman
Director: Andrea Ambandos
Genres: Special Interests, Educational
NR     2004     0hr 50min

Anyone can win at poker - and that means you! This easy-to-follow program walks you through the fundamentals, rules, and strategies of today's hottest card game. Whether you're a novice, a home player, or a new casino or c...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Chris Moneymaker, Barry Shulman
Director: Andrea Ambandos
Genres: Special Interests, Educational
Sub-Genres: Home & Garden, Educational
Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 07/13/2004
Original Release Date: 01/01/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2005
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 0hr 50min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Probably Best As A Rental, Not A Purchase
K. Palmer | Illinois | 08/04/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I'm a recent convert to Texas Hold 'Em and just wanted to get the basics of the game down and rented this DVD. The show is hosted by 2003 World Series of Poker champion Chris Moneymaker and is intended to show the basics of the game, not high-end strategy moves. Chris goes through basics such as the ranking of hands in poker (pairs, full house), explains betting lingo (check, raise, call) and gives etiquette pointers. They show a hand of Hold 'Em being played by a group of people and explained the various options each bettor had in each round. That was helpful to me as it goes so fast on TV. Chris also looks fairly comfortable in front of the camera.

Chris and another poker legend (whose name now escapes me) explain various strategies for playing depending on the hand that you receive and where you are sitting in relation to the dealer button. It's very quick and will certainly not be useful to somebody who has played for a while.

A "bonus" section of other poker games is also included (Omaha, 7 Card Stud, 5 Card Stud), but only give a quick basics of the games. I think this is included to try to drum up business for the other Dummies card game DVDs and books, as there is a commercial for them at the end of the disk. The disc is about 50 minutes long, of which about 35 minutes is dedicated to Hold 'Em, 12 minutes to the other games and the rest to commercials.

If you want to learn to play Texas Hold 'Em, rent this to start and then buy the Donohue Texas Hold 'Em computer game to practice (see my recent review)."
Not so good... | Michigan | 11/02/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)

"Chris Moneymaker is the host of Poker for Dummies, the DVD designed literally for dummies that want to play poker. In terms of presentation this is in a lot of ways the best production I've seen among poker videos. Do the sleek graphics, music and proper editing alone make it worth watching, though?

There are two kinds of poker books and/or videos: those that sincerely care about the theories and possibilities in how and why the game works, which I call inspired poker works, and those that don't really care, the uninspired (aka cashing in on the poker fad). To me, and I know I shouldn't have turned to the "for dummies" series and expected something enlightening, this DVD is about 45 minutes of worthless, uninspired trash plus some commercials at the end.

To be fair, the makers of the film were aiming pretty low, and it's clear from the start that the work is aimed at total beginners who have absolutely never played poker before. After a couple minutes of introductory fluff, they begin the content of the video with a lengthy poker basics segment covering how you win hands, poker chips, hand ranks, betting, and poker etiquette. The hand ranking section is an excruciating 4 minute explanation of every possible hand from high card up to a royal flush. This is something you could learn on any poker website for free, and I can't imagine anyone anywhere reading a hand ranking chart for anywhere near 4 minutes. By the end of this segment 1/5 of the video is now over.

After the poker basics segment comes a section specifically dealing with Texas Hold `Em. Enter Card Player magazine owner and editor, Barry Shulman, to take a little of the heat off Moneymaker in teaching the sequence of events in Hold `Em. The two trade off the narrator duties through this section, which is pretty repetitive mentioning the option to check, raise, call or fold, all the way around the table for the pre-flop, flop, turn and river betting rounds. There is no mention of strategy at all in this section; it just goes through the bare bones sequence of events. This section is ten minutes long and we're now about halfway through the video. We've learned that you can check, bet, call or fold and the hand ranks so far.

The following strategy section touches on positional strength, pre-flop standards, multi-way vs. heads up, playing the blinds, playing the flop, turn and river. This section is a little under 7 minutes long, so they really just introduce the various concepts I listed and don't provide any real info on strategy whatsoever. This video spends almost as much time on hand ranks as it does on all strategy combined.

The next section about bluffs and tells is a lot more organized and would make a decent introduction to these concepts for a beginner. Moneymaker gives some basic bluffing concepts and Shulman runs down a list of common tells. This is the best part of the video by far.

After Moneymaker's Top Ten World Series Secrets, there are a few minutes introducing other games like Omaha, 7 card stud and 5 card draw. If you don't count these brief introductions and the commercials that run after them, this video is about 35 minutes of actual poker content and the usefulness of that content is highly questionable.

On top of all the terribleness I've already mentioned Moneymaker appears fidgety and uncomfortable at various points throughout the video, while sounding comfortable and well-rehearsed in his lines. Somehow the juxtaposition of a comfortable narrative with his fidgeting hand motions and awkward head movements is way more off-putting than if he was merely completely uncomfortable. It gave me the willies!

Conclusion: This video isn't even worth watching if you already know the hand ranks and sequence of play in Texas Hold `Em. Even if you don't know those things, I suggest you don't buy this one. No one could ever watch this more than once. This is a rental at best."
A Real Tweener - Kinda Good Yet Kinda Bad for Everyone
D. R. Jeanclerc | Brunswick, OH USA | 10/01/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

"There's no doubt that Poker is enjoying a real resurgence in popularity due in large parts to the omnipresence on TV and the Internet and the resulting (mis)perception that average guys and gals can excel right out of the gate.

The "Poker for Dummies" DVD is geared toward the real newbie who doesn't want to look silly when first setting foot into a casino, card room or even friendly neighborhood game. It could have been a real find if it had also paid more attention to the biggest group of new poker enthusiasts - people who understand the game's rules and fundamentals but want to improve their play. Unfortunately, it doesn't do either audience a complete service, and thus ends up being an incomplete resource for all.

A lot of the content focuses on the rules and procedure of a limit hold 'em game like anyone would likely play at a casino. There is a lot of emphasis on the order of events during play and betting concepts (i.e. blinds, bets, checks, raises and calls). This segment follows an actual game with continuous commentary on what's happening and each player's options at each turn. However, this exhibition is pretty fast-paced, especially when following a lot of extremely basic concepts such as an exhaustive explanation of the rank of hands. Anyone new enough to the game to be unaware of the rank of hands will likely get lost/frustrated trying to keep up with the exhibition game. I watched with my wife, who is interested in learning enough to play in a regular game, and while the DVD was helpful as a syllabus of topics to cover, we had to constantly pause while I answered her reasonable questions and/or explained additional topics that should have been on the screen.

Players already familiar with the game will be very disappointed with the lack of strategic insight. There is almost no explanation of pot odds or how to assess your hole cards or betting scenarios. The tips are mostly handcuffed to silly lists of simplistic offerings about bluffing and tells. Maybe the publisher decided to leave the real gambling know-how to the pros' DVD offerings (which I've also heard are not that good), but it's a real missed opportunity on a DVD that barely cracks an hour of content.

After the hold 'em main event, there is a rushed explanation of other poker games such as Omaha and draw. When I say rushed, I mean as in under two minutes per game.

This title will probably sucker some buyers in with the image of surprise 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event champ Chris Moneymaker on the cover. Moneymaker narrates the majority of the DVD but does so in a flat, uninspired reading-from-the-cue-cards way that adds nothing to the content. Even a small DVD extra like a 10-minute interview about his WSOP experience and a few tips would have gone a long way to justifying his involvement.

This DVD tries to be everything to everyone but unfortunately winds up not doing enough for anyone. Good as a renter (Netflix carries it) but a waste to keep on your own shelf."
Not worth buying
Frank | Madison, WI, USA | 12/26/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)

"All they tell you is the basic's of the game like position, blinds, hands like a flush or a pair and they get into some tells but they don't really get into the strategy of the game like knowing when to bluff or reading hands. If you really need to know whats in this dvd your better off asking someone. It was way to basic for me."