The Cincinnati Kid (1965)

This is one of the posts from my buds Andrew Perry who’s making a review/post on the classic film, The Cincinnati Kid. Read it up and let me know what you think. Thanks guys!

When thinking about the best poker movies from past decades, many tend to overlook The Cincinnati Kid.  Starring Steve McQueen as Eric Stoner aka “The Kid” and Edward Robinson as Lancey Howard aka “The Man”, the movie gives a realistic look at world of high stakes Five Card Stud poker from the post-depression era.

The movie centers around a big game that will include “The Kid” and “The Man.”  When Stoner decides to take on Howard, Stoner’s friend “Shooter” reminds how he was gutted by Howard in a prior game.

In a game prior to the big game, a big fish known as William Jefferson Slade tries to take on The Man and ends up losing $6,000 to him.  Fuming over the loss, he blackmails Shooter into cheating at the final game by stacking the deck against Howard.  Shooter does not want to do it, but he has $12,000 in markers hanging over his head and agrees.

The day of the big game arrives and Slade steps up to help Stoner out in the game.  As the game progresses, players either get busted or drop out the game and eventually it is a classic showdown between The Man and The Kid.

Stoner figures out that Shooter is stacking the deck in his favor and tells him to stop.  When he discovers that Shooter will not do so, he angles to have another dealer pitch cards and the game continues.

Stoner is beginning to win pot after pot and it appears that he is going to beat Howard before the climatic hand.  In Five Card Stud poker, one card is dealt down and the other four are dealt face up.  When the last card is dealt, The Kid has As-Ad-10c-10d showing for two pair.  Howard is showing 8d-Qd-10d-9d.

The Kid puts the last of his money into the pot, but since they are playing open stakes as opposed to table stakes, Howard raises another $5,000.  The Kid offers The Man a marker for $5,000 thinking he has him beat.  The Man agrees and The Kid makes the call only to discover Howard turn over the Jd for a straight flush. Stoner had another ace in the hole for a full house, and shockingly the losing hand.  The movie ends with Stoner leaving penniless and gutted after his loss.

The Cincinnati Kid was a classic movie not just because of the poker action, but it portrayed poker realistically. Stoner took a massive cooler and experienced what many have at their local poker room, leaving with nothing.  The Kid had the talent, but in the end, it just wasn’t in the cards for him to win.

Kudos to for providing the review and the reference to the rules of Five Card Stud poker.


    • I really think Steve McQueen held up fine in the cast, and that’s cuz he is a Marlon Brando on the cool factor, and that made him one cool poker player. As for the final hand…they played long enough for something like that to happen…but definitely a climatic 60s move.

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