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Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Anchor Bay presents
Poker for Dummies (2004)

"I'm living proof that dreams can come true, and that may be in the cards for you."
- Chris Moneymaker

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: July 13, 2004

Stars: Chris Moneymaker
Other Stars: Barry Shulman, Allyn Jaffrey, Jeff Shulman, Adam Schoenfeld, Shirley Rosario, Ryan Ingrase, Aaron Long
Director: Andrea Ambandos

Manufacturer: Crest National
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 50m:30s
Release Date: July 13, 2004
UPC: 013131278491
Genre: educational

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ C+BB C-

DVD Review

Poker is pretty hot these days, so the popular "Dummies" series of books is now branching into the DVD realm with this brief tutorial designed to supposedly teach you how to play, bet and bluff your way to card-winning success. Hosted by the aptly named Chris Moneymaker (2003 Poker World Championship winner), Poker For Dummies claims it is geared primarily towards either the novice, the home player or the casino/card room player.

The focus here is Texas Hold 'Em, though much of the basics presented here apply to nearly any variation of the game, and Moneymaker narrates the lead ins to each segment, and then Barry "Mr. Poker" Shulman takes over, leading a table full of skilled players in a mock example of what to do, and more importantly not to do. Walking through strategies, bluffs, tells and overall poker etiquette and protocol is breezed through in 50 short minutes, and more often than not this disc seemed as if it would be best suited as a companion piece to a book, which conveniently is touted just before the closing credits.

The depth of the material goes from very, very basic (describing the four suits in a deck of cards) to moderate when the sample game is played, and Shulman points out who has got what, how to bet and how to read your opponents. I'm not an avid card player, so I can't really judge how viable and salient all of the information presented here is, but I imagine if you were trying to improve your Texas Hold 'Em skills you might pick up a tip or two here. The presentation is a bit on the dull side, but if you have a driving interest in the subject it may not seem as yawn-worthy as it did to me.

Anchor Bay's MSRP on this title is right around $15, comparable to the cost of a book, and if you have ever read a Dummies book, the DVD version uses the same array of wacky icons to indicate special areas of interest. The downside is that this effect works better in a book, where secondary sidebars can be utilized more effectively. The constant popup of these icons on the DVD is more of an annoyance than a reminder, and considering nearly every item is deemed important in some way, the repetition gets tiring.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: C+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Presented in 1.33:1 fullframe, Poker For Dummies is bright and clean, with pleasing, well-rendered colors. No noticeable flaws or blemishes to be found.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: Audio is provided in 2.0 surround, but don't get too excited because this is a largely front-centric mix, relying on simple dialogue without much opportunity for jazzy aural histrionics. Unremarkable, but more than adequate.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 9 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The extras are a little misleading, because though the menu has Bonus Section: Home Games listed, the segment is actually part of the main presentation (chapter 7).

An insert lists some common poker slang, as well as a listing of hand rankings. The disc is cut into 9 chapters.

Extras Grade: C-


Final Comments

If your secret shame is wanting to improve your card playing skills, the jury is out whether or not this disc will help. It's priced cheap enough so the casually curious may take a bite, and I'll bet there are some good tips in here somewhere if you've got a gambling jones.


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