The Improbable Odds of Poker Hands in Movies

by Christopher Paul on May 22, 2014

If you aren’t a poker player, it’s probably easy to suspend disbelief when watching a movie with a poker scene. But when you stop and think about the numbers, it’s not only amazing the plot unfolded the way it did, but so improbable that it’s practically impossible for it to happen. Take the scene from Casino Royale:

When they do reveal their hands in the final showdown, the Asian guy has the nut flush (the chances of this happening are 508 to 1); the black guy has a full house (693 to 1); La Chiffre, the villain, has an even better full house; and Bond has a straight flush (72,192 to 1).

If we add these probabilities together, the likelihood of all these monster hands being dealt at the same time is 18 trillion to 1. To put that into perspective, there are only 300 billion stars in our galaxy – so one star within sixty Milky Ways is the probability of Bond winning against all those hands.

Geekosystem talks through four other scenes to explain just how unlikely those events (other plot lines aside) those poker hands were.


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