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Films that come up aces

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Sure, they made a poker movie, but do they watch poker movies?

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The cast of “The Grand” tells us their favorites.

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Zak Penn: “ ‘House of Games’ is ostensibly a movie about a con and con artists, but its accuracy and insights into the psychology of poker are just beneath the surface. You can tell that [David] Mamet knows the game and is informed by the spirit of it. For pure poker, ‘Rounders’ is the choice.”

Phil Gordon: “Gotta be ‘Rounders.’ Although one of the thrills of this semi-fame, or whatever you call it, is being asked to do a commentary track for the DVD release of ‘The Cincinnati Kid.’ ”

Richard Kind: “There are actually two movies. One is ‘The Gambler’ with James Caan. That goes to the heart of the despair that a gambler feels when he is pushed to the edge. The other one is ‘California Split,’ which shows the fun, the excitement that a gambler feels at the heart of despair.”

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Gabe Kaplan: “I’d have to say ‘The Gambler,’ because it gets into the whole motivation of why people do it. Paul Sorvino says, ‘A lot of guys’ll try to tell you somebody who loses $15,000 is in the same kind of trouble as somebody who loses $50,000.’ Don’t believe it. I also like ‘Owning Mahowny,’ with Philip Seymour Hoffman.”

Hank Azaria: “I’d say the poker scene in ‘The Sting.’ Even though there’s a lot of poker mistakes in it, it’s a fantastic scene. And most recently, ‘Deadwood’ really captured poker with that whole Wild Bill Hickok arc. That was perhaps the most accurate depiction of poker I’ve ever scene. ‘Rounders’ was pretty good, but it has a lot of poker nonsense in it. You can’t go, ‘I’ll see you 200 and raise you 8.’ That’s a string raise. Or in ‘The Sting,’ you can’t pull money out of your back pocket -- it’s whatever is on the table that’s in play. And the poker scene from ‘GoodFellas,’ even though it’s not about poker, when he shoots Spider, is great.”

Werner Herzog: “I must say, I’ve never seen a movie with gambling in it. I don’t see that many movies.”

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-- P.C.

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