How Has The Gaming Culture Been Referenced in Popular Culture Over the Years?

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From being the subject of some of the most popular songs in music to being epitomised in TV and film, games like poker are no longer being defined by the table; they are now being referenced in, and are resonating throughout, popular culture. People are talking about the importance of modern pop culture on social media, in forums, face-to-face, and even during podcasts!

Let’s look at music. There are lots of songs that reference games, such as Lana Del Rey’s ‘Video Games’ and ‘Pinball Wizard’ by The Who. Even Amy Winehouse thought that ‘Love Is a Losing Game’. More specifically, there are many songs that reference poker in popular culture. This includes O.A.R’s ‘That was a Crazy Game of Poker’, as well as Lady Gaga’s incredible song ‘Poker Face’.

There are several other songs that reference poker, such as Motorhead’s classic rock anthem ‘Ace of Spades’, Elvis Presley’s classic ‘Viva Las Vegas’ and ‘The Jack’ by rockers ACDC. Whether you favour classic pop, rock, or metal, you can’t help but sing along to these fantastic songs!

Poker has also had its impact on a variety of TV shows, such as hit TV show Friends. In one memorable episode, the characters play a game of poker and funny man Ross delivers that classic line, “Phoebe just threw away two Jacks because they didn’t look happy…”—such a typical Phoebe moment! Do you remember that episode? It is definitely one of the classic Friends episodes!

A poker game was also depicted in an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Intriguingly, the actress Cheryl Hines is a keen poker player in real life. We wonder whether, for Hines, this was a great practice session for the real deal?!

We are sure that you will remember this, along with other funny moments on TV. One of our favourite ones (and the most poignant) starred the late, great Stephen Hawking, who appeared in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called ‘Descent, Part 1’. In one amazing scene, he was playing poker with Data, Isaac Newton, and Albert Einstein. Two words: Mind… blown!

Poker has also been a central theme in several films over the years—most recently in Molly’s Game, which stars the talented Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba. The movie is based on the real-life story of Molly Bloom, who was a key figurehead in the Los Angeles poker scene.

There have also been other films showcasing poker, which include Rounders, a film starring Matt Damon and Ed Norton about the underground world of high-stakes poker. The film is named after the poker term ‘rounder’, which describes a poker player who travels all over the place, from pillar to post, in the hunt of high-stakes cash games.

Whether their aim has been to educate or to inform, or to make you laugh or cry, there have always been references to poker in popular culture. This trend appears to be on the increase, with the release of songs like ‘Poker Face’ and films like Molly’s Game. From historically being a very specific sub-culture, the poker scene seems to be becoming ever-present in the mainstream of popular culture.



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