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Bet Raise Fold: The Story of Internet Poker Review

 
Bet Raise Fold: The Story of Internet Poker
Bet Raise Fold: The Story of Internet Poker
Bet Raise Fold: The Story of Internet Poker

 
At A Glance...
 

Genre:
 
Director:
 
Length: 1:40
 
Release Date: 6/30/13
 
Final Score
 
 
 
 
 
4/ 5


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We liked?


High Production Quality
Features interesting people and interviews

Not so much?


Occasionally get off topic


Final Fiendish Findings?

Bet Raise Fold is a documentary that tells the story of the rise and fall of a multi-billion dollar industry in internet poker. It uses a back and forth style of editing, where you know what it is building to. It opens with the details of internet poker’s Black Friday, then immediately goes into a […]

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Posted June 30, 2013 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings?
 
 

Bet Raise Fold is a documentary that tells the story of the rise and fall of a multi-billion dollar industry in internet poker. It uses a back and forth style of editing, where you know what it is building to. It opens with the details of internet poker’s Black Friday, then immediately goes into a short history of the game leading up to what most people feel is the jumping point of internet poker, Chris Moneymaker.

Once that took place, the industry exploded with those who were able take advantage of that explosion portrayed as an almost real life boiler room feel with stories of young male players with an absolute disregard for money. Then, in one day, the US government put a stop to the industry (at least in the US), freezing hundreds of thousands of dollars, and taking away the livelihood of thousands of people in the process.

Most of the people featured in Bet Raise Fold come across as very likable which makes for an easy watch. It also sways the viewer to its painting the picture of innocent and wronged internet poker pro a bit more effective. It wouldn’t be much of a documentary without Bet Raise Fold having an agenda and that agenda is pretty apparent. At its heart, you can hear its cry for support to make internet poker legal. I don’t know if there really is enough here to garner the support they are looking for, but it certainly wasn’t for a lack of trying. To their credit, this isn’t an in your face propaganda style film. It does a fair job at trying to articulate its argument that it’s just a piece of American history that’s trying to find its space in the internet age, and opponents need to come to terms with that. For every argument against, it offers an equally compelling counter.

The story is laid out pretty well in a very approachable way. Most of the interviewed people give helpful and entertaining commentary. The film does seems to lose focus from the main story at times as it gets into some of the stories of the people the film follows. While some of isn’t uninteresting, it does feel off topic as it gets into discussions of Danielle buying her mom a horse and Tony Dunst’s new career as a poker analyst. While those scenes do help humanize the the people and the story more, I think it may alienate casual viewers as it really has little to do with the story.

I’ve seen a lot of documentaries lately and one thing kind of stands out for many of them is the lack of polished quality. Bet Raise Fold does not suffer from that in the least as it feels like a very refined piece. The production quality of the film, the editing, the camera work all feel like a major studio produced piece rather than the independent film that it is. Kudos for the production team to pull that off and to set themselves apart from other films in their genre.

The end of the Bet Raise Fold leaves us at the point where everything stands right now, in a state of limbo. It really gives a very unresolved feeling at the end of the film even with it’s obviously optimistic tone. I don’t think that really detracts from the film at all, but it does make me wish there was more of a resolution to the situation. Maybe that’s part of the plan, I don’t know.

As someone who has spent a lot of time in the world of internet poker even though I’m two years removed from it since Black Friday, I have to admit I really enjoyed this film. Beyond how good the production quality was, it was great to see a lot of the personalities of that world again or in some cases, for the first time. I don’t think my appreciation is something that is limited to those who are or were a part of the community. I do think, with a few exceptions, the movie is very approachable for even casual viewers with an interest in gaming, documentaries or celebrity personalities and reality shows. At an hour and forty minutes, it’s a bit more of a commitment than a light afternoon show, but I think the story carries the load of time well. As the producers of this film hope, I also am hopeful that a few years from now, the relevance of this work is just as a historical work outlining a black mark on the history of this industry. Only time will tell if in a few years I’ll be reviewing the story of the rise, fall and rise again of internet poker.

If you are interested in viewing this movie, it can be found on the movie’s website.

Also, if you would like to read our interview with executive producer Jay Rosenkrantz, you can find that here.


Anthony

 
I've been a game enthusiast since my 2600 enjoying RPG, platformer and adventure games. Also a film buff who enjoys quirky, indie films and a huge Hitchcock fan.