Shade – A Movie about Card Cheating and Mobsters

Shade is set in the world of poker hustlers, who work the clubs and bars of Los Angeles. It was made in 2003, and the story follows the group of drifters who try to set up a card sharp named The Dean. Well known names like Stuart Townsend, Melanie Griffith and Sylvester Stallone take the starring roles.

Shade begins with a young Dean playing in a mob run illegal underground poker games, many years ago. In the present day, two of the three hustlers, Tiffany and Charlie meet up with Larry, who together with Vernon, another member of the gang, switch out the contents of a six deck shoe and they take the casino for $40 000. They agree to work as a team with Charlie, and the plan is to use Vernon’s card handling skills and crooked deals to take down large pots. Larry on his own, wins a huge pot of a mobster, Malini’s, money, and gets killed.

Charlie tells the story that Dean and the mobster agree to cut cards for the money. The mobster cuts a King and Dean the Ace of Spades, both go for their guns, but Dean shoots the mobster, splashing the Ace with blood.

One by one, Vernon and Dean use all other players until they are winning, and decide to play five card stud. They want to work Vernon out of the game, and Tiffany speculates the cards are marked. The three takes some cards and go to another room where Vernon discovers Dean is using a juice deck, a deck marked in such a way that they can be ready with unfocused eyes. They think they can use this deck against the Dean.

Cheating With the Cards

In the final hand of the game in Shade, Vernon deals the hands. He deals the Dean two pairs, Kings and Queens, with one King in the hole. He deals himself a pair of Jacks with seven in the hole for the Dean to see. The Dean goes all in, leaving Vernon short, but Charlie and Tiffany make up the shortfall, and Vernon calls the bet. Before the cards are turned up, the corrupt police officer arrives, together with the mobster.  They are identified as the team who took out Larry, and the mobster pulls out his gun.

Tiffany pulls her gun out too. The Dean insists the hand be completed, and Vernon swaps his hole card 7 for a third Jack, which would beat the two pairs he dealt the Dean. The room is stunned, however, when the Dean pulls out a third Queen to take the huge pot. The mobster tells them to leave, but tells them to stay away from Los Angeles. Charlie splits up with Vernon. Later, when Vernon is sitting in a diner, the Dean appears, and flips the blood stained Ace of spades to Vernon. Shade ends.

The Game of Texas Hold’em

When there is a casino game in a movie, and there is cheating with cards, Poker and online bingo games are mainly chosen. In Shade there were many ways of marking the cards. In the poker game of Texas Hold’em, a starting hand consists of two hole cards, which belong to the player and remain hidden from other players. Five community cards are also dealt into play, and betting begins before any of the community cards are exposed.

In Shade, the hands seen performing the card tricks, belong to the writer/director Damian Nieman.