Adrian Aston plays a game with a truly global reach Poker has been with us for hundreds of years. Since its emergence in North America, the game has grown steadily in popularity. It is impossible to estimate just how many poker players there are in the world. Adrian Aston is one of millions that enjoys the game. The massive popularity of online poker sites suggests that it is definitely a global favourite. It has a cross-appeal for gamblers as well as for fans of card games. The fact that poker features so frequently in popular culture and art, suggests a clear show of its popularity. If a group of people are seen playing cards in a film, or if a card game is being described in a contemporary novel, it is generally the case that the game of choice will be poker. Poker has been depicted many times in Hollywood cinema. The game continues to crop up regularly in new films. It enjoys a slightly edgy reputation – thanks to the fact that it is often portrayed as the game of choice for gangsters, cowboys and many other characters. A relatively recent film in which poker featured very heavily was Casino Royale. The film features James Bond before he receives his licence to kill. While on the trail of a terrorist cell, Bond comes across Le Chiffre, a banker who turns out to be the financier for most of the world’s terrorist organisations. He gets a tip-off that Le Chiffre is planning to do some fundraising in the form of a high stakes poker game at Le Casino Royale in Monte Carlo. The poker game that eventually ensues turns into a spectacular and tense cinematic set piece. It features lots of violence and plenty of dirty tricks. Part of the popularity of poker for filmmakers is the fact that the rules of the game are relatively easy to understand. Not all filmgoers will have played the game. Not everyone will understand the rules. The fact remains though, most people are familiar with the basic concepts such as placing bets, raising and folding. The idea of the ‘bluff’ is also universally recognised. Adrian Aston and the millions of poker enthusiasts throughout the world are playing a game that enjoys a truly global identity. There’s no doubt that the continued popularity of the game is in part due to its popularity with TV and filmmakers.