House of Games (1987)

R  |   |  Crime, Thriller  |  14 October 1987 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 16,123 users  
Reviews: 115 user | 62 critic

A psychiatrist comes to the aid of a compulsive gambler and is led by a smooth-talking grifter into the shadowy but compelling world of stings, scams, and con men.



(screenplay), (story), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 6 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Margaret Ford
Dr. Maria Littauer
The Businessman
Willo Hausman ...
Girl with Book
Karen Kohlhaas ...
Prison Ward Patient
Steven Goldstein ...
Billy Hahn
Bartender - House of Games
George / Vegas Man
G. Roy Levin ...
Poker Player
Bob Lumbra ...
Poker Player
Andy Potok ...
Poker Player
Allen Soule ...
Poker Player
Ben Blakeman ...
Bartender - Charlie's Tavern


A famous psychologist, Margaret Ford, decides to try to help one of her patients get out of a gambling debt. She visits the bar where Mike, to whom the debt is owed, runs poker games. He convinces her to help him in a game: her assignment is to look for "tells", or give-away body language. What seems easy to her becomes much more complex. Written by John J. Magee <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Human nature is a sucker bet. See more »


Crime | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 October 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dom gry  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$2,585,639 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The red and white Cadillac convertible used by the con artists in this film also appears in the car dealer's showcase room in David Mamet's The Spanish Prisoner (1997) See more »


When Mike is dressing in the hotel room, the narrow (back) side of his necktie is clearly three inches too long when he finishes. One edit later, wardrobe has obviously corrected the error. See more »


Mike: I think you're bluffin', pal. I think you're trying to BUY it!
George: Then you're gonna have to give me some respect, or give me some money.
See more »


Fugue from the Toccata in C Minor
(BWV 911)
by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by Warren Bernhardt, piano
See more »

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User Reviews

Highly stylized
17 January 2009 | by (Boulder, CO) – See all my reviews

The effect achieved in this story about a psychiatrist who becomes involved with con artists is so mannered that I have to assume that that was the desired intent. The sets are artificial and at no time did I not feel that I was watching a movie. It seemed like the actors were just reading their lines, rather than responding to one another. While the film has elements of early film noir (except that it is in color) the approach is so exaggerated that I almost have to conclude that it is a parody of the genre.

Given that the presentation had no appeal to me, I was at least expecting an engaging story. Usually I am pretty slow on the uptake when it comes to stories with plot twists, but you could see what was coming here within the first fifteen minutes. By the time of the, "Gee, I forgot the $80,000," moment, I thought to myself that this thing is truly ridiculous. For a psychiatrist with stated experience in gambling addictions to behave so stupidly is beyond belief. If at any stage she had behaved like a normal intelligent person, the whole story would have fallen apart.

This wooden production left me cold.

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