By Jason Lake
You know who'd be great at poker? Superman. He's got X-ray vision, so he can see the cards – assuming they're not lined with lead. Or how about Count Dracula? He can read your mind to see if you’re bluffing, and can also hypnotize you into pushing all your chips into the middle.
That's wonderful and all, but what good does that do for the rest of us? We can't aspire to be more like Superman or Dracula at the poker table. But we can look at the following five fictional characters and see which of their attributes we can emulate. The rules for this exercise are simple: no superpowers, and no characters who are already poker players. Sorry, Teddy KGB from Rounders.
Apparently poker wasn't a big thing in late 19th-Century London; it only gets mentioned in passing once during the entire “official” canon. That being said, Holmes is easily the right person for the job. His powers of deductive reasoning will allow him to see right through that triple-barrel bluff you've got planned. Holmes isn't likely to go on tilt, either. And you can rest assured he'll have learned every poker game down pat, from Texas hold 'em to Panguingue.
Captain James T. Kirk
While Mr. Spock is known for his prowess at three-dimensional chess, Kirk is more of a poker guy. He even mentions it in “The Corbomite Maneuver” (1966), where the USS Enterprise encounters an odd blue-skinned alien named Balok who threatens to destroy the ship. Kirk decides to bluff, telling Balok that the Enterprise is carrying a substance called Corbomite that will destroy any attacker. It turns out that Balok was also bluffing, and then they all have a drink together.
Batman may be a superhero, but he has no superpowers – just his brain, his toys, and a whole lot of money. Like Sherlock Holmes, Batman's detective work will come forward, but he also brings an air of intimidation to the table that will turn just about everyone into a folding machine. And that money! Batman can play the highest nosebleed stakes anywhere. He's even got a built-in hoodie.
It's amazing what a happy-go-lucky attitude can do for you. Bueller is clever enough to concoct the kind of elaborate schemes that can win him pots he has no business winning – like donking the turn with second pair after the draw comes in, thus getting you to fold top pair. Not only that, Bueller is also a luck-box extraordinaire. You could say that Ferris Bueller can't lose.
Helen of Troy
Okay, technically Helen of Troy is a divine being (she was the daughter of Zeus), but her core mythology doesn't contain much in the way of unfair superpowers. That is, unless you consider extreme beauty to be an unfair advantage at the poker table. Helen would have most male poker players eating out of the palm of her hand, and then going to war with one another. As Christopher Marlowe once wrote, Helen's was the face that won a thousand chips.