‘Poker Face’ Ending, Explained – Who Is The Poker Face? Does Jake Foley Win The Game?

“Poker Face” is less intriguing than it seems. It starts by making us wonder what’s going on but ends with a somewhat cliché ending. The ending doesn’t do justice to the beginning, but it’s approx. 90 mins runtime is what doesn’t let us turn our eyes away from the screen. Something or other keeps happening, there is an almost endless supply of wine and secrets, and finally, we have Russell Crowe, whose mere presence makes things more interesting altogether. So, here’s a toast to “Poker Face.” Cheers!


Spoilers Ahead

‘Poker Face’ Plot Synopsis: What Happens In the Film?

57-year-old Jake (Russell Crowe) and his friend Andrew (Robert Fitzgerald Diggs, aka RZA) have made their fortune out of a military-grade surveillance program. But when Jake finds out that he has cancer, he, with Andrew’s help, decides to bring over his childhood friends Michael (Liam Hemsworth), Alex (Aden Young), Paul (Steve Bastoni), and Andrew for a meet-up for old times’ sake. He invites them to Pebble Cave, his posh private villa, for the same. After the friends arrive at the villa, Jake offers Michael, Alex, and Paul an exotic car for $5 million each. They will have to play poker with the $5 million (in chips), and whoever wins takes it all. The catch is that all three will have to play, and if any one person among the three opts for the car, the rest will also get the car and not the money. But that isn’t the only catch, as they have all been poisoned, and the clock is ticking. The game is afoot. Meanwhile, Victor, Bill, and Styx breach into Pebble Cave, which is almost like an art museum with its huge collection of paintings from across the globe. Intent on selling some of these on the black market, Victor has his two partners begin exploring the place without having any idea about its occupants. The question is who the poker face really is. Only “Poker Face” can answer the question.


How Does Art Play Its Part?

Jake Foley is a lover of art, as is evident when we see him sitting in an art gallery as well as from his collection at the Pebble Cave. Interestingly, playing poker is also an art that Jake has mastered, just like his art collection. The intrinsic details in every painting correspond to the moves in a game of poker. Maximizing wins, minimizing losses, and staying in the game for as long as possible are things that Jake knows very well. It’s also about reading the opponent’s mind. This he did by using RIFFLE on his friends. He knew what they were hiding from him—or even from themselves. And he used the perfect way to make them accept it. However, in the game of life, while he has mastered maximizing gains, he has lost his wife, which is a grave loss, and the fact that he is dying means that it is not up to him whether or not to stay in the game. To think about it, to stay in the game for as long as possible is not up to any of us because none of us knows when the game of life will end. In the film, though, there is an illusion of control overstaying longer in the game. This is when Jake poisons his friends and tells them that they don’t have much time to live, just like himself. But the guys take the illusion to be the truth and reveal their deepest secrets, one by one. This brings us to the next topic.

Who Is The ‘Poker Face’?

The name of the film is “Poker Face,” and rightfully so. This is because all the main characters play their “poker face” parts. All of them have their secrets, which they have been hiding behind their smiles. Michael is miserable and wants to shoot himself; he even has a gun for this purpose. Alex and Nicole (Brooke Satchwell), Jake’s present wife, are having an affair. Paul backstabbed Jake by giving his blackmailing brother Victor sensitive information regarding Jake. And finally, we have Jake himself, who puts on the “poker face” to hide his imminent death.


There is more to the title of the film. It is a film where longtime friends “face” each other over a game of “poker.” And the “poker face” that they have been carrying all this while disappears at the poker table itself. In this way, the film shows its layers while keeping things fairly understandable. It is towards the end of the film when we see Jake’s will to be read by his lawyer Sam that Jake’s “poker face” disappears, and his true intentions come out in the open. He has, by dividing his wealth among his friends and family, disposed of their needs for poker faces. In this way, perhaps even in death, Jake has maximized his gains in the game of life.

‘Poker Face’ Ending Explained – Does Jake Foley Win The Game?

The poker game is discontinued after Andrew arrives. But the real game begins when Victor and his co-robbers Billy and Styx breach Pebble Cave. Paul, Michael, Andrew, and Alex manage to bring down two of them while Jake pulls off another “poker face” at Victor. He manages to make Victor inject himself with a lethal dose of the serum that Paje, aka Bill (Jack Thompson), the shaman at the spiritual center, gave Jake. This kills Victor, and while we do not see what happens to the other two robbers, we can assume that they are arrested. So, in a way, Jake Foley does win the game on his own terms. He is able to save his daughter Rebecca, his wife Nicole, and his friends by giving each of them a part of his wealth.


The question is, “Does Jake Foley win in the game of life or does he not?” Some might say that he wins as he is ultimately able to get his friends back. Others might say that he doesn’t, as he is dead. However, it is the gains and losses that make the ending worthwhile. Towards the beginning of the film, Jake explains that if luck is leaving, one has to apply what one can to change its motion. He knew that he was running out of luck (he was dying), so he did what he could to change its motion. It didn’t change the outcome, but the outcome, even if it occurred after his death, was better. So, in a way, we can say that Jake Foley is still in the game of life through his family and friends. But he doesn’t need a “poker face” anymore.

“Poker Face” is a 2022 action thriller film directed by Russell Crowe.

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Shubhabrata Dutta
Shubhabrata Dutta
Shubhabrata’s greatest regret is the fact that he won’t be able to watch every movie and show ever made. And when he isn’t watching a movie or a show, he is busy thinking about them and how they are made; all while taking care of his hobbies. These include the usual suspects i.e. songs, long walks, books and PC games.

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