Marvel fans all round the world are eagerly anticipating the arrival in April of Avengers: Endgame. The 22nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it promises to be an epic showdown between our heroes as they harness their superpowers to reverse the damage done by Thanos in Infinity War. Naturally, the studio has kept the big details of the film closely under wraps while teasing us with a trailer or two. But one thing that’s for certain is that it’s going to be one of the biggest movie events of the spring.
So, we thought it would be a good time to take a look at some of the hundreds of characters from the Marvel Universe and see which five might fare best in another great battle of wits and power – over the poker table. Some maybe we can write off straight away, for example the Hulk’s fiery temper would rule him out and Daredevil’s blindness would also get in the way of successful play. But there are plenty of characters whose strengths would tie in perfectly with these five qualities that every poker player should have.
One of the most important powers that any successful poker player needs to have is supreme level of intelligence. Because, while the game itself is not particularly complex, the balance of memory, analysis and logic needed to play it is very demanding indeed.
So this leads us to one obvious candidate who has all these qualities, and more. We’re talking about Professor X, or Professor Charles Xavier to give him his full title. As the world’s leading mutant identifier and mentor he is naturally very intelligent and intuitive so would be exceptionally effective in guessing just how strong other players’ hands may be. But even more effective could be Xavier’s remarkable telepathic powers of mind control. By guiding the thoughts and actions of the others around the poker table he could well turn even his weakest hands in the game into winning ones.
It’s a fact that every poker player will readily acknowledge – you’re going to have runs of play where the cards just don’t fall right for you or you make bad calls about the strength of other players’ hands. Good bankroll management can see you through some fairly sticky patches but this has to be backed up with a pretty cast-iron sense of self belief. You have to be 100% confident you can ride out the storm to emerge victorious.
So who better to exemplify this than Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man? He already showed great natural resilience in his origin story when kidnappers tried to force him to make weapons of mass destruction, but he created his iconic Iron Man suit instead. So he’s perfectly placed to shrug off disappointment, and his huge personal fortune will also come in very handy to see him through the tough times.
Poker can be a fast-moving game. In almost every hand there are going to be quick decisions that need to be made and calculations of everything from the probability of the card you need being dealt to the optimum level of bet. To make things even trickier, these are thoughts that are going to have to be processed while under huge pressure.
So, for our money, there’s just one Marvel superhero who really measures up to the challenge and that’s Spiderman. The radioactive spider’s bite that gave him so many of his amazing powers also gifted Peter Parker with incredible speed, balance and agility as well as the quick reactions you need when you’re swinging from skyscraper to skyscraper in a bid to smash crime. And when it comes to dealing the cards out round the table he’s going to be lightning fast at this too.
Of all the skills needed to be a great player, keeping the clichéd poker face is one of the hardest to develop. For the lucky few it’s a skill that they have naturally but most of us have to work hard to learn how to disguise our feelings, either positive or negative. It’s also important to work on eliminating any other physical signs, or tells as they’re called, that can give away your position to opponents.
There’s one particular Marvel character for whom this is never going to be an issue. Ever since she was exposed to a cosmic tempest, Sue Storm-Richards has been able to make not just herself invisible but also other people around her too. So this presents other players with an obvious problem once the Invisible Woman decides to deploy her powers.
The ability to back oneself is another key requisite for anyone wanting to make their way in the world of competitive poker. After all, if you’re not going to believe in yourself, who knows who else will? Having this confidence that you can keep your cool and face down any opposition is often what separates the great from the simply good players.
So for our final superhero let’s turn to that most enigmatic of super heroes, Deadpool. There’s a good reason why he’s sometimes he’s called “the Merc with a mouth” and it’s his fast-talking, razor sharp repartee that exudes the confidence that makes for a winner.
Naturally, the perfect Marvel poker player would be a combination of all these five – and if that were ever to happen then even the world’s best would never get a look-in again!