Screenwriter David Manet directed this superb 1987 thriller in which successful addiction psychiatrist Maggie Ford (Crouse) is set-up to help a suicidal patient with a $25,000 gambling debt. In the ominous “House of Games,” she meets Mike (Mantegna), who readily admits that he's a professional con man and explains such concepts as the "flu" and a person's revealing “tell.” Fascinated, she agrees to watch for his Poker opponent's bluffing "tell" in return for Mike's erasing her patient's debt. As Mike ups the pot to $6,000, cash he allegedly doesn't have, Maggie offers to front her own money on Mike's behalf, just before noticing a flaw in their elaborate plan. Amazed that this entire stunt was staged to con her, with everyone “in on it,” she asks Mike if she can “follow him around,” perhaps sensing material for another best-selling book. The next convoluted sting involves even more characters, props, betrayals and apparent mishaps which thoroughly con the audience as well as the victim(s). Remembering some generic advice from an older colleague, Maggie devises a ruse of her own as Mike's payback.
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The review of this Movie prepared by Angry Jim Magin