The Poker Game is the eighth episode of Season 1 of the FOX sitcom Married... with Children, as well as the the 8th overall episode in the series. Written by Ron Leavitt and Michael G. Moye, the episode was directed by Brian Levant and premiered on FOX on May 24, 1987.


Al invites Steve to play poker with him and his friends, but Steve ends up losing his paycheck to Al, leaving him in a hard situation with Marcy.


At the kitchen table, Peg is desperately seeking a number to use for the lottery and asks Al for a number. He suggests the number 23, but Peggy says no, claiming that it's not a real number, as he was born on the 23rd and they were married was on the 23rd. He then suggests 17, but she tells him that Kelly chose that number and she needs something close to 20, which Al says he needs too. Annoyed at Al's lack of help, she declares that she'll pick a number and when she wins the $38 million jackpot, she will keep every penny for herself.

Noticing Al reading a magazine, she asks him what he is reading, but he tells her he won't fall for that again, as every time he tries to show her something in a magazine he is reading, she ends up taking it and reading it somewhere else, never giving it back to him. She then goes back to finishing her lottery number pick until Al gets her attention and points out something in the magazine. She thinks that he's pointing to a fisherman's catalog that's advertising an apron that reads "He catches 'em, I cook 'em - He eats 'em, I love him", but knowing that she wouldn't have meant it if she had worn that apron, he points out that he wanted her to look at the fishing rod shown there. She points out that its $275 and sarcastically notes that they can go without food and heat for a year so he can be happy. She continues to point out that Al only cares about himself and then asks when has he bought anything for her, to which he then points out the pots and pans in the kitchen.

The doorbell rings and Peggy gets up to answer, before taking the magazine away to look at the clothing inside, upsetting Al. She opens the doors and is greeted by Steve. He comes in and asks Al for a ride home after work, since Marcy is taking the car for her women's group meeting. Al sarcastically asks if Marcy and her group are going to use their car to run men down, which Peg then asks if she can join that group. He tells him it's fine and to meet him at the shoe store, but then realizes he has a poker game and will be home late. Peg gets mad, seeing that this will be another night where she is stuck at home while Al goes out, but he tries to reassure her that she wouldn't want to go out on a Friday, since that's when all the other guys are out with their wives. Steve then tries to asks him it would be okay to join him at the game, as he still hasn't made any male friends apart from Al since moving in next door.

1x08 - Peg points out Al's losses

Peg points out Al's losses

Al tells him it's fine and he can observe a poker master at work, but Peg points out the time that he lost and had to push the car home. He tries to defend himself by saying that his game was off that time, since he was worrying about Peg, who at that time was giving birth to Bud and that this time he has a goal, which is to earn enough to by the fishing rod. Steve tells him that at work, they say the best way to save money is to save money. He then reassures him that while he is just a bank teller at this time, he knows how to save and invest money.

At Russ' apartment, Al is playing poker with his buddies Norris, Russ, Barney and E.J., while Steve is sitting next to Al. Russ mentions Guss' Burger and their new waitress, which causes the guys to get in an uproar, and then Al states that since she is 25, she is at a perfect age before she starts to sag and wear Reebok shoes. Russ assures them that she is perfect, but Al believes her eyes are too close together for him to say she's perfect. He then continues : "...if you want a perfect woman, you've gotta build her in your head. You know, it gives you something to do when you're making love to your wife." Steve chimes in that he likes Connie Chung, which causes everyone to stare at him awkwardly and Al tells him "I like Connie Mack, too, but neither one have any place in this conversation". Continuing with his point, he nominates the first topic to be legs. E.J. mentions Catherine Bach, Russ votes for Tina Turner and Al, saying that Tina's leg are too muscular, votes for Jamie Lee Curtis. Next, the guys vote for butt, with E.J. voting for Sigourney Weaver, but Russ mentions that an alien touched that. Al nominates Jamie Lee Curtis again which everyone agrees with. On breasts, Norris votes for Jacqueline Bisset, and Steve mentions Brigitte Bardot, which causes the guys to agree and Russ and Al to pat him on the back. Al declares that they have created the perfect woman, but Russ interrupts, saying that she needs a brain. They briefly think about it and then unanimously vote for the brains of Vanna White.

1x08 - The guys create the perfect woman

The guys create the perfect woman

Russ decides that he is out and Barney raises them. Steve tries to warn Al about staying in as Barney has two pairs showing, but Al is convinced that he is going to win this hand. When Al decides to call him out, Barney shows that he has a 10 of spades, costing Al money and upsetting him. As he goes back to get another beer, Steve tries to tell him that he understands the rhythm of the game.

"Well, it's pretty obvious. Look, you take Russ. Whenever he's got a bad hand, he shuffles his whole card, as if he thinks it's gonna change. Whenever Barney bluffs, he taps his chips. Dead giveaway. Norris, he never bluffs. He won't stay in the game unless he's got three of a kind. And you, Al - you stink."

Al, now frustrated, tells Steve that if he sucks that bad, then he should join in, but Steve tells him that he gave his paycheck to Marcy to pay the mortgage and that he doesn't gamble. Al then points out that they are married men, and married men gamble. E.J. suddenly gets up from the table and informs the guys that he has to leave due to his wife having an emergency, but neither Al nor the other guys buy it and keep demanding to know what is really going on. He finally breaks down and admits that he actually has to take his wife to the ballet, which causes him to hang his head in shame and the guys to laugh at him. Steve then takes E.J.'s seat and Al comments that perhaps E.J. should have taken Norris along to provide some musical entertainment. He then hums part of the  "The Blue Danube" while Norris gets up and makes fart noises with his armpits, causing the guys to applaud. After Norris takes his seat, Steve tries to attempt to make fart noises with his armpit, but Russ interrupts him and Steve tells him that he is not going to play. However, after an awkward silence and the guys playing with their cards and chips, he looks at his cards and changes his mind.

1x08 - Peg tells Marcy about the guys

Peg tells Marcy about Al's friends

Back at the Bundy house, Peggy pours Marcy some coffee and asks her if she wants some cake, but she tells her that she and her group stopped at Guss' restaurant and pointed out that they have the dumbest waitress there, as she was dressed inappropriately and couldn't get any of the group's orders correct, which then caused their leader to get her fired. Peggy walks to the couch with the catalog that Al was looking at in the morning and tells Marcy that she likes to leave it out to rub it in his face when he comes home broke from another game. Marcy starts feeling worried, as she and Steve were supposed to go over their monthly budget, and feels compelled to call him, but Peg points out that there is no phone at Russ' apartment. Marcy then says that she's glad that he is out making new friends and hopes that he could someday bring them to their house, but Peg tells her:

"Haha, oh yeah, that would make for quite a stimulating evening. I wonder which one he'll bring home. Let's see... There's Norris, who can make obscene sounds with his armpit. He is naturally a welcome guest at any occasion. Oh, and then there's Barney, the man no deodorant could tame... And if you're really lucky, you'll get Russ The Invincible. He hasn't met a toilet yet he couldn't overflow. "

Marcy then feels bad about Steve's friend situation, but realizes that he'll be okay because he is a winner. Back at

Al counting the money he just won from Steve

Russ's apartment, Steve is sitting with his forehead resting on the deck of cards, looking depressed. Al comes by to comfort him, before taking the cards away and tells him: "Come on, Steve, you had a good time, you met some good people... [Al fishes a wad of bills from his pocket] And you lost 300 dollars to a good friend."

Steve is now worried to tell Marcy about the fact that he doesn't have his portion of the money for the mortgage payment. Al suggests that he lie, telling her that they were mugged by four guys, where Al fought off the first three, but the fourth one beat Steve silly and ran off with his money. Steve laments at this idea, but Al points out that it was his fault for claiming he had the rhythm of the game and yet kept mouthing off the cards he had. Steve is still determined to tell Marcy the truth, but Al tells him what he would normally do in this type of situation:

"Here's what I do: I walk in the door. Before Peg can say a word - which means I've gotta be quick - I tell her how great she looks. Then if it's real rough, I grit my teeth and throw her a quick one. She's so grateful, she forgets what she was gonna ask me. And even if she says something later on - I'm asleep!"

Steve still says no, as his marriage is based in honesty, which causes Al to laugh at him.

1x08 - Peg and Marcy create the perfect man

Peg and Marcy create the perfect man

At the kitchen table, Peggy and Marcy describe the perfect man, who would have the buns of Mel Gibson. Marcy then asks whose brain he should have, but Peg points out that men don't have brains. Al and a nervous Steve enter the home, which causes Marcy to run up to him and tell him how worried she was. He nervously tries to tell her about losing the money, but after she holds his hands, he looks at Al and then takes his advice from earlier to lie to her about the money. He tells her how beautiful she is and how badly he wants her, but as she tries to tell him about doing the budget that night, he tells her "Damn the budget! A man has needs!" as he carries her over his shoulder and out the door. Peggy walks over to Al and asks if seeing them has done anything for him, to which he answers that it made him thirsty and tells her to get him a beer. As he takes a seat on the couch, she asks him if he lost again and then makes fun of the fact that he can't afford the fishing pole. As she walks upstairs, he slyly remarks "When will I ever learn?"

At the shoe store, Al is helping a lady named Lisa try on a pair of shoes. She criticizes him for not understanding that she wants a pair of shoes to match her dress to which he suggests a cauldron. After she leaves in frustration, Steve comes in and greets Al. He asks Steve if Marcy brought up the budget again and he tells her she did so he had to keep using Al's technique until 8 in the morning, leaving her knocked out and him confused about how he got to the store in the first place. Al is happy that his technique worked but Steve feels like it's run its course and decides to go against his belief, asking Al for the money back. Al tells him that's crossing the line, but Steve follows him around the store, begging for the money back, even going so far as to tell him that he can call it a loan, since he's doesn't play poker till next week anyway. Al then points out that since Steve boasted about his skill with investing, he will give him $5 so he can make it grow. This ends up making Steve furious and question his actions, but Al doesn't seem to mind so Steve takes the $5 and sits down, thinking out loud about what to do and Al offers his own suggestion:

1x08 - Al offers Steve 5 dollars

Al offers Steve $5 that he can grow

"Why don't you do this, Steve: why don't you go home, wake up Marcy, say: "Hey, I lost all my money, I screwed up, I'm sorry and what's for dinner?". That's what being a man is all about, Steve. Making mistakes and not caring."

Just then, a homeless man walks in and asks for some change for a meal. Al proceeds to give him some loose change. Seeing this, Steve has a change of heart and gives the $5 to the homeless man. Al comments that he is "sharp as a bag of wet hair, but... a decent guy", but Steve assures Al that the money will do a lot more for the homeless man than it will for him, not noticing the man is now walking by with a blonde girl on his arm. Steve continues to feel good and that something good will happen to him. He walks out and then immediately starts to run when 3 more homeless men chase after him reaching out their hands.

Back at the Bundy kitchen, Peggy is making a steak, while Steve is sitting at the kitchen table. Peggy turns to him and asks why has he been there all day. He tells her that he's been walking around in hopes that something good will happen to him when Al walks through the front door, which Peggy thinks is funny. She asks how is Marcy doing, since she hasn't seen her all day, which he tells her that she's knocked out cold and that he had to do all the work. She then notices that Marcy's light is on now, which causes him to break down in tears and confess that he lost all his money and Al won't give it back to him. She asks him how much Al won and after he tells her, she is annoyed that she hasn't gotten to buy a new bra in two years and yet Al has a wad of cash that he's holding on to. As he continues to cry and wipe his tears, he realizes that he needs to tell Marcy and Peggy agrees with him, suggesting that he go tell Mher and bring her back to the Bundy house, as she is going to talk Al into giving Steve his money back. Happy at hearing this, he jumps up and runs out the door to tell Marcy. Peg, who is now bitter about Al lying to her, decides to give Buck the steak that was meant for Al.

1x08 - Peg gives Al a kiss

Peg gives Al a kiss to thank him for the necklace

Just then, Al comes home and asks what's for supper, to which Peg replies with "Filthy pig!". He tells her they had that the night before so she informs him about what Steve told her. Al defends his actions, saying that when he loses, he doesn't sit and mope and then beg for his money back since that would take the fun out of poker. Otherwise, he could just stay at home. But Peg tells him that she likes having the Rhoades as friends and that she is mad that he had to lie about this to her, so he has to give the money back to Steve. Al then confesses that he doesn't have the money anymore as he has already spent it, which infuriates her and she asks him what he spent it on. He then pulls out a small box and reveals that he bought her a necklace, which causes her to change her attitude and claim she doesn't deserve it. He tells her he bought it because he felt bad for never buying her anything so she kisses him on the cheek and tells him he is the sweetest man, before running upstairs to try it on. After that, he opens the door and quietly brings in the fishing rod that he had wanted. Peg, who is still upstairs exclaims that the necklace is priceless, but Al quietly mentions that the necklace was only $15 while his fishing rod was $275 and proceeds to kiss it. He then tells Peg that he'll be down in the basement.

As Al goes downstairs, Steve and a noticably angry Marcy come to the Bundy doorstep, where she proceeds to yell at him to get the money back from Al. He is calm and confident that they won't let him down but as he proceeds to ring the doorbell with no reaction, it changes into nervousness, as Marcy continues to prod Steve about the money. He attempts to use Al's method once again, seeing that the Bundys have deceived him.


Regular CastEdit

Recurring CastEdit

Guest StarsEdit


  • Peggy: Oh, another fishing catalog. What am I looking at, Al? The apron that says, "He catches 'em, I cook 'em, he eats 'em, I love him"?
  • Al: Nah, you'd wear it, but you wouldn't mean it. No, I was talking about the five and a half foot meteor-graphite bait casting rod, with the high-speed star drag level wind reel.
  • Peggy: Yippee skip! And a mere 275 dollars. Oh Al, let's buy it. We can do without food and heat for a year.
  • Al: You wouldn't mind?

  • Steve: This is none of my business or anything, but if you really want something, I found the best way to get it is through saving. At the bank we have a little saying: "If you want to save money, save money".

  • Peggy: ...and the buns of Mel Gibson. That is our perfect man.
  • Marcy: Oh, wait! We need a brain.
  • Peggy: Why? It's a man.

  • Lisa: No! Look, you don't seem to understand me. I want something that goes with this dress.
  • Al: A bubbling cauldron?
  • Lisa: You've got a lot of nerve.
  • Al: I need it to get this close to your feet.



  • The episode title refers to Al and Steve playing poker in the episode.


Cultural ReferencesEdit

  • The guys mention Vanna White, an actress and model, best known for being the letter turner on the game show Wheel of Fortune. She would later appear as Al's former girlfriend, Coco in "The Proposition"
  • E.J. mentions Sigourney Weaver, an actress who is best known for her role as Ripley in the Alien film series, which Russ made a reference to when he said "A monster touched that".
  • Russ mentions Tina Turner, a singer known for hits such as "What's Love Got to Do With It?" and "Proud Mary", who is famous for her youthful looking legs, which supposedly have been insured.
  • Al mentions Jamie Lee Curtis, an actress best known for her role in the Halloween movie franchise.
  • Peg mentions Mel Gibson, who is best known for his roles in action films like the Lethal Weapon and Mad Max film franchises, for the first time. Peggy would mention him again in later episodes.
  • Garrett Morris, who plays Russ, previously worked with David Garrison on the show It's Your Move, which was also created by Ron Leavitt and Michael G. Moye, the creators of MWC.


  • Al hums part of "The Blue Danube", a waltz by the Austrian composer Johann Strauss II.



  • Bundy Living Room/Kitchen
  • Russ' Apartment
  • Shoe Store
  • Bundy Door Step


  • After Steve takes E.J.'s seat and tries to attempt to make fart noises, the deck of cards for Steve keeps changing. First, when he tells the guys that he doesn't play, the cards are away from him. Next, when the guys are shown looking at their cards and tapping their chips, Steve suddenly has cards underneath his hands and a pile of chips next to him. Then, when he looks at the cards, it's obvious that the 9 of diamonds is facing the guys, so Steve is actually looking at the back of the cards and yet somehow knows that he's got a good hand. Finally, when he announces that he's in, the chips that were next to him are no longer there.
  • When Steve is talking to Marcy before carrying her back home, Al is standing near the staircase with his arms behind him. After they leave, Peggy is going over to him, yet he is now near the edge of the couch and his hands are already in his pockets.

External LinksEdit

  Season 1 Episodes Season 2 ►
PilotThinnergyBut I Didn't Shoot the DeputyWhose Room Is It Anyway
Have You Driven a Ford Lately?Sixteen Years and What Do You Get?Married... without Children
The Poker GamePeggy Sue Got WorkAl Loses His CherryNightmare on Al's Street
Where's the Boss?Johnny Be Gone
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