The Poker Game is the eighth episode of season one of Married... with Children, also the 8th overall series episode. Directed by Brian Levant and co-written by series co-creators Ron Leavitt and Michael G. Moye, it originally aired on FOX on May 24, 1987.


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

Full episode summaryEdit

At the Bundy kitchen, 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 its 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 millon 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, but then 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 worn that apron, he points out that he wanted her to look at the fishing rod shown their. 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, 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 clothing inside, upsetting Al. She opens the doors and is greeted by Steve. He then 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 its fine and to meet him at the shoe store, but then realizes he has a poker game and will be home late. Peg becomes mad, seeing that this will be another night where is stuck at home while Al goes out, but he tries to reassure that she doesn'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 ok to join him at the game, as he still hasn't made any male friends outside of Al since moving in next door.

Al tells him its 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 an apartment, Al is playing poker with his buddies Norris, Russ, Barney and EJ, 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 cause 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 Al's point about building the perfect women, Al nominates the first topic to be legs. EJ mentions Cathrine Bach, Russ votes for Tina Turner and Al, saying that Tina's leg are too muscular, votes for Jaime Lee Curtis. Next, the guys vote for butt, with EJ voting for Sigorney Weaver, but Russ mentions that an alien touched that. Al nominates Jaime Lee Curtis again which everyone agrees with. On breasts, Norris votes for Jaquline Bigset, and Steve mentions Bridgette Bardou, 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 interupts, saying that she needs a brain. They briefly think about it and then unanimously vote for the brains of Vanna White.

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 making him upset. 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 also he doesn't gamble. Al then points out that they are married men, and married men gamble. EJ suddently 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 EJ's seat and Al comments that perhaps EJ should have taken Norris along to provide some muscial 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 interupts him and Steve tells him that he's not going to play, but after some awkward silence and the guys playing with their cards and chips, he decides to look at his cards and decides to play instead.

Back at the Bundy house, Peggy pours Marcy some coffee and asks her if she wants some cake, but she tells her and her group stopped at Gus's restaurant and pointed out that they have the dumbest waitress there, as she was dress inappropriately, and couldn't get any of the group's order correct, which then caused their leader to get that waitress fired. Peggy then 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 back broke from another game. Marcy starts feeling worried, as she and Steve were suppose to go over the montly budget, and feels compelled to call him, but Peg points out that there's no phone at Russ's appartment. 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 ok 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 about how to tell Marcy how to deal with 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 4 guys, where Al fought off the first 3, but the 4th one beat Steve silly and ran off with his money.  Steve laments at this idea, but Al points out that is 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.

At the Bundy ktichen table, Peggy and Marcy describe the perfect man, who would have the buns of Mel Gibson. Marcy then asks who's 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 nervous 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 and 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 tonight, he tells her "Damn the budget! A man has needs!" as he carries her over his shoulder and out the door. Peggy then walks over to Al and asks if seeing that has done anything, which he then tells her it has and to get her 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 upstaris, 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 critizes him for not understanding that she wants a pair of shoes to match her dress and he then 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, which he had to keep using Al's technique until 8 in the morning, leaving her knocked out and him confused about he got to the store in the first place. Al is happy that his technique worked, but Steve feels like its run its course and decides to go aginst 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 and to make it grow. This ends up making Steve furious and questions his actions, but Al doesn't seem to mind. He then takes the $5 and sits down, thinking outloud about what to do and Al offers his own suggestion:

"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 he resassure Al that the money will do a lot more for the homeless man (who is now walking by with a blonde girl on his arm) than it will for him. 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 with hands outstreched.

Back at the Bundy kitchen, Peggy is cooking a steak, while Steve is now sitting at the kitchen table. Peggy then 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 the moment Al walks through the front door, which Peggy thinks is funny. She then asks how is Marcy doing, since she hasn't seen her all day, which he then 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 did Al win and after he tells her, she is surprised that she hasn't bought 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 tells her that he needs to tell Marcy and Peggy agrees with him, suggesting that he go tell Marcy and bring her back to the Bundy house, as she is going to talk to Al into giving Steve his money back. Happy at hearing this, he jumps out 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.

Just then, Al comes home and asks what's for dinner, which Peg then calls him "Filthy pig!", which he tells her they had that for dinner. She then informs him about what Steve told her, but 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 would 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 spent it, which infuriates her and questions him on 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 taht he never buys her anything, which causes her to kiss Al on the cheek and tell him he is the sweetest man, before running upstairs to try it on and promises to make him a steak just like the one Buck got before he came home. After that, he opens the door and quietly brings in the fishing rod that he had wanted. Peg, who is still upstairs says its 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 leaves for the basement, Steve and a noticibly angry Marcy come to the Bundy veranda, 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 and call the Bundys out, it suddenly changes into nervousness, as Marcy continues to prod Steve about the money. He tries to attempt to use Al's method once again, seeing that the Bundy's have decieved him.

Recurring cast/Guest starsEdit


  • Neither Bud nor Kelly appear in this episode.
  • This episode is the first to introduce Al's friends EJ, Russ and Barney. This would be EJ's only appearance, Russ would appear one more time in Requiem For A Dead Barber.  Barney would be the only friend from the first season to make it into NO MA'AM and made his last appearance in The Legend of Ironhead Haynes.
  • 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 season 7's The Proposition
  • EJ mention Sigourney Weaver, an actress who is best known for her role as Ripley in the Ailen film series, which Russ made referrence 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 famously for her youthful looking legs which supposedly have been insured.
  • Al mentions Jaime 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 actions films like the Lethal Weapon and Mad Max film franchises. Peggy would mention him again in later seasons.
  • Garrett Morris, who plays Russ, previously worked with David Garrison on the show "It's Your Move", which was created by Ron Leavitt and Michael G. Moye, the creators of MWC.


  • After Steve takes EJ's seat and tries to attempt to make fart noises, the deck of cards for Steve keep 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. Next, when he looks at the cards, its 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.

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