Pilkarski Poker (1989)

‘Pilkarski Poker’ (1989) how to bribe Polish referees



In Pilkarski Poker (aka Soccer Poker), Laguna is a former star player who has risen to the top of the referee ranks despite his drinking. A co-op of owners bribe him to make calls that will ensure which team will win the premier league and which will be relegated. But Laguna hasn’t taken bribes before, and all is not as it seems.

This movie came out around the time of Lech Walesa and his Solidarity-led government, and perhaps in keeping with that time, this movie may have been an expose of sorts. But it was not until 2007-2008 that massive match-fixing in the Polish leagues was revealed.

Pilarski Poker also exposes quite a bit of nudity and sex. E.g., despite his snowy hair on top, a high-level referee is offered a choice of female fans as part of his bribe, and he selects 3 for his pre-game preparations.

The soccer in this movie consists of aerial view shots of some game play. There are close-in shots of Laguna puffing around the field (he’s quite a drinker). The most unnerving part of the movie for me was that the Laguna character looks so much like Stephen Rea. Otherwise, it was an interesting foray.

This is the first Polish movie I’ve watched, and frankly it was hard for me to follow. My hubby loved it though, because it’s about a referee.

5 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 5


  • Release Date: 1989-03-31 (Poland)
  • In Polish with English sub-titles
  • English title is Soccer Poker
  • DVD is in std def
  • 99 minutes
  • There is a 10 minute interview on the DVD, but it is only in Polish
  • IMDB
  • Director: Janusz Zaorski
  • I could not find a trailer