How I Met Your Mother-The Poker Game-Cobie Smulders and Frances Conroy

The How I Met Your Mother gang needs a refresher in wedding gift giving. “The Poker Game” deals with more than just Ted and Marshall’s etiquette war — Barney and Robin engage in a family battle of their own. Both are equally hilarious, but someone takes things a little too far.

The Players:

  • Director: Pamela Fryman
  • Writers: Dan Gregor and Doug Mand
  • Cast: Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan, Cristin Milioti, Bob Saget, Marshall Manesh, Sherri Shepherd, Wayne Brady, Frances Conroy, Matt Boren, Virginia Williams, Jeff Grace

Episode Title: “The Poker Game”

As the poker game winds down an argument between Robin and James means Barney has to choose between love or family.  Meanwhile, a six year hinting match comes to an end for Ted and Marshall.

The Good:

  •  Manners Matter: Ted and Marshall’s relationship isn’t the first be affected by wedding present etiquette. Some other friend, Stuart, was the root of the problem. Stu passed Ted’s coffeemaker off as his own in order to impress his hot wife. Of course Marshall sent a thank you note and Ted gave Lily and Marshall a wedding gift, but their attempts to passive aggressively nudge each other into correcting the slight were worth watching. Both had family mottos that were inappropriate for gift giving and receiving. Ted’s was, “Wrap it before you tap it,” (the wedding fit that is) and Marshall’s was, “Lick it before you stick it,” it being the thank you stamp. Ted and Marshall’s thank you note and wedding gift Halloween costumes were the kind of overkill they excel at.
  • Happy Wife: It’s a lesson every man has to learn at some point: Happy wife means happy life. Being a team means presenting a united front, even where family is concerned. If like Barney you ignore Lily’s sound advice and your fianceé’s plea for support you might end up with her beating your shirtless mother in strip poker. Eventually, Barney figured it out. We kind of feel that his over-correction—screaming at his brother and mother that they were no longer family thanks to Robin—might create issues in the future. There are definitely going to be fireworks between Robin and Loretta next week. Since both are pretty hardcore this could be promising. Extra kudos for the snippet about the Stinson family poker tell. Saying bluff when you bluff is pretty sad, though Barney’s, “Blue-muffy bluff bluff,” slip-up was hysterical.

The Quotable:

  • “But Lily this is the dream!  This is the whole reason we wanted Ted to get married, so we could not get him a wedding gift and he would know exactly how it feels.”—Marshall
  • “Muffin, when I said be honest and say what’s bothering you I meant stuff it down and never do anything about it.  How did you not get that?”—Barney
  • “Alright chumps, I’m going to tell you what I told Frampton’s guitar tech when he couldn’t find a condom: Let’s gamble.”—Loretta


“The Poker Game” was a surprising success. Both stories dealt with realistic issues spurred by the traditional How I Met Your Mother comedic flair. Everyone felt included, with Lily serving as a supporting player for both problems. She always finds time to shine. The flash forward where she kneed Barney in his little barnacle after his honeymoon for his comment about her weight was one of her best moments. Next week, it’d be nice to get a glimpse of The Mother as we haven’t seen her since the season premiere. If Crisitin Milioti’s going to be listed as a regular she needs to be on more than once every six weeks.

Rating: 10/10

How I Met Your Mother airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBS.

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