Ricky Jay is a sleight-of-hand artist and an acknowledged authority on the art of the con. In an NPR interview, Jay related that when David Mamet needed a short-change scam to be explained in "House of Games", he asked Jay for details of an authentic short-change hustle. However, Jay did not want to betray the confidence of the hustlers he knew who still used various short-change cons for their "livelihood". The envelope switch you see in the final film is an original switch invented by Ricky Jay specially for the film. Later, it was reported that an amateur thief had been caught attempting to use the switch as he had learned it from the film.
The numeral 187 appears in the film in different instances. A license plate reads "HSX 187". Also it is the number of the airport locker used at the end. 187 is the police code for murder.
According to writer-director David Mamet, despite the excellent reviews the film received in a limited showing in four theaters, Orion decided against spending the money for the prints and publicity that would have accompanied a general release and sent the film almost directly to TV and video.
This was originally intended to be a larger-budget film with many "name" actors, but David Mamet chose to direct on his own with his wife (Crouse) and friends (Mantegna) in the cast.
The scene outside with Margaret and Dr. Littauer was filmed in front of the main entrance to the iconic art deco PacMed Building on Seattle's Beacon Hill. At the time the PacMed Building was a medical facility, but would later become the headquarters (until 2010) of Amazon.
Audio from this movie was sampled by the band Saint Etienne in their song "Etienne Gonna Die."
Debut theatrical feature film directed by playwright and screenwriter David Mamet. He replaced the original first choice who was Peter Yates.
The hotel room that Mike takes Margaret to is room #1138 which is yet another reference to George Lucas's THX 1138 (1971).
The red and white Cadillac convertible used by the con artists in this film also appears in the car dealer's showcase room in David Mamet's The Spanish Prisoner (1997)
The make and model of the classic car seen in the movie was, according to the IMCDb, a red and white 1962 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible [6367E].
The $6000 check Margaret Ford (Lindsay Crouse) writes to settle the phony debt at the poker game early in the film is dated May 12, 1987. May 12 (1948) is Crouse's birthday.
Debut writing credit in film and television of Jonathan Katz who co-wrote the movie's story with writer-director David Mamet. Katz also appears in the David Mamet movies 'Homicide' (1991), 'Things Change' (1988), 'State and Main' (2000), and 'The Spanish Prisoner' (1997).
One of six cinema movie collaborations [to date, October 2015] of actor Joe Mantegna and writer-director David Mamet. The films include Edmond (2005), Redbelt (2008), Lakeboat (2000), Homicide (1991), Things Change (1988) and House of Games (1987).
'Things Change' (1988) was writer-director David Mamet's follow-up movie to his directorial debut 'House of Games' (1987). Both pictures featured many of the same cast and crew totaling to around about fifty common personnel between the two productions. This included such actors as Joe Mantegna, William H. Macy, J. T. Walsh, Ricky Jay, Jack Wallace, Mike Nussbaum, and Steven Goldstein.
Actress Lindsay Crouse and writer-director David Mamet were married at the time this picture was made and first released.
The film was adapted to the stage by playwright Richard Bean and first performed in September 2010 at the Almeida Theatre in London, England.
The name of the book that Dr Margaret Ford MD (Lindsay Crouse) had written was "DRIVEN: Obsession and Compulsion in Everyday Life".
One of about a dozen film collaborations of David Mamet and actor Jack Wallace. The titles are: 'Redbelt' (2008), 'Edmond' (2005), 'Homicide' (1991), 'Lakeboat' (2000), 'Things Change' (1988), 'State and Main' (2000), 'House of Games' (1987), 'Phil Spector' (2013) (TV), 'The Spanish Prisoner' (1997), 'Lost Masterpieces of Pornography' (2010), 'Invent Nothing, Deny Nothing: Five Guys from Mamet's Homicide' (2009), and the 'Dedication' episode of 'The Unit' (2006-2009) television series.