Movies with casino, gambling and poker themes are usually very popular. They transport the viewers to an out of the ordinary environment that many never experience in reality. When it comes to a game of poker, a movie can paint the picture of the world of this card game more so than an article or a book ever could. Poker is not just about the rules of a card game, but about taking risks, bluffing, money-management and emotional intelligence. So, you can not only have an afternoon pleasantly spent on the sofa while watching a poker movie but can learn about the poker subculture.
In this article, we have listed some of the best poker films out there, with the help of Amy Martinsson, Swedish iGaming expert. Read more about Amy here.
- Rounders (1998)
This movie stars big names - Matt Damon, Edward Norton, John Malkovich, and Gretchen Mol. The plot is about a young big-stakes gambler, who dreams of being a professional player in Vegas. He first loses everything and promises to himself and his girlfriend never to play again, however, he finds himself back at the poker tables when he has to help out his friend who owes money to loan sharks.
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- Molly’s Game (2017)
Molly’s Game is based on the true story of the former Olympic skier Molly Bloom, who used to run the world's most exclusive high-stakes, illegal poker games for Hollywood celebrities, wealthy businessmen and professional poker players. The movie was rated highly by poker enthusiasts as the scenes are quite realistic and they mainly got the poker stuff right.
- Maverick (1994)
This lighthearted movie that takes place in the Wild West tells the story of a fellow called Maverick (Mel Gibson), who wants to enter a poker tournament, but is missing the three thousand dollars it requires. He teams up with a female thief (Jodie Foster) and the two will go through a set of adventures to collect the money.
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- The Grand (2007)
This one is one of the few comedies among poker movies. What makes it special is that it was actually an improvisational movie set at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas in an actual poker tournament where a set of actors played real poker with only basic guidelines about their characters. The movie stars Woody Harrelson, David Cross and Dennis Farina.
- California Split (1974)
George Segal, Elliott Gould and Ann Prentiss star in this movie that tells the story of a casual gambler who befriends a professional and decides to mirror his life. The movie got good critics for how well it depicts the degenerate gambling lifestyle that requires a certain personality.
- High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story (2003)
This movie is the true story of Stu “The Kid” Ungar who was a professional gambler by the age of 10 and won millions of dollars playing card games. Stu is played by Michael Imperioli.
- The Cincinnati Kid (1965)
Featuring Steve McQueen and Edward G. Robinson, The Cincinnati Kid is one of the oldest poker movies. The movie takes place in the 1930s in New Orleans and it tells the story of a poker player nicknamed “The Kid” who desperately wants to take the place of the long-time master whose title is “The Man”.
- Finder's Fee (2001)
Finder’s Fee is a thriller movie about a guy finding a lost wallet and a 6-million-dollar worth lottery ticket inside it. Starring Erik Palladino, Ryan Reynolds and Dash Mihok, this movie is about greed and how it transforms people into monsters.
- Luna’s Game (2001)
Luna plays poker for money and is following her father’s footsteps. Her father was killed by a loan shark he owed money to and Luna comes to play the game against the murderer. Started by Ana Torent, this Spanish movie depicts well the life of poker players who are obsessed with the game.
- All In: The Poker Movie (2009)
All In is a documentary film about the game of poker that is ever so popular in America. If you are a poker fan wanting to know more about the history of the game, this movie is highly recommended.
There are very many movies around poker and we only listed the ten best ones (in our opinion). If you haven’t seen some of them look them up on Netflix or some other streaming service and give them a go.