If you’re looking for a good poker movie to watch, you’ve come to the right place. Our list of the 10 best poker movies of all time includes some great films that will entertain and educate you on everything related to this popular card game.
From classic dramas to lighthearted comedies, there’s something for everyone. So sit back, relax, and enjoy some quality cinema about one of America’s favorite pastimes!
Must-watch for every poker enthusiast
You can find many videos today featuring different poker games such as Texas Hold’em, Omaha, 7-Card Stud, and even 5-Card Draw. These tutorial clips are great for fans of the game who want to improve their play.
This article, however, is all about movies. These poker films are among the finest ever created that highlight the game of poker. So without further ado, here are the Ten Best Poker Movies of all time.
10. Deal (2008)
Deal (2008) is one of the most controversial movies in this group. It isn’t a masterpiece, but it is worth watching if the game interests you.
You will have a lot of fun and you won’t feel as though you wasted a few hours of your time. As long as your expectations are realistic.
Burt Reynolds plays Tommy and Bret Harrison plays Alex. The story centers around Tommy, an ex-player who teaches young Alex strategies and tactics to win in poker. Tommy will take half of Alex’s winnings in exchange for his lessons and placing him in tournaments.
It’s a simple plot and there aren’t many ‘wow’ moments. However, there are quite a few scenes of poker as well as appearances by Phil Laak and Antonio Esfandiari.
Deal targeted hardcore poker fans. However, the movie never received much attention and was never considered one of the best movies about poker.
9. Lucky You (2007)
Lucky You is another poker movie that received mixed reviews from the general public and especially fans of the game.
It is a fun movie that shows the game being played. That is what most people want.
Lucky You tells the story of Huck Cheever (Eric Bana) and L.C. Cheever (Robert Duvall). Huck, L.C.’s child, is trying to make it in poker but he is still living in the shadow of his father who is a two-time WSOP champion. Huck has never forgiven L.C. Huck for leaving his mother.
They will be competing in the same tournament in Las Vegas. This is not only Huck’s chance to make it big in poker but also to possibly restore their relationship. Poker will be the medium through which L.C. can be reconnected to his son.
This movie may sound boring, but it isn’t. There is plenty of poker action and it is more about Huck trying to find his luck with Billie (Drew Barrymore).
Lucky You also features familiar faces at the tables such as Sammy Farha and Jen Harman.
8. Maverick (1994)
Maverick, which stars Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, and James Garner, is a lighthearted movie that revolves around poker but also has many funny and entertaining subplots.
It’s one you can watch no matter how serious you are about poker. It’s a comedy that combines action and gambling.
Gibson plays Bret Maverick. He needs an additional $3,000 to play in a winner-takes-all poker tournament. Maverick, who is trying to make money, turns to gambling and joins forces with Annabelle Bransford (Foster).
Maverick’s attempts to get the money he needs in the next few days lead the duo into many hilarious, exciting, and even deadly situations. But the movie maintains its lighthearted and relaxed tone throughout.
You might be wondering why Maverick makes it onto almost every list of the top poker movies, even though it is the least “poker-centric” movie. It is the movie’s balance between gambling and poker that makes it a great choice for a Sunday afternoon viewing, even if you don’t know much about poker.
7. The Grand (2007)
The Grand is an improv comedy directed in 2007 by Zak Penn. The movie features a decent cast of actors including Ray Romano and Woody Harrelson as well as Chris Parnell, Jason Alexander, and Dennis Farina.
The movie tells the story of a group playing in a 10,000,000 poker tournament at the Golden Nugget.
One of the most interesting things about The Grand was that the script was left unfinished. Actors were given only basic instructions about their characters and played real poker on the set. The writer did not predetermine the winner.
This one is not for everyone. The Grand has received mixed reviews from viewers. Jack Faro (Harrelson), who is a recovering addict and has 74 failed marriages, leads the colorful group of characters that enters the tournament.
Although the movie is filled with poker, it’s not about poker hands. It’s more about how one tournament can change someone’s life. Anyone can win in one event.
The acting in the movie can sometimes feel a bit too difficult, but there aren’t many poker comedies out there, so The Grand will have its place.
6. California Split (1974)
George Segal and Elliott Gould play the main characters, Bill and Charlie. They meet in a game of poker and decide to live a life as professional gamblers in the 1970s.
This poker movie shows how degenerate gambling can be and forces you to reevaluate your choices.
It may seem like fun at first, but they find themselves in many interesting situations and have to overcome many roadblocks along the way to their gambling dreams. This movie shows how such a lifestyle can quickly turn into a nightmare.
This movie is a great example of acting and directing. It almost feels like you are watching a documentary about the subject.
5. High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story (2003)
Although many of the newer players may not be aware of Stu “The Kid” Ungar, his name was synonymous with an era in the poker world.
Ungar was considered by many to be one of the greatest players to have ever lived. He died at 45 after winning five WSOP bracelets.
High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story tells the story of “The Kid” from his early days playing gin rummy to his transition to Texas Hold’em and dominating the game for many decades until his tragic death.
The movie features a lot of playing cards. However, The Stu Ungar Story is worth watching to learn more about his life and the demons that ended his young career.
Although some criticize the film for glorifying degenerate behavior, it’s a simple account of one person’s life. Ungar’s self-destructive personality is evident, but it does not diminish his poker greatness.
4. All In: The Poker Movie (2009)
All In: The Poker Movie is a great way to take a trip down memory lane.
All In, unlike the other films on the list, is a documentary directed by Douglas Tirola that has won an award.
The film tells the story about poker from its inception, from the 2003 win of Chris Moneymaker at the WSOP Main Event to the infamous Black Friday.
“All In” features many familiar faces such as Antonio Esfandiari, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, Annie Duke, Chris Ferguson, Phil Laak among others. It’s a fascinating and detailed account of how poker became a favorite hobby for people across the US and around the world and, for many, a way to achieve the American dream.
This film is equally worthwhile if you are a poker player looking for a history lesson or a casual player who wants to catch up on the events that made poker what it is today.
3. Molly’s Game (2017)
Molly’s Game is the latest true poker movie. It was released in 2017 and is based on the true story of Molly Bloom, the “Poker Queen”, who used to run high-stakes private games that featured some of Hollywood’s most famous businessmen and professional poker players.
The movie stars Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba as well as Kevin Costner. It shows the Hollywood adaptation of Bloom’s life, from her early years as an Olympic-class skier to her downfall when she organized illegal poker games.
Molly’s Game is a must-see for any poker fan.
The movie’s overall script isn’t bad, even though some scenes and situations feel a little too exaggerated. The writers managed to get most of the poker stuff right, so even a gamer won’t have much to complain about.
It may seem like there is too much money and too many glitzy things, but when you look at the profiles of those involved in these games, it’s not difficult to believe that all this.
2. The Cincinnati Kid (1965)
The Cincinnati Kid, despite being one of the oldest poker movies ever made, is one of my favorite titles from this group. It stars Edward G. Robinson and Steve McQueen.
The story is about a young poker player, played by McQueen, who sets out on a quest to prove that he is the best. This culminates in his match against Lancey Howard (Robinson), who holds the unofficial title of being the top poker player.
The Cincinnati Kid’s favorite game is the Five Card Stud. This variation has been very popular for a while.
The game of choice in the movie is Five Card Stud, a variation of poker that has not been popular for some time. The first card is dealt face down and the four remaining cards are dealt face up.
The Cincinnati Kid is set in 1930s New Orleans and the writing is excellent. It is difficult to know how accurate the portrayal of poker is since these games were rarely played with stakes, and the rules were what the players agreed to.
The film’s ending is the best part, but it’s worth every other aspect.
1. Rounders (1998)
Rounders is the poker movie that will be remembered by every poker player and fan. Rounders, which was released in 1998 and starred Matt Damon, John Malkovich, Edward Norton, and Gretchen Mol, was a serious reference to Texas Hold’em. This game variant was poised to dominate the poker world.
The movie tells the story of Mike McDermott (Damon), a young man who dreams of becoming a professional player and trying his luck in Vegas.
Mike is a talented player but he doesn’t understand the concept of managing a bankroll and loses his entire role while playing underground high-stakes games against Teddy KGB (Malkovich).
Mike makes a promise to himself and Mol that he will quit poker after the setback. But Worm (Norton), Mike’s friend, escapes jail and finds himself in dire financial straits. Mike and Worm go back to the tables and embark on an adventure full of poker and adrenaline.
I won’t spoil any of the movie’s ending for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet. Rounders is one of the rare movies that is worth your time. It is also a great movie that addresses important topics such as friendship, loyalty, and the importance of believing in yourself.
The writers didn’t pay enough attention to details such as bet sizes or other aspects of poker scenes. This is a common error in poker movies, but it doesn’t take away from the film. After all, it’s not a documentary or a beginner’s course on how to play Hold’em.
Best poker movies that just missed the list
Casino Royale (2006)
Although it is difficult to say if this movie is about poker or not, the game is an integral part of the plot.
This movie is part of the James Bond series. Daniel Graig plays agent 007.
He must play poker to stop terrorists from financing their operations. He enters the winner takes all tournament with a $10 million buy-in and a foe he must beat.
This movie is packed with action and can provide 2.5 hours of entertainment!
Shade is a great movie for those who like movies with more action and suspense.
The story centers around a group of hustlers who create a high-stakes poker game. But things don’t go according to plan and they are suddenly confronted by mob enforcers looking for their money.
Shade is a great movie in all aspects. The actors, cinematography, and poker scenes are all excellent.
You might be surprised by unexpected plot twists, and the story will keep your attention until the end.
The actual scenes of poker being played are quite entertaining and very realistic, which isn’t something Hollywood movies often show. It is a great poker movie that is well worth your time.
So, there you have it – our list of the 10 best poker movies of all time. This list offers many options so you are sure to find something that interests you.
If you’re just starting and want to learn real strategy, read poker books or download free poker cheat sheets. Instantly hit the tables with new knowledge and you could win more!