5 Best Poker Movies Ever Made

By superadmin
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  • 20 October,2018

What’s better than watching a great movie? Watching a great poker movie! Poker is undeniably one of the most thrilling, dramatic and entertaining games ever played. Your dreams can come true with just the turn of a card. You can earn millions with a lucky hand becoming the reigning champion from being a total novice. The drama inherent to poker greatly appeals not only to the players but also to the audience.

So it only makes sense for Hollywood to make some really entertaining (and some pathetic) movies based on this game. Although it is difficult to capture the true essence of poker in film as it can be very challenging for a filmmaker to create engaging visuals revolving around a bunch of guys sitting at a table, some of these talented Hollywood directors have been successfully portrayed the true feel of the green felt table on the silver screen.

So if you have some free time from playing online poker freerolls, then just kick back and watch these great poker movies

#1 Rounders (1998)

Crowd favorite Matt Damon and Edward Norton star in this 1998 movie which is perhaps ‘The Best Poker Movie Ever Made’.

What’s it about

Rounders focuses on the life of a young grinder Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) who tries to help his old friend Lester “Worm” Murphy (Edward Norton) pay off some ruthless loan sharks. Mike is a law student who loves playing poker and dreams about playing in the WSOP with his fav player Johnny Chan. However, when he meets his old friend Worm, a poker loving ex-con, things go haywire. Mike teams up with Worm and tries to win a lot of cash to help him pay off his debt by winning big against the Russian mob.

Why watch it

This movie introduced a lot of people (and I mean a LOT) to the grandeur of no-limit Texas Hold’em. The movie offers a very realistic portrayal of the covert poker scene in New York and is still the best movie on modern day poker. The Texas Hold’em marathon scenes are simply exceptional and you will pause the movie time and again to take notes (like me). This should be on your must-watch list whether you are play poker games or not!

#2 The Cincinnati Kid (1965)

The Cincinnati Kid is a cult poker classic which is famous for its thrilling climatic hand between the two leading men.

What’s it about

The movie follows a young poker player Eric “The Kid” Stoner (Steve McQueen) from the Depression-era as he strives his way through New Orleans to build his reputation as the best poker player ever. This leads him to face off against the current champion Lancey “The Man” Howard (Edward G. Robinson). The young and the old challenge each other and battle it out in a legendary climactic final hand.

Why watch it

The Cincinnati Kid is a poker-themed gem that will please both cinephiles and poker pros alike. The movie, which primarily focuses on the Five Card Stud game, unlike recent poker films, brings out the gritty side of the casinos from that era. As you follow The Kid’s journey you are bound to get some great tips (so keep your notebook out). The film is brimming with action and suspense and the final poker game between The Kid & The Man is among the greatest dramatic cinematic moments in history.

#3 The Grand (2007)

This poker comedy directed by Zak Penn features an ensemble cast including Woody Harrelson, Ray Romano, Hank Azaria, David Cross & Jason Alexander along with actual poker stars.

What’s it about

This mockumentary shows the world of elite level of poker as we follow the journey of poker player & casino owner Jack Faro (Woody Harrelson) coping with bankruptcy. He strives to save his casino by playing poker tournament titled “The Grand” where the winner takes $10 million. Now he must face a team of funny poker players to grab the coveted prize money.

Why watch it

The movie was shot without a script and was filmed as an improv comedy. The actors were offered only an outline of the scene and they improvised their lines. The final table scene features an actual game played by the actors with multiple endings being shot. The script did not decide on the winner which was determined by the real poker game played while filming. Many pro poker players appear on the film like Antonio Esfandiari, Richard Brodie, Phil Hellmuth, Phil Laak, Doyle Brunson etc. If you are in the mood for some good laughs then this tongue-in-cheek portrayal of poker is exactly what you need, especially if you play free poker online.

#4 High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story (2003)

Directed by A. W. Vidmer, this biopic shows the amazing and troubled life of pro poker player Stu Ungar. Several renowned professional poker players make cameos in the film.

What’s it about

Ungar (Michael Imperioli) tells his story to a stranger in a motel room about how he was born to a bookie father and built his career as a successful gin & poker player. He talks about his personal life, his marriage, daughter, substance abuse and break-up. The movie ends with his third win at World Series of Poker Main Event in 1997.

Why watch it

For starters, the film won Best Feature at the Nashville Film Festival Audience Choice Award in 2003, Best Director at the San Diego Film Festival Festival Award in 2003 and PRISM Awards Commendation in 2004. This is a compelling drama based on the life of the real “young gun” of poker. High Roller is an amazing movie that offers you an in-depth look at the life of one of the greatest players.

#5 Freeze Out (2005)

After talking about some of the ‘Hollywood’ poker films, now it’s time to focus on an indie production titled Freeze Out. This poker comedy is the only movie on this list that was financed by the poker winnings of debutant director M.J. Loheed. (Sorry, no trailer though!)

What’s it about

Featuring Tom Sharpe, Greg Behrendt & Laura Silverman, this Indie comedy tells the story of one man’s ludicrous & overenthusiastic effort to take revenge on his best friend for his repeated ribbing during their weekly poker game. John (Tom Sharpe) and his friends take refuge in their weekly poker game from the daily horrors of surviving in Los Angeles. However, John is pissed with his friends constantly making jokes at his expense. So he decides to get back at them by hitting them where it hurts…their wallets and their ego.

Why watch it

The film explores the familiar poker game at your friend’s place setting which tests friendship, ego, pain and humor in a very believable & personal way. The pace of the film and the dialogues emote real-life conversations which we can all relate to. Freeze Out won the Best Feature Award at the Westwood International Film Festival & was the official selection at the 2006 Omaha film Festival & the 2006 Cinequest Viewer’s Voice Festival. Watch it with your poker gang.

You can find many other poker movies out there, but as I said earlier, the movies mentioned here includes the best poker films ever. All of these films are great entertaining movies that you will surely enjoy whether you play poker games or not.

If you wish to add to this list or if you think I missed out any films then let me know by commenting below! Happy viewing!