Movies with casino themes are some of the most entertaining and action-packed flicks around. They are exciting productions that manage to capture all the thrills and spills of casino games from the very start of their plotlines. Poker is one example of a game that has been represented in dozens of different blockbuster hits over the years. Here we take a look at the top ten movies that make use of the strategic game as the main subject matter.
The most famous poker movie of them all, Rounders is a 90s classic featuring a star-studded cast of actors including Matt Damon and Edward Norton. It gives viewers a fictional look into the world of underground, high-stakes poker. A film that will have you on the edge of your seat until the credits roll, Rounders grossed a whopping $8.5 million during its first week in theatres.
The Cincinnati Kid (1965)
Going back in time a few decades to the 60s, The Cincinnati Kid storyline revolves around a poker player who is determined to beat one of the best players the game has ever seen, simply called ‘The Man’. Based on the 1963 book of the same name by Richard Jessup, the film is a classic selection in the library of poker movies.
Bet Raise Fold (2013)
A look at the origins of the online poker industry which rose to prominence in the early 2000s, Bet Raise Fold is a highly entertaining and equally interesting account of a new wave of poker gameplay that would come to dominate the internet. It’s especially insightful to watch this movie in the context of today’s virtual poker environment where countless users all around the world now have the ability to Play Texas Hold’em Online from remote locations thanks to technological developments. Viewers will see how the audience of internet poker players Bet Raise Fold addresses has since exploded into a huge network of users which continues to expand each day.
High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story (2003)
High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story is a 2003 production based on the true story of the life of Stu Ungar, the late professional poker player who rose to fame in the mid-80s. Widely regarded as the ultimate master of Texas Hold’em at this time, the movie documents the different stages of the World Series of Poker champion’s life from start to finish.
Mississippi Grind (2015)
Another fictional poker movie, this time featuring Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn, Mississippi Grind tells the story of two men that venture out on a road trip across the Southern U.S. with the goal to play in a high-stakes poker game in New Orleans, Louisiana. With themes of friendship and loyalty, Mississippi Grind is definitely worth the watch.
Molly’s Game (2017)
The film that rocked theatres and streaming services like Netflix the year it was released, Molly’s Game is a biographical drama directed by award winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. The movie recounts the fascinating turn of events that caused former Olympic skier Molly Bloom to become the leader of one of the most exclusive underground poker games of the mid-2000s. Based on the book by Bloom herself, Molly’s Game went on to earn Jessica Chastain a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress and Sorkin multiple nominations including an Oscar and Writers Guild nod.
California Split (1974)
Another poker flick that features two men who become pals over their shared love of poker, California Split stars George Segal and Elliott Gould as they meet and form a friendship in a betting club in Southern California and go on to play in multiple poker games together.
Casino Royale (2006)
One of the most successful and well-known films in the long-running James Bond franchise, Casino Royale may not be considered a classic poker movie, but it does feature one special poker scene that most viewers won’t easily forget. The scene in question is when Bond takes down the villainous Le Chiffre with a straight flush in a high-stakes game, winning a cool $115 million.
The film edition of the T.V. show of the same name, Maverick tells the story of the fictional character Bret Maverick (played by Mel Gibson) and his journey to play in a major poker championship. Through an entire set of unforeseeable twists and turns, viewers are taken on a wild ride of action and suspense.
Shade is set in Sin City itself, where three friends, Tiffany, Charlie, and Venom, attempt to compete against a high-level player called ‘The Dean’ who is famous in poker circles. However, before having any shot at being realistic competition, they must collect enough money to have a seat at the table.