Best Poker Movies
Movies have been using poker for dramatic effect for centuries. When done correctly, these movies do so more than just accurately displaying the game. A great poker movie would be giving viewers a sense of subculture in poker, and how it impacts those who play it.
There are potentially hundreds of ‘poker videos’ that are poorly described. Poker is now a global trend, after all. Let’s highlight and list our top ten suggestions for poker movies here for your enjoyment in viewing.
- Rounders (1998)
Rounders does something other people aren’t bold enough to do: they don’t ask for your permission. Although every other poker film attempts to get the viewer to understand poker and its players, Rounders didn’t have to. What all it has to say is that Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) wants to be the very best.
It is as clear as the desire of Rocky to distance himself from Apollo. He wants to be the best, for not being the best means losing. And that is just terrible. Plain and simple.
This is why Rounders interacts better with viewers than any other poker movie. We all have reasons to do what we do and maybe we share them with a character of fiction. But maybe not. One thing we certainly all want, though, is to be the best and we appreciate the work it takes to get there.
- Luna’s Game (2001)
The story follows Luna who is following her father’s footsteps in becoming a professional poker player in the big leagues. The only other problem is that she’s trying to avenge her dead father by finding the loan shark who murdered him.
Underground poker took it all out of Luna, but she still wants poker. She’s not rationalizing herself through this. She is instead trying to rationalize herself out of it. Yet she does not have a say. Poker to the blood. Without it she would be left incomplete.
This movie isn’t very well known but we highly recommend this as the story keeps you engaged throughout the whole movie.
- California Split (1974)
Bill Denny hates his work, and is fond of poker. When playing Razz, he encounters world-class degen Charlie Waters in a card room and agrees that Water’s way of life is better. They celebrate together the life of an American professional gambler in the 1970’s.
Poker culture glamorizes life in degen and you can see why — it looks crazy fun! So what do you want? Would you keep this lifestyle on board? What do you want to be deep down?
California Split asks all these questions and does not place any judgment on the replies. Yet it shows that the degen lifestyle is crazy fun indeed, and it can be the life you’ve always wanted! Yet it also demonstrates that a lifestyle like this takes tremendous energy to sustain. It could become a no-escape nightmare!
- FInder’s Fee (2001)
The plot follows a group of friends who have a weekly home game where everybody buys lottery tickets, and their sit-and-go winner gets to hold them all. It stops being fun when one of them discovers the winning ticket in a misplaced pocket, and its rightful owner arrives just in time to start the game.
James Earl Jones and Robert Foster were the only major names at the time of Finder’s Fee but it also includes Ryan Reynolds, Dash Mihok, and Matthew Lillard before they were famous.
Finder ‘s Fee at its heart is a realistic analysis of how greed kills the hearts of decent people, and turns them into beasts. In the film we see kind-hearted people turning themselves into scheming psychopaths who do not care who gets hurt as long as they are paid.
This film was written and directed by Jeff Probst, who is best known as Survivor’s host, and his lack of experience as a director shows despite a great script. Luckily, writing inevitably outweighs the course the film takes, and we’re completely embraced by a poker game where $6 million and human dignity are at stake.
- Molly’s Game (2017)
The story follows Molly Bloom who was an aspiring Olympic skier before those hopes were shattered forever by an accident. She discovers she can make good money by arranging high stakes poker games on her own with next to no purpose in life.
Molly’s Game at its heart is about fixing yourself even though life insists on breaking you down. Molly goes through satisfying highs and free falling lows in the film, she never stays down for long though.