The game's drama is one of the most enjoyable aspects of poker. Imagine the excitement that professional poker players feel when they play, knowing that a single card could change the course of their entire lives.
Many Hollywood directors have made films about poker, other gambling-related games, and casinos in general because they know how popular it is and how massive an audience it attracts. How about a list of all time's best poker movies? To discover more, continue reading.
10 Best Poker Movies
The list above shows the best movies about poker, from the least favoured by the audience to the most favoured. Still, regardless of their score, all of the movies are famous poker movies that have, at one point, been trending in the poker world. Check them out, and rate for yourself!
No 10 - Deal
- Year Made: 2008
- Lead Actor: Burt Reynolds
- Director: Gil Cates Jr.
- Box office: $85,076
- IMDB Rating: 5.3/10
When it comes to poker movies, Deal is one of the more controversial ones. It's not a classic by any means, but if you like poker movies, this one is worth checking out.
Burt Reynolds (Tommy) and Bret Harrison (Alex) are the stars of the movie. On the surface, the story centres around ex-poker player Tommy's attempts to teach Alex the techniques and strategies he needs to succeed in the poker world. In exchange for tutoring Alex on how to play poker and arranging for him to compete in tournaments, Tommy is entitled to a share of Alex's prize money.
If you want to see a lot of poker in the movie, you'll be pleased to know that it has Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Laak, and Mike Sexton, all of whom appear in various poker situations.
Because Deal was mainly geared towards poker fanatics, it didn't get much attention and wasn't recognized as one of the best poker movies of all time, which is a shame because it featured a great idea.
As long as your expectations are realistic, you won't feel like you wasted a few hours of your life.
No 9 – Lucky You
- Year Made: 2007
- Lead Actor: Eric Bana, Drew Barrymore, Robert Duvall, Phyllis Somerville
- Director: Curtis Hanson
- Box office: $8,461,686
- IMDB Rating: 5.9/10
This is another poker movie that received mixed reviews from the general public and those who play the game.
Lucky You portrays the stories of L.C. Cheever (Robert Duvall) and Huck Cheever (Eric Bana). A two-time WSOP champion, L.C., is Huck's father, and Huck attempts to follow in his footsteps in the poker game. Huck has never forgiven L.C. for leaving his mother; thus, no love is lost between the father and son.
As the two arrive in Las Vegas to compete in the same poker event, Huck hopes to finally make it in the game and re-establish a relationship with his family. As a result, the L.C. and his son will be able to reconnect and begin to heal through the medium of poker.
There is a lot of poker going on in the movie, so if this sounds tedious, don't worry; it's actually more about poker than repairing family ties or Huck having luck with Billie (Drew Barrymore).
Some prominent faces, such as Sammy Farha, Jen Harman, and Berry Greenstein, appear at the tables, which is quite exciting.
Overall, it is an entertaining film with a lot of gameplay footage, which most of us were hoping for.
No 8 – High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story
- Year Made: 2003
- Lead Actor: Al Bernstein, Andrew N.S. Glazer, Michael Imperioli, Brian Kaplan
- Director: A.W. Vidmer
- Box office: Unlisted
- IMDB Rating: 6/10
Stu "The Kid" Ungar is a legendary figure in the world of poker, one that many of the younger players may not be familiar with.
High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story chronicles the story of "The Kid," from his early days playing gin rummy, through his transition to Texas Hold 'em (and dominating the game for many years) to his heartbreaking demise.
Although many cards are being dealt, The Stu Ungar Story is worth watching for another reason: to discover more about his career and his issues, which led to his early retirement from poker.
Despite this film's criticism for "glorifying" depraved behaviour, it is only an account of a single person's experiences. While Ungar's self-destructive mentality is undeniable, his accomplishments in poker are unaffected.
When Ungar died, aged 45, he was widely regarded as one of the greatest poker players of all time, winning five bracelets at the World Series of Poker.
No 7 – Shade
- Year Made: 2003
- Lead Actor: Joe Nicolo, Carl Mazzocone Sr., George Tovar, Frank Medrano
- Director: Damian Nieman
- Box office: $459,098
- IMDB Rating: 6.3/10
Shade is a terrific pick for individuals who enjoy action and tension in their films. The plot of the movie revolves around a hustle gone bad. A group of swindlers sets up a high-stakes poker game to get their hands on their stolen money. But things don't go as planned, and soon they're being pursued by mobsters.
From the characters' performance to the photography and even the poker scenes, Shade is a high-quality film.
You may be surprised by a few narrative turns, and the story will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
There are also some amusing and realistic sequences of poker being played, which is rare in Hollywood films. Overall, it's a solid poker movie that's well worth your time.
No 6 – All In: The Poker Movie
- Year Made: 2009
- Lead Actor: Karen Abbott, Peter Alson, Nick Brancato, Humberto Brenes
- Director: Douglas Tirola
- Box office: Unlisted
- IMDB Rating: 6.6/10
All In: The Poker Movie is a great trip down memory lane if you want to reminisce.
The movie chronicles poker history, from its beginnings to Moneymaker's historic Main Event victory in 2003 to the terrible events of Black Friday in Las Vegas.
"All In" cast features several familiar characters, including Antonio Esfandiari, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, Annie Duke, Chris Ferguson, Phil Laak, Moneymaker, etc. It's a fascinating look at the rise of poker as a popular pastime in the United States and around the world and how many people use it as a way to achieve their American Dream.
Anyone interested in poker history, whether for entertainment purposes or to catch up on the events that made poker what it is today, should take the time to watch this film, regardless of whether you're an experienced player or simply a casual fan.
Certain scenes in this film, such as Moneymaker's recollection of his 2003 WSOP run or the Black Friday, are incredibly remarkable and will provide you with fresh insights into the game after seeing them.
All In is a real award-winning documentary, unlike the other films on this list.
No 5 - Maverick
- Year Made: 1994
- Lead Actor: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, James Garner, Graham Greene
- Director: Richard Donner
- Box office: $183 million
- IMDB Rating: 7/10
Nominated for 3 Oscars and a winner of one in the category: Top Box Office Films, Maverick is a recreation of the character James Garner from the 1950s TV program.
Even if you're not a poker fan, you can enjoy this entertaining action-comedy embellished with gambling elements.
Gibson's Bret Maverick desperately needs an extra $3,000 to enter an upcoming winner-takes-all poker event. Maverick's only option for making money is gambling, so he teams up with Annabelle Bransford (Foster).
All throughout, the film maintains a lighthearted tone, with Maverick's efforts to secure the money needed for his next few days leading the two into several thrilling and even scary situations.
You may get perplexed as to why Maverick appears on so many best poker movie lists while being the least "poker-centric" of them all. To those who are unfamiliar with poker, this film is a terrific pick for a light Sunday afternoon viewing because of the film's excellent mix of poker, gambling, and everything else.
Essentially, Maverick, starring Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, and James Garner, is a lighthearted picture that focuses on poker but contains a slew of amusing and enjoyable subplots.
No 4 - The Cincinnati Kid
- Year Made: 1965
- Lead Actor: Steve McQueen, Ann-Margret, Edward G. Robinson, Karl Malden
- Director: Norman Jewison
- Box office: $7 million
- IMDB Rating: 7.2/10
The story of a long, tense poker game between a rising young star and an experienced veteran is told beautifully in this film. In this game of cat and mouse, Edward G. Robinson and Steve McQueen each bring their A-game to the table in pursuit of any and all advantages they can get their hands on.
With a strong supporting cast of veteran performers, both guys shine. Ann-Margret is a charming siren who can't seem to sit still when she's in the same room like the Cincinnati Kid. He is the corrupted card dealer's wife, and she sluts her way through her interpretation of the role as the slut.
Although Tuesday Weld is charming as a fragile, love-struck young woman, the romantic subplot involving the Cincinnati Kid and his girlfriend doesn't ring true.
Realistic shots of New Orleans' gritty underbelly are captured in the film's cinematography, adding another exciting layer to the film. The song features jazzy music and Ray Charles's sultry vocals.
Based on the realistic novel by Richard Jessup, the movie is a gripping look into the gambling community. Thanks to its distinctive direction and stylish directing, in addition to a fantastic cast and a gritty plot, The Cincinnati Kid is one of the best poker movies ever.
No 3 - Rounders
- Year Made: 1998
- Lead Actor: Matt Damon, Edward Norton, Gretchen Mol, John Malkovich
- Director: John Dahl
- Box office: $22.9 million
- IMDB Rating: 7.3/10
You can't go wrong if you put Rounders at the top of your poker movie list. It was the first poker film to reference Texas Hold 'em game variation, which was about to take the globe by storm while featuring Matt Damon, Edward Norton, John Malkovich and Gretchen Mol.
Mike McDermott (Damon) is a young shot who dreams of becoming a professional poker player and taking a risk in Las Vegas.
A skilled player, Mike fails miserably at high-stakes underground games when up against Teddy KGB (Malkovich) because he lacks an understanding of money management.
After the defeat, Mike vows to himself and his girlfriend (Mol) to give up poker for good and never return to it again. Even so, Mike returns to the poker tables after his friend Worm (Norton) is released from jail and needs money; they go on an adventure filled with poker and adrenaline.
We won't give away the ending to those who haven't watched the movie yet. Because it's a rare film, Rounders is well worth seeing. It's a terrific movie about friendship, loyalty, and the significance of believing in oneself beyond just poker.
Writers didn't pay much attention to matters like types of poker and stake sizes when it came to the poker sequences, which is, to be fair, a standard error in poker movies. Nevertheless, we don't think this detracts from the film's quality in any way.
No 2 – Molly's Game
- Year Made: 2017
- Lead Actor: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner
- Director: Aaron Sorkin
- Box office: $59,284,015
- IMDB Rating: 7.4/10
"Molly's Game," one of the latest movies on a real-life poker player, was filmed in 2017 and features the true story of "Poker Queen" Molly Bloom, who hosted secret high-stakes games for some of the greatest names in Hollywood and business.
The movie stars Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, and Kevin Costner depict the Hollywood version of Bloom's life, from her early days as an Olympic-class skier to her eventual collapse for arranging illegal poker games.
The script isn't bad overall, even though some of the acts and circumstances in the film seem overblown. Even poker purists won't have anything to complain about because the writers got most of the poker stuff right.
Although it may seem like there is too much money and glamour in the air, the profiles of those associated with these activities make it easy to trust that everything is as described.
Molly's Game is a must-see for every poker enthusiast.
No 1 – Casino Royale
- Year Made: 2006
- Lead Actor: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright
- Director: Martin Campbell
- Box office: $616,502,912
- IMDB Rating: 8/10
While it's hard to characterize this film as a poker movie, it is undeniably a significant aspect of the story.
Daniel Craig plays agent 007 in this instalment of the legendary James Bond franchise.
A $10.000.000 buy-in tournament is the only way he can stop terrorists from funding their operations, so he enters it.
This film contains a lot of action and some gorgeous women (including Eva Green), and it should keep you entertained for at least 2.5 hours. As far as we're concerned, the movie is an excellent pick for anyone who's into action, Bond and gambling.
As you can see, this list of the best poker movies provides you with a wide range of options, so you're sure to find something you like. Pick by your preferences and start watching today!