Even though poker is a hugely popular game, there aren’t many films on it. This list is ranked by IMDb as the finest poker movies.
Although poker is a popular game around the world, there are surprisingly few films that focus on the subject matter. It’s not unusual for a movie to have a character go to Vegas or gamble in some way, but a film solely devoted to poker seems to be extremely uncommon.
Fortunately, poker-themed movies tend to be high quality. Not every poker movie is a winner as every baseball or soccer movie is a winner, but there are a surprising number of great poker movies, and according to IMDb’s rankings, these are the best of the best.
1. Lucky You (2007): 5.9
Huck Cheever (Eric Bana) is a poker player who dreams of competing in the World Series of Poker main event in Las Vegas. In order to participate, he will require $10,000 in cash.
Two-time World Series of Poker winner L.C. Cheever portrays Huck’s estranged father and Drew Barrymore as Billie Offer opposite Robert Duvall as Huck’s father. Though not all of the material succeeds, the outstanding ensemble elevates the material in this unique combination of poker excitement and love drama.
2. High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story (2003): 6.1
A biopic of professional poker player, Stu Ungar, High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story is clearly stated in the title. Known as the greatest Texas Hold ‘Em player of all time, Ungar is just one of two players in history to win three World Series of Poker main event titles.
For most of his life, Ungar was afflicted with a debilitating drug addiction, which led to his death at the age of 45 from drug-related problems. ‘The Sopranos’ Michael Imperioli plays the character in the film.
3. Mississippi Grind (2015): 6.4
Mississippi Grind, starring Ryan Reynolds and BenMendelsohn, is more of a gambling movie than a poker movie. Curtis Vaughn (Reynolds) is a teenage gambler, whereas Gerry (Mendelsohn) is a middle-aged man who has lost everything.
Gerald suggests a gambling excursion down the Mississippi River with Curtis, which involves a riverboat casino poker session on the Mississippi River. Mississippi Grindis is both a buddy road movie and a heartbreaking look at gambling addiction, but its performances and unique Southern ambiance make it worth a watch.
4. Maverick (1994): 7.0
Maverick, a 1994 poker film directed by Richard Donner and featuring a star-studded cast, received generally positive reviews upon its initial release. As Bret Maverick, Mel Gibson portrays him to perfection. There are big stakes in poker, and Maverick is looking for ways to raise and steal money in order to buy into the game.
Zane Cooper, played by the late James Garner, and another con artist,Annabelle Bransford, played by Jodie Foster, join him. You can’t go wrong with such a talented group of actors in this film.
5. California Split (1974): 7.2
George Segal and Elliott Gould star in Robert Altman’s California Split as Bill Denny and Charlie Waters, respectively. Despite the fact that Bill and Charlie both enjoy gambling, Charlie has far more experience in this area. Despite the fact that Bill is a novice, he quickly gains an appetite for the game as his winnings mount.
Amarillo Slim, the real-life 1972 World Series of Poker champion played by Amarillo Slim himself, appears in a scene with Bill.
6. A Big Hand For The Little Lady (1966): 7.3
Originally titled A Big Hand for the Little Lady in the United Kingdom, Fielder Cook produced and directed the film known in the United States as Big Deal in Dodge City.
Henry Fonda, Joanne Woodward, Paul Ford, Burgess Meredith, and Jason Robards, who previously appeared in Henry Fonda’s classic WesternOnce Upon a Time in the West, star in this comic western, which also features Paul Ford. In one film, you get a Western, a comedy, and a poker movie. So, what’s the catch?
7. Rounders (1998): 7.3
The movie “Rounders” is one of the most well-known depictions of the game ever made (receiving a significant boost in popularity after poker became big in the mid-2000s). IMDb, on the other hand, rates it as one of the worst. One of the most impressive ensembles in a poker movie history can be found in the 1998 release Rounders, which features a cast that includes Matt Damon, Edward Norton, John Turturro, John Malkovich, and Famke Janssen.
Two buddies, Mike McDermott (Damon) and Worm Murphy (Norton), attempt to pay off some deadly loan sharks by winning big at high stakes poker.
8. The Cincinnati Kid (1965): 7.3
Eric “The Kid” Stoner (Steve McQueen) stars in The Cincinnati Kid, an adaptation of Richard Jessup’s novel of the same name. Edward G. Robinson’s Lancey “The Man” Howard is the best poker player in the world, and The Kid wants to play against him one day.
McQueen gives one of his usual stellar performances, and the film’s poker sequences are both instructive and thrilling.
9. Molly’s Game (2017): 7.4
Molly’s Game, written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, is based on Molly Bloom’s memoir of the same name. Skier Bloom was fatally injured while attempting to qualify for the Olympic Games. Bloom was in her early 30s when she ran a Los Angeles-based underground poker operation that drew high-profile players including rich celebrities and athletes, as well as Russian mob figures.
A federal inquiry led to her being accused with money laundering and conducting an illicit gambling organization.
10. Casino Royale (2006): 8.0
Casino Royale is the most card-heavy James Bond film to date, if not the most card-heavy Bond film of all time. Bond travels to Montenegro to stop terrorist banker Le Chiffre from winning large at a Texas Hold ‘Em tournament for most of the second act.
Tuxes, fine beverages, and an amazing location are all part of the film’s lavish high-class poker scenes. This is poker at its finest, and it’s a treat to see.