Poker movies get to the heart of what makes people tick, and that’s why they make great thrillers. Poker movies have a long history and reveal interesting aspects of human nature.
While some claim that poker originated from the domino card game by the Chinese emperor in the tenth century, others say that it originated from the 1500s Persian card game known as “As Nas”. The game in its current form was codified by Edmond Hoyle (1672-1769), the British writer who was the first to formally formulate the rules of poker.
According to Casinobaltics gambling expert Kristaps Gauja movies about poker are interesting not only for those who play it, but also for the wider public. These films are distinguished by an extraordinary storyline and demonstrate to the audience the outstanding card abilities of the characters.
Here are the top 10 best poker movies to watch for every fan of the game.
1. Drama “Rounders” (1998).
The script for Rounders originated from the true story of Brian Koppelman. Starring Matt Damon. The storyline begins with the meeting of the protagonist with a friend nicknamed “Worm” after imprisonment. A $15,000 debt pushes friends to the dark side as cheating turns out to be the easiest way to make money.
The moral of the movie is simple: the worst thing a young player can do is win one day. It is much more difficult to get hooked on bitter defeats than on a sweet long-awaited victory, and the saddest thing is that casino owners are well aware of this. But the inexperienced, agitated victims of the card tables are not.
Mike McDermot is no longer a naive deer under the guns of other people’s money hunters: the guy knows what it’s like to put all-in and leave the table with thousands of dollars in debt. And Michael knows that he does not want to repeat this experience.
The chapter of the film promises himself and his girlfriend not to get involved in any more gambling activities and to supplant dreams of poker fame and fortune with hard study for law school.
And maybe this process of sublimating dangerous ambitions would have ended successfully, and Mike would have become an exemplary husband, father and lawyer in demand, but his old friend Lester breaks into his life.
This character is the kind of guy whose friends’ girlfriends immediately look at him with suspicion. And it’s hard to have no preconceptions about a man who was nicknamed The Worm and recently came out from prison.
Also, Lester owes some very serious people, and without Mike’s help is doomed to become wormed into more than just a nickname. McDermott has to break his plans for a peaceful future, pick up his cards again and gamble on his friend’s life.
2. Comedy “Ace” (1981).
The gambler “Ace” in the story and the irresistible Italian actor Adriano Celentano decided to get married and quit poker forever. The idea on the wedding to visit the bar for the next game leads to a steep win and the murder of the protagonist. Feelings for his beloved wife Sylvia return him as a ghost to arrange a good future for her and protect her.
3. Action-adventure-western with elements of the comedy “Maverick”
Fans of westerns and poker will love Maverick, as the film captures the style and spirit of the Wild West.
The story revolves around a tournament with a huge pot. The legendary poker player Bret Maverick, played by Mel Gibson, wants to take the money. He’s only $3,000 short of the buy-in to get in. The Wild West atmosphere, the excitement of 5-card poker and all sorts of adventure, is impossible to shake off.
Mel was joined by the equally talented actors Jodie Foster and James Garner. The trio’s stunning performance was the key to the film’s success.
4. Western “Big hand for a Little Lady” (1966).
The sweetest family has spent their sweetest lives saving up for the sweetest farm so that their sweetest son will have the sweetest future. Well, what could be nicer. Unless it’s puppies, the final episodes of sitcoms, or the news about the reopening of borders.
But in the film there will be only a family of cute future farmers, and even she, in fact, will not touch the audience for long with her naivety and reliability. Heroes on the way to a dream stop to spend the night in a hotel where every year a poker tournament is held by very rich men.
As is the custom with many very rich men, the gamblers at the hotel are used to passing their money only to each other, and they do not want to share it with anyone else.
Rude, especially to the father of the loveliest of families, who remembered his ill-fated past as a gambler and was willing to risk the future of his wife and son for a moment’s gambling.
How can you reject a request like that? Dad sits down at the table, predictably loses and becomes so nervous that he has a heart attack.
The sweet mum, who has lost, gets only the look of a dog chewing on her slippers and the cards. Cute family has become an incomplete and very poor family, and now the woman, who has never played poker in her life, has to win back her shattered sweet life from the very rich men.
5. Biographical film with a touch of drama The Big Game(2017).
Jessica Chastain plays Molly Bloom, the real-life woman who ran the infamous Viper Room in Los Angeles, a high-stakes poker game with celebrities (not legally).
At first just following orders from her abusive employer, Molly eventually ‘steals’ the game from her boss and builds an empire as a poker princess. As shown in the film, her real clients were top celebrities, business tycoons and members of the Russian Mafia.
6. Masterpiece of the black comedy “Lock, stock and two smoking barrels” (1998).
In an attempt to hit the jackpot with the criminal and sharpie Harry the Ax, four poker players fall into terrible debts. The guys are not looking for simple ways, they decide to rob robbers who are planning to rob a shipment of marijuana for drug lords. Cut fingers or get 500 thousand pounds within a week.
7. Drama, thriller “Player” (2014).
Michael Imperioli (Jersey mobster Christopher Moltisanti from The Sopranos) stars in this true story of poker legend Stu Ungar, who had an ultra-high IQ and started gambling at the age of ten.
Considered by many to be the greatest gin rummy player of all time, Ungar is the only person in history to win both the World Series of Poker and the Super Bowl of Poker. During his poker career, Ungar won over $30 million but died penniless at 42.
8. Drama “The Cincinnati Kid”(1965).
The Cincinnati Kid is another classic poker movie starring the legendary Steve McQueen and Ann-Margret. It plunges us into the world of poker games even before the creation of the WSOP championship, because the events of the film take place in the distant 1930s.
The star of New Orleans, the best poker player “Kid Cincinnati” enters into a rivalry with the newcomer to the city Lancy Howard. The screen version of stud poker, embodied in the struggle between two professionals and four amateurs, is thought out to the smallest detail.
9. Thriller, horror, action movie “Poker Night” (2014).
A detective named Stan Jeter lived a moderate life. The game is accompanied by service stories with the most terrible story and salvation from a maniac, the movie will tickle your nerves.
10. Drama “Mississippi Grind”(2014).
Ludomaniac Jerry is dragging deeper and deeper into the abyss of the game. Meeting with a young player Curtis with the same problem for excitement. Touring the Mississippi for survival.
The selection of poker films can be supplemented at your discretion. Happy viewing!
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