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Top 27 Best Poker Movies

Written by Jason Frakk. Last updated on
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What is better than watching a gripping, well-produced movie?

What else but watching a gripping, well-produced poker movie!

With all of the movies available online, you may have trouble finding great movies about poker.

That is why we would love to give you a helping hand!

Get it?

Because the movies are about poker and in poker we deal with hands…Okay, we promise you that the movies are better than our lame puns.

If you have some spare time this week, grab some beers, lay down and watch a great film. So brace yourselves, my fellow poker players who have good taste with movies. Here they are!

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The Sting

This is a must watch not only for poker players but just everyone in general. This is about two grifters (con artists) who cons $11,000 (around $189,000 today) from a victim.

The victim turns out to be a footman for a crime boss (this is the Great Depression of the 1930’s after all) and what ensued is a great story about revenge and intrigue. There is a high stakes poker game here which you should not miss.

2. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

For those in the mood for a much more stylized film, this is the right one for you.

Four friends lost quite a bit of money in a game (which turns out to be highly-rigged).

They then try to acquire the money to pay their debt, legally or illegally. The gambling part is just the icing on the blood-stained, highly stylish cake that this film turns out to be.

3. Casino

****With A-list actors like Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone as cast, and with director Martin Scorcese at the helm, you can bet that the movie is going to be great!

This is a great story of what happens if the gambling sector is run by the old ones (crime groups and mafia) to the new ones (capitalists and big corporations). Seen through the eyes of the characters, this action-packed tale will definitely be a great movie to watch!

4 Cool Hand Luke

One of the classics, this 1967 film is about Luke, a war veteran, who one night decided to cut electric meters off their poles and then was sent to prison.

This has the air of the cool guy rebellion and is a good pick me up story from the 1960s.

The poker game he played in the prison is an example of a great bluff, which earned Luke a win and the moniker “Cool Hand Luke”. A good watch, if you ask me.

5. The Hustler

Another classic that does deserve the rave reviews, The Hustler is a story about “Fast Eddie”, a small-time hustler who feels he is a big fish in a small pond. He wants to be an even bigger fish in an even bigger pond.

It shows the effects of winning, losing and learning all poker players cycle about. This story is much more compelling than what my summary is, so please watch this great, great film.

6. Rain Man

Everybody should have watched this at least once in their life.

For those who want a more touching and heartfelt movie, this one is for you.

Their journey is a great story to watch, and the card counting done here is really good (and of course anybody can do this, not only Savants like Raymond.

Card Counting is not illegal, but casinos do ban counters though so play it safe).

7. Casino Royale

Another action-packed film, this is Agent 007’s first mission and it is perfect for those who want to have the adrenaline kick.

The poker game is genuinely exciting and of course, the action scenes are great.

A good movie to start your day; it gets you pumped up to just win everything.

8. Freeze Out

Freeze Out is an interesting movie, not only because of the comedy but also because of this movie was financed by the director’s own poker winnings!

Plus, it is the all too familiar friendly poker game that escalated so hard, where friendships are questioned (kinda like a normal monopoly night). A great movie to watch with your poker friends. No trailers though, but your own friendly poker games should be a good sneak peek.

9. Bob le Flambeur

For those who like the taste of French films, Bob le Flambeur is an excellent film how old habits die hard; Bob is an ex-convict who is now broke and is now planning to rob a casino.

I will not spoil you on how it turns out, but it is a great film all in all. Not only does he have an excellent poker face, the equal parts tragic and comic ending is something to be seen.

10. The Game

A Drama, Mystery and Thriller, The Game is a thrilling story about an investment banker who has his life drained out of his job and relationships.

The direction and writing are second to none for the middle part.

Plus, there are a lot of games here where you might learn a thing or two, and not just about poker or gambling.

11. Ocean’s Eleven

With a cast that has stars that put the evening sky to shame, Ocean’s Eleven is a well-loved film about a bank heist. There are so many A-list stars on the cast which makes this film, even more, fun to watch.

This is an underwhelming review of an overwhelming film, so please do yourself the favor of watching this, or rewatching this, a great masterpiece. There is a great poker game sequence too and the ending is just a treat to the eyes.

12. The Hangover

Not exactly Poker-related, but is just a great laugh trip. With the setting in Vegas, we follow three friends (we can call them idiots as well) as they try to find their friend before he gets married.

I find the Blackjack scene really funny as well as a great jab towards card counting.

13. McCabe & Mrs. Miller

The Timeless McCabe & Mrs. Miller is a must watch for everyone. It is about a gambler and a prostitute who made a business. They rejected an offer to be bought and the capitalists sent bounty hunters to take care of them.

The ending is so bittersweet, and McCabe is implied to be a great gambler and is respected by other poker players in the town. This must be required viewing for everyone.

14. Regalo di Natale

Regalo di Natale, or the Christmas Present, is a great Italian drama-comedy about how four friends gathering and playing poker actually reveals their true nature, both the good and the bad**.**

The poker game is the highlight and the plot device; it is really like a good hand being slowly unfolded. If you can understand Italian or have no problem with subtitles, then this is a movie you should watch.

15. Leaving Las Vegas

Nicolas Cage does a great job in this film as an alcoholic scriptwriter who met a prostitute and then hit it off and forms a relationship. It is a great drama about two dysfunctional people who finally found a great companion perfect for them.

Around more than an hour into the movie, they were playing at a Caribbean Stud Poker table, which is a poker variant where you play against the house.

16. The Killing of a Chinese Bookie

An action and crime film, this 1976 movie shows a darker side to the poker world, when it was being ruled over by crime syndicates.

A man, due to losing a lot of money in a poker game, was forced to kill a small-time Chinese bookie.

Said Chinese Bookie turns out to be the boss of the Chinese Mafia. This is a great action-packed film.

17. Follow the Bitch

A good film for getting laughs, the bitch here means less of the “nasty girl” we are thinking but is actually about the “queen” in a game.

It is deeper than it sounds and it also shows how one man tries to keep this poker night tradition with his friends from being forgotten.

Watch this with a glass of water at hand, you do not want to be choking while laughing.

18. Atlantic City

A 1980 Crime Drama, Atlantic City is about a gangster and a pot dealer’s wife who tries to make this corrupt city to their own little piece of heaven.

The wife is taking classes on how to be a blackjack dealer, so you might want to follow her journey (and not what she ends up doing at the end).

A great watch if you are feeling more introspective.

19. God of Gamblers

If you want a wacky movie to watch and do not mind subtitles, then God of Gamblers might tickle your fancy.

This Hong Kong film is funny (I love slapstick humor) and the supernatural elements add more fun.

There is also this fun poker game which is a treat to see.

20. A Big Hand for the Little Lady

This is a 1966 Poker classic.

Not only is it funny, it has a great plot twist which I will not spoil.

Let us just say that the little lady is definitely not so little!

Just watch it, how she plays poker is half cute and half cool, and wholly awesome to watch!

21. Rounders

With Matt Damon as the lead actor, Rounders is a great movie, not just for poker fans, but for everyone!

The Texas Hold’em shown here is really great and just the poker games in general, you might just pause the game to take down notes (I did a couple of times).

22. House of Games

Boy oh boy, where do I start?

A psychiatrist is trying to help her patient out of a debt he owes. The creditor runs poker games for a living.

The creditor accepts with a condition, the psychiatrist must look at the other player’s’ body language and help him win.

Watch it. It is great.

23. The Gambler

We can be are our own biggest enemies to ourselves. A professor who has a gambling problem**.** Fed up, his family no longer helps him after a big loss.

The ending is just so good to be missed out.

24. The Cincinnati Kid

Prepare yourself for the timeless film about poker, risks, and pay-offs.

The final poker game is a classic. It might have been released at 1965 but there is a lot you can learn.

25. California Split

A 1974 Comedy and Drama film about how gambling veteran Charlie and poker newbie Bill have fun, winning some and losing some and finally do their split.

It talks about the so-called beginner’s luck, excitement, and apathy found in poker.

A great educating movie.

26. Croupier

For those who want a more technical take on poker which is at the same time an exciting film, look no further than Croupier.

There is also two distinct phases seen in the character, which you can argue is present to all of us, the Gambler and the Croupier.

An amazing treat to watch.

27. Maverick

To end on a lighter note, Maverick is a great and enjoyable take on the poker world.

Maverick is like your poker game with friends where you are not really betting anything and is just a lot of fun.

You will find hot-headed gamblers, wisecracking gamblers, and just funny players in this journey of Maverick to a five-card draw poker contest.

There are still a lot more films about gambling and poker, but I can say this list here is the cream of the crop.

In the meantime, enjoy these movies, these are all great (or at least better than our puns).

If you have any recommendations or any other comments or suggestions, or you want to tell us how wrong or how right we are, just leave a comment or send us DVD box sets, you do you.

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