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Poker is something special. It is an addicting game that hooks players from every walk of life so it is no longer surprising that a number of movie producers and directors would want to invest their creative resources into making poker movies that would entice even non-players.
This mind game interests people because it is mysterious and intriguing. Nothing really compares to the thrill and excitement poker gives it players – be it in a tournament or in the basement of your home. Probably one of the best qualities of poker is it can be easily learned but quite difficult to master. This game of skill requires its players to be intelligent, smart, and confident without being too obvious – part of what makes it mysterious. People have this notion that players sitting on the table really know what they are doing. This is the reason why a lot of really entertaining and interesting movies were based around poker. So while you are visiting Malaysia and exploring all its beauty, watch these top poker movies for some entertainment.
Top Poker Movies to Watch
Starring: Matt Damon, Edward Notion, John Malkovich, and Gretchen Mol
Running for 121 minutes, Rounders will definitely cause you to learn and play poker for a long time. This movie tells the story of a young and reformed gambler who was forced to return to playing high-stakes poker to help his friend pay off huge loan debts. The term “rounder” describes the journey they make as they travel around from city to city to play in high-stakes poker. He must do this whilst spending some time with his girlfriend and manage his time studying in law school. Directed by John Dahl, Rounders is the movie that caused Matt Damon to come to love poker in real life. It is said that the seasoned actor went to play in tournaments to get a real feel of playing poker in one.
The film may not be a blockbuster but it became a cult hit, particularly among poker enthusiasts. A number of professional poker players credit the film for inspiring them to play poker. This includes Hevad Khan, Brian Rast, and Gavin Griffin. Rounders is one of the best poker films ever made as it captures the tenacity and energy of the game.
Starring: Mel Gibson, James Garner, Jodie Foster, and Graham Greene
Directed by Richard Donner and released by Warner Bros., Maverick is a 1994 American comedy film based on the TV series Maverick from the 1950s. The film is a story about Bret Maverick, a poker player and a conman who collects money to build his bankroll to join poker tournaments. Maverick faces various challenges including meeting Annabelle Bransford, another con artist played by Jodie Foster. One of the film’s strength is the huge number of cameo appearances by actors and country music stars.
The Cincinnati Kid (1965)
Starring: Steve McQueen, Ann Margret, Karl Malden, and Edward G. Robinson
The Cincinnati Kid is one of the classic poker movies. It tells the story about a young gun and a pro who must battle it out to prove who the better player is. If you dream about beating the likes of Phil Helmuth and Daniel Negreanu then this is the film you should watch to keep you inspired.
This 1965 flick follows Eric “The Kid” Stoner, a poker player who wants to cement his name in the industry. In order to prove that he is indeed the best, he must face and challenge Lancey “The Man” Howard, who most people believe to be the best poker player. Will The Kid beat The Man? Watch this film to find out.
Starring: Burt Reynolds, Bret Harrison, and Shannon Elizabeth
Running for only 86 minutes, the film is a story about a former gambler Tommy Vinson (Burt Reynolds) who taught a college hot-shot Alex Stillman (Bret Harrison) about playing poker after Vinson watched Stillman play in a tournament, televised on TV. Vinson took Stillman under his wing and thought him a lot about poker including his obvious tells. When the two had a falling-out, both of them decided to compete in the World Poker Tour and ended up playing against each other.
This heart-warming film shows that poker is more than just having the best hand and winning. The film also stars professional poker players such as Phil Laak, Jennifer Tilly, Chris Moneymaker, and Greg Raymer, to name a few.
Casino Royale (2006)
Starring: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Giancarlo Giannini, Jeffrey Wright, and Judi Dench
This spy film from the James Bond series tells the adventures if the fictional MI6 agent, James Bond who is still working to earn his licence to kill as 007. The plot sends Bond (Daniel Craig) to cause Le Chiffre, a known terrorist financier, to go bankrupt by beating him in a high-stakes poker game. But as any spy films go, not everything is what they seem – much like poker.
The Shade (2003)
Starring: Stuart Townsend, Sylvester Stallone, Jamie Foxx, Melanie Griffith, Gabriel Byrne, and Thandie Newton
Shade is an American neo-noir film written and directed by Damian Nieman that follows the triad of grifters who worked together to set up a card pro called, “The Dean.” The group of hustlers successfully pull the sting that sends them in pursuit by a gangster who wants revenge. Whilst the film was barely released theatrically but it is one of the best poker films out there, particularly the twists if you are not ready, will really catch you off guard. All of the poker scenes are highly entertaining, giving the viewers a feel of poker on the big screen.
Lucky You (2007)
Starring: Eric Bana, Drew Barrymore, and Robert Duvall
This poker film that stars Eric Bana, Robert Duvall, and Drew Barrymore infuses romance into the poker scene. The movie tells the story of a talented poker player Huck Cheever (Bana) who tries hard to move away from the shadow of his estranged father, L.C. Cheever (Duvall) who is a two-time World Series of Poker Champion. Whilst he is a regular figure in poker rooms around Las Vegas, Huck must raise $10,000 to get his seat at the WSOP Main Event. Can Huck redeem himself and his lost relationship with his father over a game of poker?
All In: The Poker Movie (2009)
Starring: Peter Alson, Karen Abbott, Humberto Brenes, and Nick Brancato
The film is a documentary about how poker, one of America’s oldest games, has successfully made a comeback in recent years. It details how some individuals use the lucrative game of poker as their highway towards achieving their American Dream. This amusing and informative film featuring some insightful information about poker. Matt Damon lends some sort of celebrity touch.
5 Card Stud (1968)
Starring: Dean Martin, Robert Mitchum, and Inger Stevens
This Western film directed by Henry Hathaway was based on the book by Ray Gaulden. Set in 1880, a gambler from Rincon was found to have cheated in a game of five-card stud poker. Nick Evers taunted the players to hang him whilst Van Morgan tries to stop the other players from taking justice into their own hands. Morgan relocated but he went back upon finding out that some of the players during the game were murdered. He found out that someone is taking revenge by killing off the players. If you are into the darker side of poker, then this film is worth watching.
Have you watched any of these poker movies? Which are your favourites? No bluffing!