Poker Movies Everyone Should Know

Films that feature poker are most often dramatic and filled with suspense. Poker is all about taking risks and making decisions under intense pressure, making it the ideal topic for action-packed Hollywood dramas.

Over the decades there have been a huge number of films released that feature poker and the nineties was a particularly popular time for this type of movie. Whether you are a player yourself who likes to enjoy gaming sites such as poker uk where you can access a variety of different games at a click of a button or just enjoy watching gaming-themed stories, here are some top poker movies it is recommended that you watch:

Croupier (1998)

Directed by Mike Hodges and starring Clive Owen, the 1998 English film Croupier follows Jack, an aspiring writer, as he is hired as a casino croupier and discovers the life of a croupier would make a great novel.

Jack’s work at the casino soon begins to invade all aspects of his life and as a consequence, his relationship with his girlfriend Marion suffers greatly. He gets caught up with Jani, a poker player, and ends up becoming the inside man in a casino heist. Chaos ensues but at the end of it all he does get to publish his book.

Croupier was not an instant success when released in the United Kingdom but the film quickly became a big hit in the United States and Canada. The film is credited with helping star Clive Owen become known and launch his career in the US.

 Rounders (1998)

Starring Matt Damon and directed by John Dahl, the American casino drama film Rounders is perhaps one of the best-known movies in this genre. Damon plays law student Mike McDermott who quits poker after losing his savings to a Russian mobster before being reintroduced to the game by his friend and ex-convict Worm. 

Worm soon builds up a significant casino debt in McDermott’s name. The debt is bought by a pimp named Grama who eventually gives them just five days to find the money to pay off the debt.

The pair scramble to raise the cash by playing a series of poker games, and as a result, Mike ends up coming face to face with the Russian mobster from his past. He may be on his way to his dream of competing in the World Series of Poker but has had to make some devastating sacrifices to get there.

Released in cinemas in 1998, the film grossed more than $8.5 million dollars at the box office during its opening weekend. Overall, it went on to make almost $23 million dollars in the United States. 

While Rounders did receive some mixed reviews from film critics, it is considered a top film amongst poker enthusiasts and is praised for its game accuracy and portrayal of poker. 

 Lucky You (2007) 

Another more recent American poker film is Lucky You. Directed by Curtis Hanson and starring Eric Bana and Drew Barrymore the film was produced on a huge $55 million dollar budget.

Lucky You follows Huck Cheever, a poker player in Las Vegas, as he tries to come up with the $10,000 dollars that he needs in order to enter the World Series of Poker, like his father before him.

He runs into a series of complications when trying to win the money through poker, winning, losing, and even stealing cash along the way. He falls for Billie, a singer who is new to town, and despite all the chaos he gets to play in the WPOS and has to compete against his father.

Three professional US poker players Jennifer Harman, John Hennigan, and David Oppenheim, all appear in the film as fictional characters.

Lucky You was released in 2007 following two years of delays and did receive some negative reviews due to its slow pace but made almost $9 million dollars in total at box offices worldwide.

The Card Counter (2021)

Also well worth watching is the American crime film The Card Counter. This Paul Schrader title stars Oscar Isaac, Willem Dafoe, Tiffany Haddish, and Tye Sheridan and was generally highly rated by film critics.

The Card Counter follows Tell, a serviceman, and gambler, as he strikes up a relationship with troubled youngster Cirk and takes him under his wing. They strike up a deal with a gambling financier, La Linda, and look to enter into the World Series of Poker. Tell is soon led astray by Cirk and drama ensues.