There’s something about the game of poker that stimulates the imagination and pairs well with drama and action that’s oh-so-appealing when watching a movie.
But which poker movies are worth watching? Since the nineties, some fantastic and some not-so-fantastic films related to poker have hit theaters. To help you sort through the titles, we’ve put together a list of must-watch poker movies that are sure to inspire and delight.
These are the poker movies that should be at the top of your to-watch list:
Molly’s Game (2017)
This movie is based on a true series of events that seem too wild to be true. It follows an Olympic skier by the name of Molly Bloom who turned into an underground poker ring queen hosting high-stakes games for celebrities and Russian mobs. With plenty of drama and tension throughout, Molly’s Game earned a lot of love from viewers and critics alike.
The stand-out cast, which includes names like Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, and Michael Cera, brings excellent acting to the excellent story. If you’re in the mood for high-stakes poker-filled entertainment, Molly’s Game is a good go-to.
Matt Damon stars as Mike McDermont, an exceptional and naturally gifted poker player who, after losing $30,000 to a Russian mobster, steps away from the game and focuses on putting his life back together. He promises himself and his girlfriend that he’ll focus on finishing law school — but of course, if he stayed true to his promise, this story wouldn’t unfold.
When his lifelong friend is released from jail, it sets in motion events that throw McDermont back into the world of poker and mobsters. The story quickly becomes a whirlwind of intense bets, underground activities, and drama that tests relationships and threatens lives. It’s worth watching, even if you’re not a poker fan!
In a poker movie that steps away from mobsters and underground activities, Maverick dives into the world of gambling in a classic Western movie style, complete with gun-slinging, action scenes, and horse-drawn wagons.
The film stars Mel Gibson as the leading man, Bret Maverick, who is on a quest to earn enough money to enter a winner-takes-all poker game. Along the way, he joins up with Annabell Bransford (Jodie Foster). Compared to Rounders and Molly’s Game, this is a fun, light-hearted poker movie that still delivers wild stakes and plenty of entertainment.
And yes, if you were wondering, this movie is based on the 1950s TV series of the same name.
Casino Royale (2006)
James Bond and poker are a combination that’s sure to entertain, and Casino Royale delivered this combo in spades — pun fully intended.
Casino Royale follows Bond (with Daniel Craig debuting in the role) on his first mission after obtaining his 00 status, taking down a private banker with a terrorist clientele through a poker game at the Casino Royale in Montenegro. True to James Bond form, the movie delivers action scenes, seduction, and high-level poker prowess.
With this being a Bond movie, you can make a safe bet that iconic elements like the line “the name’s Bond, James Bond,” made the final cut. (Would it truly be a Bond film if this wasn’t included?)
Poker Face (2022)
Russel Crowe directs and stars in this epic tale of a high-stakes poker game — with $25 million on the table — between a tech billionaire’s wealthy friends. But this game is about more than winning. It’s about unveiling secrets and revealing the truth.
Adding a twist to the plot is a mid-game heist that disrupts the game and ups the drama with shootouts and fight scenes.
This movie mixes an intense poker game with action and violence that will keep you on your toes the whole way through. Featuring Russel Crowe, Liam Hemsworth, and RZA in the leading roles, it’s a captivating movie with powerhouse acting.
Mississippi Grind (2015)
Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn came together to deliver this movie about a gambling addict named Gerry (played by Mendelsohn) and who he hopes will be his good luck charm, Curtis (Reynolds). The movie begins with the two heading to New Orleans to play in a poker game that Gerry hopes will set him back on his feet financially.
Along the way, the pair struggle to get along with each another — leaving the audience wondering if they’ll make it to their destination with their entrance fee or if they even have what it takes to win if they do get there. It’s a roller coaster with drama, danger, and gambling intrigue — a sure-fire recipe for an enjoyable watch.
Runner Runner (2013)
In this unique poker movie, Richie, played by Justin Timberlake, starts an online poker game series in the hopes of paying off his Princeton tuition. But the gifted player ends up in a world he never would have expected after losing a game he should never have lost — at least according to his mathematical calculations.
In his journey for an answer and the money he lost, he confronts the owner of the game, Ivan Block, played by Ben Affleck. From this, the plot not only thickens but twists and turns as Richie is pulled between Block and an FBI agent, played by Anthony Mackie, not knowing who or what to believe or pursue.
Whether or not you’re into online gambling yourself, Runner Runner is a movie that will set your mind alight and pique your interest in the world of online poker like few movies will.
What Movie Made It to the Top of Your List?
High-stakes poker games always make for enthralling movies. And, if you already love the game, these types of films are even more likely to entertain and suck you into their stories.
If this list has you craving a game of your own, why not take on the world of poker yourself? Whether you head to your local casino, host your own games with friends, or play through a poker site with a complete review of features, there are many ways to go about it. Who knows, maybe one day your epic poker story will be the basis of a movie!
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