There is no argument regarding the top card game around. In terms of this gambling category, poker is the undisputed king. The WSOP claims that hundreds of thousands of people around the globe are playing it online alone. Hence, it should come as no surprise that it has been utilized as a tool to add suspense on the silver screen many times over. Below, we rattle off ten instances of poker basics and card action getting displayed wonderfully on film and where readers can find which stream site currently holds the license for viewing.
Many people claim that Rounders, released in 1998, starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton, was one of the reasons for the poker boom of the early-2000s. A common belief is that this movie’s popularity with Chris Moneymaker winning a WSOP Main Event in 2003 via an online qualification opened the public’s eyes to poker as a potential money-making scheme. Rounders is currently streaming on various platforms, including HBO Max and Apple TV. It is by far the quintessential poker movie.
Molly’s Game is a 2017 drama that tells the real-life story of Molly Bloom, a former Olympic-class skier who made a name for herself in California’s underground poker scene. Quickly after getting into this previously unknown sphere to her, Molly started running the world’s most exclusive high-stakes card games, which brought on her FBI heat. Famed screenwriter Aaron Sorkin writes and directs Molly’s Game, available on Apple TV.
The Cincinnati Kid
Norman Jewison is one of cinema’s most underrated directors. The Canadian helmed over twenty feature films, and one of his earliest ones is The Cincinnati Kid starring Steve McQueen. Its plot revolves around a rising player trying to establish himself by facing a renowned master in a high-stakes match. The always reliable Ann-Margaret and Karl Malden co-star in The Cincinnati Kid, found on Apple TV and Amazon, for rent with a price tag of $2.9.
Now, here is a poker movie that few people know about, one boasting an All-Star cast, no less. Regardless that you will see Sylvester Stallone on the poster for this film, note that he is only in it for less than ten minutes. The story’s protagonist Vernon gets played by Stuart Townsend, with Gabriel Byrne and Thandiwe Newton providing screen support throughout the 101-minute running time. Shade is streaming on FuboTV and can be watched with ads on Peacock and Roku.
Eric Bana stars in this quasi-remake of The Only Game in Town, a 1970s film directed by George Stevens, starring Warren Beatty. Set in 2003, Lucky You depicts WSOP card action, as it shows prospect Huck Cheever (Bana) moving up the ranks to face his father L.C (Robert Duvall) in a WSOP Main Event. Hoopla streams this film. Plus, it is on hand for rent at AppleTV and Amazon.
Runner Runner is a crime thriller that grossed $62 million at the US box office but quickly got forgotten, even though it has Ben Affleck, Anthony Mackie, and Justin Timberlake in it. It takes place in the online gambling world, providing a somewhat fantastical look into this sphere. Runner Runner did not garner massive critical acclaim, but today, interested parties can check out this film for themselves and rate its aesthetic worth. They can do so by watching it on HBO MAX.
Finder’s Fee could pass for a stage play. Its story plays out over the course of one evening at a home poker game, where one of the players reveals that he has discovered a wallet containing a winning $6 million lottery ticket. Hollywood sensation Ryan Reynolds and cult actor Robert Foster appear in this gem, streaming on Tubi and RedBox.
Win It All
Win It All is a Netflix Original. Hence, it is only available on the planet’s most popular streaming service. It is a comedy written and directed by Joe Swanberg, one of the founders of the US mumblecore movement. The star of the show, Jake Johnson, who plays compulsive gambler Eddie in the film, also has a co-writing credit. Overall, this is a fun indie romp about a gambling addict that has to beat a ticking clock and win big at poker before his life gets threatened.
Deal is a 2008 drama with Shannon Elizabeth and Burt Reynolds. It is an exciting movie for poker fans as it features tournament action and many professional players and card-gambling celebrities. Hence, it hosts many Easter Eggs. It is available on Roku and Tubi.
For a change of pace, here is a documentary focusing on poker and its 2000s renaissance. All In, directed by Douglas Tirola, came out in 2009, making it the perfect time capsule of the game’s US heyday. Only Vudu and Amazon have it for rent or purchase.
There are dozens of poker-related movies out there, some of which might be considered vintage nowadays. Korean dramas are beginning to include gambling more often into their themes despite the fact that gambling is forbidden in the country.