The drama and excitement of poker has, unsurprisingly, made its way onto the silver screen.
There are several famous movies that revolve around the theme of gambling, especially poker. Poker has been an alluring game throughout the years, and today, it has taken the digital world by storm. If it were a few years later, the characters might have been playing on these reliable US poker sites. It is thrilling to watch well-known actors engage in the game of poker, where the stakes and tension are high. It is important to remember that capturing a poker game on the silver screen is not easy. However, some movies have taken up the challenge and have portrayed poker room scenes with seemingly effortless success. Here is a list of five movies that recreate scenes of the adrenaline inducing game perfectly.
- The Sting (1973)
This movie is considered as one of the classics, and even won a best picture at the Oscar’s. Starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, this film appears to be one of the most enjoyable films in Oscar history. Newman plays a conman and along with his protégé, they decide to dupe a mob boss elaborately. It has an unsurprisingly high rating of 8.3/10 on IMDB. One of the most famous scenes is that of the poker game on the train. Although the scene is less about poker and more about the con, a game is shown where the players cheat to win against the mob boss. The suspense is high in this scene and it captures the essence of poker quite well. The skill employed in the scam is just as delighting to watch now as it was forty years ago.
- Rounders (1998)
Set in the city of New York, this film narrates the story of a Russian mobster that runs an underground poker room. John Malkovich, playing the mobster Teddy, is able to clear out other characters’ bank balances because he is extremely skilled at the game. The scene in question features a Texas Hold ‘Em heads up game, where Mike (played by Matt Damon) faces Teddy in a high-stakes, no limits situation. The scene is a riveting one, not to mention absurd. A sequence occurs with an Oreo, which Teddy takes out from a special chip holder and proceeds to listen to the sound of the cookies separating. Aside from this ritual, the film shows how Mike turns the tables by observing the Russian mobster’s tells.
- Casino Royale (2006)
A movie that is determined to talk about the beginning of the renowned James Bond, it revolves around the world of poker. Daniel Craig, playing Bond, is set out to defeat the terrorist Le Chiffre (literally translated as ‘the number’ in French) played by Mads Mikkelson. The movie has been often criticized for the errors shown in the Texas Hold ‘Em game, but it is revered for combining a spy thriller with the concept of poker. The movie is set in the fictional Montenegro casino resort and the plot centres on a marathon of high-stakes poker game. The extended poker game keeps the audience at the edge of their seats and ready to cheer for Bond when he is victorious.
- Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
This movie is less about the drama and more about crime comedy, which makes it all the more fun to watch. It marked Jason Statham’s big screen debut. It follows four friends who have lost all their money and have to somehow make it back no matter which way possible. Directed by Guy Ritchie, the movie has a cult following for itself but is also acclaimed by critics. It is true that most poker games maintain something called the table stake rule. But in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, the game of Three Card Brag is taken to the height of no-limits. The characters Eddy and Harry go back and forth in one of the most intense poker scenes in cinema history and raise the bets higher and higher each time.
- The Cinncinati Kid (1965)
The Cinncinati Kid is a well-loved movie for all Steve McQueen fans. It is a film in which his character, Eric “The Kid” Stoner wants to convince the world that he is the best poker player that has ever lived. In order to do this, he decides to win the title from the best card player in the country, Lancey “The Man” Howard by playing a Five Card Stud poker game. The poker scene becomes far from predictable as it hits the audiences with a twist at the climax, confirming that anything can happen in a game of poker and when everything is on the table.
The five movies mentioned on this list provide a look into poker in different ways. It keeps the spectators guessing and engaged. The wide variety of games shown in the films proves that poker as a game is very entertaining. This holds true whether you are an avid poker player or prefer vicarious enjoyment.