Top 10 Poker Films You Should See

Last Updated on December 6, 2019 Author:Adrian Sterne

Casino floors are like battlegrounds of gaming skills and will power, and nowhere is the battle more heated than at a poker table.

I always considered poker tables to be the venues where people showcase the best and the very worst of human nature.

The emotions at a poker table range from desperation to exalted ecstasy in a second, and you can see yourself in so tense of a situation that it might help you get to know yourself better.

My opinion that a game of poker can give you an insight into human nature is shared by many movie makers out there who have tried to display the core of this incredible card game and its link to players.

Whilst actually playing the game of poker is what most people wish to do, occasionally it can be a bit of a welcome distraction to sit back and relax in front of the television and pop into the DVD player a good poker related film.

With this in mind we have selected what we feel are the top 10 poker films of all time, whilst of course you may have your own preferences in what you feel are the best poker films of all time, why not have a look through those listed below, as you may find one that you haven’t seen before, and if so it may be well worth watching. We also discuss the following:

  • How people reacted to them
  • Were any of the movie poker stories real?
  • How plausible are the poker games described?

We have given you as much detail as possible about our listing of the top 10 poker films, including when the film was released, who the director of the film was along with many of the stars of that particular film. You will also find a direct link to an in-depth review of each poker film as well.

Get ready for your poker movie adventure and read on!

Rounders Film Poster


Rounders is a hit 1998 movie directed by John Dahl, starring Matt Damon, Edward Norton, Paul Cicero, John Turturro and John Malkovich that tells a dark story of how poker game can ruin lives and arouse the very best and worst out of people.



Mike McDermott, played by Damon, is a young, yet reformed gambler, who, after blowing 30k of tuition on a poker game in underground poker clubs, wants to get his act together and dedicate to law school.

However, his friend Worm, played by Edward Norton, gets into trouble with the mafia and needs Mike to get him out using his poker skills on a big stage. The tale of risk and devotion is a tense thriller of how one lousy hand of poker ruins everything.

Rounders has everything. The tension, the poker skills, the elusive hand reading abilities. When you think of poker movies, you think of Rounders, and that’s why it sits atop of my list.

For more details about this film simply click on the following film title:

Rounders Film Review

The Cincinnati Kid Film Poster

The Cincinnati Kid

Based on Richard Jessup’s novel, “The Cincinnati Kid” is a tale of a struggle for the poker throne. To become the best, you have to beat the best.

Warner Bros.


Eric “The Kid” Stoner, played by the legendary Steve McQueen, is a young poker player in New Orleans during the “Depression” era who wants to confront the one they call “The Man,” aka Lancey Howard, played by Edward G. Robinson. Other leading actors and actresses were Ann-Margret & Karl Malden.

The movie released in 1965 and was directed by Norman Jewison follows a storyline that displays the raw appeal of the game and describes the tense battle between the champions. Also, we can witness the negative yet indelible sides to poker like players cheating and rigging the game.

The story is lined with the best hands five-card stud poker has to offer. The Cincinnati Kid culminates in the final showdown between the two players and shows how, even with full house and aces full of tens, no win is guaranteed.

For more details about this film simply click on the following film title:

The Cincinnati Kid Film Review

Maverick Film Poster


I never thought a western comedy film like 1994 Maverick directed by Richard Donner could describe the life of a card player and a con in the West as well as it did. Maverick, played by Mel Gibson, is trying to get into a major five-card draw poker tournament, but he is some $3,000 short for the entrance fee.

Movieclips Classic Trailers


He undertakes a series of deceptions and cheats his way into many poker games where he can show his poker skills and prove he is the best player of his time.

The action-packed movie shows that the life of a poker player is entwined with peril, survival and that a poker game in the West was not for the faint-hearted. The comic relief comes from many mishaps our protagonists, such as Jodie Foster, James Garner and Graham Greene, encounter on their adventure and proves to be the perfect fit for this movie.

For more details about this film simply click on the following film title:

Maverick Film Review

Casino Royale Film Poster

Casino Royale

The famed 007 came back for another instalment of the James Bond movie series in 2006, directed by Martin Campbell.

Bond this time needs to put his poker skills to the test before accomplishing his task. The action is set in fictional Casino Royale in Montenegro, and James Bond, played by Daniel Craig, needs to win a high-stakes poker game against banks funding terrorist organisations.

James Bond 007


Their poker game is nerve-wracking and demonstrates the art of an excellent bluff reading by Bond. Casino Royale also represents the high-end life of casino resorts throughout the world, where players not only get top-class service but engage in poker games with pots valued at millions of dollars. The action is typical of Bond movies but with a lot of flair coming from the Casino venue where intrigues and espionage reign supreme.

Other noticeable actors and actresses in the Casino Royale poker film were Eva Green, Judi Dench and Jeffrey Wright

For more details about this film simply click on the following film title:

Casino Royale Film Review

Molly's Game Film Poster

Molly’s Game

Molly’s Game is a movie based on a true story and features the life of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who staged the world’s most expensive underground poker games aged just 26. Molly, played by Jessica Chastain, becomes the focus of an FBI investigation for the underground poker empire she built. In her line of work, she needs to deal with both Russian and Italian mafia who want a piece of her poker cake.

STX Entertainment


The poker games depicted in Molly’s Game are realistic and showcase how, by playing at these tables, players regularly go full tilt and are ready to blow out massive amounts of money, like when one of Molly’s best players, Harlan, splashes out $1.2 million and blames it on the dealer, accusing him of wrongful dealing.

Some poker players find this movie to be too focused on the general audience, as the moves by some of the players are too novice-like; however, I find it quite usual that even experienced players can make such mistakes when pressured. But, considering that these situations are based on real-life events, it gives the movie even more merit.

For more details about this film simply click on the following film title:

Molly’s Game Film Review

High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story Film Poster

High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story

Stu Ungar was one of the most successful Texas Hold’Em poker players ever, with three World Series of Poker Main Event titles won. His life was veiled in mystery and marred with drug abuse and psychological issues, which ultimately led to his demise. However, his poker skills were legendary and earned him a biopic called High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story, directed by A.W. Vidmar and starring Al Bernstein, Andrew N.S. Glazer and Michael Imperioli.

YouTube Movies


The entire story follows the rise and fall of this poker genius and displays his most famous poker hands that earned him a place among the legends. The reason why I like it is because there is no embellishment and is told as Stu’s confession to a stranger, with naked truth dramatised remarkably to show the toll the world of professional poker can take on players.

For more details about this film simply click on the following film title:

High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story Film Review

California Split

California Split Film Poster

A friendship between professional and amateur poker players grows on their mutual love of poker and gambling. Bill Deny, played by George Segal and Charlie Waters, played by Elliott Gould, quickly become addicted to the gambling lifestyle and run into debts that keep on piling up as they try to battle their way out of it.

Although California Split movie can’t teach you to play poker, you can pick up some useful tricks, like when they discuss how to read a table and predict the outcome of a hand, helping you hone your poker skills. The movie was made in 1974 and made success in the box office.

For more details about this film simply click on the following film title:

California Split Film Review


Deal Film Poster

Deal is a poker drama filmed in 2008 and starring Burt Reynolds, Bret Harrison, and Shannon Elizabeth. The story revolves around a former poker player who sees a young emerging star in a televised online poker tournament and decides to take him as a protege and help him get to the World Poker Tournament.

Movieclips Classic Trailers


The story of intrigue and training lies at the core of Deal, as we can see how a young player is learning reads and tells and how to deal with the pressure of playing at the big-stakes tables. What I particularly liked about Deal is that the idea of passing the torch to younger generations is strong with poker players, however reluctant they are to admit the loss.

For more details about this film simply click on the following film title:

Deal Film Review


Shade Film Poster

Shade is a star-studded crime thriller movie directed by Damian Nieman, about the underground world of poker games starring Stuart Townsend, Gabriel Byrne, Thandie Newton, Jaime Foxx, Melanie Griffith and Sylvester Stallone. It was released in 2003 and recorded a decent success at the box office.


The storyline follows a group of swindlers looking to set up a famed cardsharp named “The Dean.” When the deal goes wrong, they are forced to scrap and fight to stay one step ahead of the mobsters chasing after them. Shade is focused on the con artistry at poker tables and how “juice decks” card marking systems and other tricks are used.

Make sure you always keep an eye on the cards. You never know what they might be hiding.

For more details about this film simply click on the following film title:

Shade Film Review

A Big Hand for the Little Lady

A Big Hand for the Little Lady Film Poster

A Big Hand for the Little Lady is an archetypal portrayal of poker in the culture of the Wild West. A couple is traveling west with their son and is led by a father who is struggling to rein in on his gambling urges. This recovering addict is tempted to a poker game and relapses hard, putting everything the family owns at risk.

Warner Bros.


The movie stars legends such as Henry Fonda, alongside Joanne Woodward and Jason Robards. It was made back in 1966, but the morals it focused on then are very much present even today.

Although the poker reality is not particularly seen in the way the game is played in the movie, it reflects the entire atmosphere and sentiment of saloons where the game of poker originated from in the first place.

For more details about this film simply click on the following film title:

A Big Hand for the Little Lady Film Review

Other films which didn’t quite make our final 10 but are still worth watching are:

Poker Generation

Poker Generation Film Poster

This film was released in 2012 and was directed by Gianluca Mingotto

The leading actors and actresses in the Poker Generation poker film are Naomi Assenza, Salvatore Barone, Orsetta Borghero, Piero Cardano

For more details about this film simply click on the following film title:

Poker Generation Film Review

Regalo di Natale

Regalo di Natale Film PosterThis film was released in 1986 and was directed by Pupi Avati

The leading actors and actresses in the Regalo di Natale poker film are Carlo Delle Piane, Diego Abatantuono, Gianni Cavina, George Eastman

For more details about this film simply click on the following film title:

Regalo di Natale Film Review

Christmas Rematch (La Rivincita di Natale)

Christmas Rematch(La Rivincita di Natale) Film Poster

This film was released in 2004 and was directed by Pupi Avati

The leading actors and actresses in the Christmas Rematch poker film are Diego Abatantuono, Gianni Cavina, Carlo Delle Piane, George Eastman

For more details about this film simply click on the following film title:

Christmas Rematch Film Review


Ace Film PosterThis film was released in 1981 and was directed by Castellano and Pipolo

The leading actors and actresses in the Ace poker film are Adriano Celentano, Edwige Fenech, Renato Salvatori, Sylva Koscina

For more details about this film simply click on the following film title:

Ace Film Review

In Time

In Time Film Poster

This film was released in 2011 and was directed by Andrew Niccol

The leading actors and actresses in the In Time poker film are Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy, Shyloh Oostwald

For more details about this film simply click on the following film title:

In Time Film Review


Every poker movie describes some of the aspects of the game that made it so globally popular. Throughout epochs, poker developed and changed, and so did the people playing it. My list of movies focuses both on the game itself and the way it was portrayed, as well as its impact on the lives of players and how excessive gambling can be someone’s downfall. Are there any films you think should be on my list? Post your comments and suggestions below.

Do not forget we also have a section on our website which covers the top 10 poker books, so if you are looking to increase your knowledge of the game of poker or perhaps learn how to play some new variants, or are seeking a few poker playing hints and tips, then take a look at this listing to find a book that will help you do just that!

Once you have mastered your game of choice, or have watched any of the poker films listed above and have got the urge to give some online poker playing a try, then make sure you have a good look through the many different sections of our website, as we have listed the top poker sites, all of which offer plenty of poker bonuses, many different poker variants and lots of poker tournaments for you to get stuck into.

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Hi, I am the Chief Editor of, this site is dedicated to all thing poker. I have been working around the poker industry for the last 15 years, with different brands. The main purpose of this site is to keep you uptodate with the industry and offer you the best deals around.