Considering the drama and suspense that can unfold during a poker tournament or a high stakes game at a casino, it is no wonder that this game has been referenced prominently in a number of memorable movies. While there are countless examples of poker being shown on the big screen, here are five of the most entertaining scenes for people who love to see the game represented in big budget films.
Although five-card draw might be the most common of all the poker games shown throughout cinematic history, Texas Hold’em has become a favorite of players in real life. For that reason, the 1998 film “Rounders” belongs on this list of memorable movie poker scenes. In it, Matt Damon portrays a talented poker player who gets into a fight with his girlfriend and is forced to give up the game he loves. Saddled with gambling debts, he turns to Teddy, another poker whiz who is played by John Malkovich. There’s plenty of action throughout the movie, but the scenes that prominently feature Texas Hold’em are sure to be among the favorites for poker players of all types.
This 2001 film is known for its all-star cast, but one of the most prominent roles in the entire film is poker. Rusty Ryan, a main character played by Brad Pitt, ends up losing big at the poker table even after he bragged about his own knowledge of the game. As a result, his buddy Danny Ocean (portrayed by George Clooney) hatches a plan to team up with other career criminals to end the year with a huge heist targeting a trio of prominent Las Vegas casinos. The script takes viewers on plenty of twists and turns, with Rusty Ryan’s lecture about poker setting the tone for the entire movie.
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Secret agent extraordinaire James Bond is no stranger to gambling, but there is no 007 story with a bigger emphasis on poker than this 2006 installment. Daniel Craig plays Bond in this film and engages in some high stakes card games in an effort to take out his opponent, played by Mads Mikkelson. When his multimillion-dollar winnings are taken by European tax collectors, the stage is set for another action-packed James Bond adventure.
If you really want to see a poker game portrayed in a realistic and believable way, you should definitely check out this 1973 classic. The scene in question is not only the most memorable of the entire movie, but it has become one of the most iconic scenes in all of Hollywood history. An emphasis on trying to figure out a player’s hand and analyzing the cards being dealt are both entertaining and perhaps even educational for poker players of all types.
Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels
It is not common for a single movie scene to launch a new fascination across an entire country, but that is precisely what many poker insiders say this 1998 film accomplished. Its captivating portrayal of the nail-biting suspense that comes along with a poker tournament was enough to convince many viewers that they should give the game a shot. Not surprisingly, the game was soaring in popularity within just a few years of this film’s release. What makes its influence on the poker world even more unlikely is that the entire scene was left out of the film when it premiered in other countries. By the time it hit theaters in the United States, however, the poker scene was included and the rest is history. Its impact was so noticeable that a subsequent video release a few years later omitted the entire scene because Miramax studios believed it would cause even more poker mania in every corner of the nation.