Poker has become very popular in recent times, just ask those who play at the Paradiso room. But it has always been a great subject for the film world throughout history. The cinema has embodied the popular card game at different times and historical moments, offering a wide variety of films that offer different versions of poker.
Feature films have taken advantage of the mysterious environment and all the legends that surround the card game to build a gripping story, with the gaming tables as the main protagonists. Here are some of the best movies with poker as the plotline.
Casino Royale (2006)
This film that belongs to the James Bond saga, and was Daniel Craig’s first appearance as 007. The British actor, the sixth James Bond in film history, is the protagonist of this film by Martin Campbell, along with the Danish Mads Mikkelsen, who plays the villain Le Chiffre. The most attractive component of this twenty-first film of the adaptations of the series of novels by English writer Ian Fleming is, without a doubt, the vibrant life and death game between the two characters at the Casino Royale in Montenegro.
The Cincinnati Kid (1965)
The ‘Cincinnati Kid‘ is an American film by director Norman Jewison based on the novel by writer and screenwriter Richard Jessup. This 1965 film depicts the New Orleans of the Great Depression and shows the story of Kid Cincinnati, a young man who wants to become the greatest poker player in New Orleans. To achieve this, the young man (played by Steve McQueen) will have to beat Lancey Howard. This experienced man, nicknamed “The Man”, is considered to be the best player of five-card draw poker.
This movie tells the story of Bret Maverick, a handsome poker player who tries to use his con and trickster skills to raise the $3,000 he needs to play the biggest game in card game history. This historic game is organized aboard a ship in Louisiana, and the winner takes a guaranteed prize of $500,000. To get that juicy prize, Maverick is willing to carry out the biggest scam of his life. On his way, he meets Annabelle Bransford, a beautiful and tricky gamer, a bully named Angel and even a group of Indians. However, his plan is further complicated when he meets Zane Cooper, an old sheriff in charge of guarding the money of all participants.
This film was born in the shadow of the western revival of the early 90s. Based on the television series of the same name from the 60s, Richard Donner directed the film, and it is full of familiar faces from the film world, such as Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster and James Garner, who was also the protagonist of the original series. Currently, this production is one of the highest-grossing poker-based movies in history with 183 million dollars.
Lucky you (2007)
Lucky You was released as a romantic drama that shows the reality of professional poker. Huck Cheever (played by Eric Bana) is a professional player who travels to the city of sin to play in the World Poker Series, the most important set of poker tournaments in the world. He meets Billie Offer (played by Drew Barrymore) there, a woman who dreams of being a singer. She wants to reconcile with her father (Robert Duvall), one of poker’s legendary players. The director and screenwriter Curtis Hanson wanted to capture in this feature film that the skills necessary to succeed in poker are the opposite to maintain a romantic relationship. In this film, two great professional card game players, Daniel Negreanu and Doyle Brunson, also appear.
This movie is considered by many fans to be the best poker movie ever. Released in 1998 and directed by the American John Dahl, this feature film narrates the adventure of a law student, Mike McDermott. played by Matt Damon, and an excellent player of the card game. However, his life takes a radical turn when his friend (played by Edward Norton) gets out from prison owing a large debt to a dangerous criminal. Mike, who had stopped playing on the advice of his girlfriend, decides to return to the gaming tables to help his friend, so he signs up for a game of poker to face some of the deadliest local criminals, among them Teddy KGB (played by John Malkovich).