Modern Poker Movies

This section houses all our modern poker movie reviews. These contemporary poker films were released in the last two decades and portray a modern look at the game of poker, and its community of players.

The Big Blind (1999)

The Big Blind is a poker film released in 1999 independently. The Big Blind was created by a David James, a real poker player who wrote the script for the film in between hands of poker. James financed the film using his poker winnings.

Casino Royale (2006)

Casino Royale, the 2006 installment to the popular James Bond series of films, introduced the new James Bond played by Daniel Craig. Not only did he bring a new attitude to the role (some claim a combination of his predecessors Roger Moore and Sean Connery) that was of grit, passiveness and violence, he brought a new attitude to the idea of gambling, a primary component of the character since the 1960s. In fact, few Bond films do not feature some sort of gambling, likely do to the original writer’s (Ian Fleming) and director’s (Cubby Broccoli) passion for gambling.

Deal (2008)

Deal is a poker drama released in 2008 by MGM Pictures in the US and Seven Arts Pictures internationally. The film follows the story of a former professional poker player giving instruction to a young player. Deal culminates at a fictionalized World Poker Tour. A number of professional poker players and poker commentators make cameo appearances in the film, including Vince Van Patten, Mike Sexton, Courtney Friel, Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Laak, Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer, and Isabelle Mercier.

Freeze Out (2005)

Freeze Out is a 2005 poker movie released independently. The film follows the story of a poker player who attempts to get revenge on his friends and gain their respect by beating them in a weekly poker game. Freeze Out was financed mainly with director M.J. Loheed’s poker winning’s, similar to the film The Big Blind. Interestingly, all of the actors in Freeze Out were unpaid due to the film’s limited budget of $20,000.

The Grand (2008)

The Grand is an improvisational comedy film released in 2008 by Anchor Bay Entertainment. The film features an all-star cast of famous comedians and Las Vegas poker professionals. The Grand centers on the story of a live poker tournament at the Golden Nugget casino in Las Vegas.

Havana (1990)

Havana is a drama released in 1990 by Universal Pictures. The film stars Robert Redford, Raul Julia, and Lena Olin. Havana follows the story of Jack Weil, a professional American gambler who visits Havana, Cuba intending to gamble. He meets Bobby Duran, the wife of Arturo, a revolutionary, on the boat to Cuba. The film centers on their trials and tribulations as Bobby is captured by secret police and rescued by Jack Weil.

High Roller (2003)

High Roller, a 2003 movie loosely based on the life of Stu Ungar, depicts the dangers of addiction to gambling, especially poker, and the effect they can have on a person and the people around them. While "High Roller" (also called "Stuey") was met with poor critical reviews and a lack luster greeting by audiences, poker players consider this movie to be a powerful and essential part of any serious poker movie enthusiast’s collection. "High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story" is based on the book "One of a Kind: The Rise and Fall of Stuey Ungar" by Peter Alson and stars Michael Imperioli (Sopranos, Goodfellas), Renee Faia and Pat Morita (Happy Days, The Karate Kid).

Honeymoon in Vegas (1992)

Honeymoon in Vegas is a comedy released in 1992 by Columbia Pictures. The film follows the story of Jack Singer (Nicolas Cage) who decides to propose to his girlfriend (Sarah Jessica Parker) and marry her in Las Vegas, despite the fact that he promised his mother that he would never get married. Ultimately, Jack loses his girlfriend before the ceremony even takes place, and has to get her back.

Maverick (1994)

The lighthearted 1994 poker movie directed by Richard Donner entitled Maverick not includes the game of poker as a primary plot device but makes the game the entire consideration of the movie. Starring Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster and James Garner, "Maverick" follows the exploits of a young professional poker player named Bret Maverick as he attempts to raise enough money to enter a high stakes poker tournament on a river boat in the South. Set in the nineteenth century, the buy in required of Maverick amounts to $25,000. Today, this sum would be the equivalent of over $600,000 from each player, a very high stakes tournament indeed.

Rounders (1998)

Rounders, directed by John Dahl and released in 1998, is a film about two individuals who are trying to quickly earn money by playing poker in order to repay a massive debt. Although the film received lukewarm reviews upon its release and only made a moderate amount of money, the recent popularity of poker games such as Texas Holdem has been largely responsible for turning the film into a cult classic.

Run (1991)

Run is an action film released in 1991 by Hollywood Pictures. Run follows the story of a law student who mistakenly kills a mobster’s son during a fight, and finds himself on the run from both the police and mob. The film was promoted with three taglines during its promotional period: "Pursued by the mob, hunted by the police… luck was his only weapon, and she his only hope," "Hunted by the mafia and the police, he’s running for his life," and "…Because your life depends on it!"

Shade (2003)

Shade is a film noir crime movie released in 2003 by Dimension Films. Shade features an ensemble cast including Sylvester Stallone, Melanie Griffith, Jamie Fox, Stuart Townshend, and Gabriel Byrne. The film follows the story of three conmen who try to set up "The Dead," a notorious card player. Shade involves multiple interwoven plots and flashbacks.