A couple of days ago, after an unsuccessful session at the casino table, I thought it would be great to browse Amazon Prime and find a movie or documentary about poker. I wanted to learn more.
At first glance, I couldn't find anything that seemed binge-worthy, so I decided to google “best poker movies.” Again, the results weren't satisfying. So, I took care of this situation myself and made my poker movie list.
From my experience, movies are a great learning resource for beginners that want to get their hands dirty with poker. On top of that, the Internet is full of in-depth guides and courses that can help you turn into a pro player in no time.
So if you're looking for a highly curated poker tutorial, you can find it here. From advanced strategies to the most significant casino operators, this website is a valuable resource for any gambler out there.
Without further ado, let's jump right in the list with the top 7 poker movies that any fan of the game should watch:
Set in New York's high-stakes underground poker world, Rounders follows the story of Mike McDermott, a poker mastermind who trades his earnings for paying off his law school tuition, hoping to get a better life.
After losing all his money to Russian mobster Teddy KGB, Mike realizes that he can't win all his games, and decides to finish college. But not for long.
The movie takes a turn when his friend, Lester Murphy (a.k.a. the Worm), is released from prison. The Worm needs to pay a huge debt to some dangerous people, so Mike decides to return to the poker table, attempting to help his friend.
I consider this poker drama to be educational, as it teaches us a valuable lesson – be careful with your bets and avoid compulsive gambling.
All In (2006)
When Alicia Anderson (a.k.a. Ace) was young, her father taught her the fine art and mathematical probabilities of Texas Hold 'em poker. Years later, after getting into medical school and finds herself struggling with rigorous medical training and financial problems. It was about time she could finally apply the lessons she learned from her father.
Thus, she decides to team up with five of her students, all with unique abilities, attempting to win the World Series of Poker's main event.
As the stakes get higher, Ace realizes that what her father taught her about poker is also one of the most valuable life lessons she's ever got. If you want to really live, you need to go all in!
Poker Brain – Inside the Minds of the World's Best Liars (2017)
Poker Brain is an excellent documentary that takes us into the minds of the greatest poker players. Scientists put together a game with three professionals and three amateurs and analyzed their brain activity by using state-of-the-art technology, such as the MRI scanner.
This title is one of the greatest poker films I've watched, as it shows the exact science behind the professional poker scene. The insightful results will teach you more about the theory of human expression, which is one of the most valuable skills to have at the poker table.
Matt Gallagher is an out of work film director from Toronto, that desperately needs a new source of income to support his family. He decides to try going big with poker, starting his journey playing at illegal tables.
The movie shows the side of the game that most people don't get to see – the underground world of poker, ruled by the mob.
The characters who inhabit this world are addicted to high-intensity risks, so Matt finds himself in need to bet everything he has to bring more food to the table. As he progresses and the stakes rise even higher, Matt discovers that the real risk lies far beyond the poker room.
Drawing Dead (2013)
This documentary follows the story of two poker players: Michael Korpi Jr, a straight-A student, ruined by his addiction to online poker, and Dusty Schmidt, an amateur golfer who turned into a high-stakes pro after having a heart attack.
Drawing Dead is an excellent overview of the highs and lows of the gambling industry, diving deeper into the topic of problem gambling. This film shows both sides of gambling addiction and how poker can make or break a person's life.
Once a game for the upper class, poker quickly became a worldwide phenomenon, accessible to pretty much everyone, thanks to the emerging technologies that made the game playable online.
High Roller – The Stu Ungar Story (2003)
On the last night of his life, legendary high roller Stuey Ungar relays his story to a menacing stranger. His life had about every poker cliché you might imagine, including the sad ending.
Stu Ungar was the son of a bookie, so his gambling career started early at the age of 10 as a gin player. He then turned to poker, started winning millions of dollars, and became a cocaine abuser, ruining his marriage and life.
Even though he mysteriously died in a motel room at the age of 45, Stu Ungar remains to this day one of the most prolific characters in the professional poker scene. His greatest career achievement is that he won three World Series of Poker Main Event titles.
Bet Raise Fold – The Story of Online Poker (2013)
This documentary tracks the origins and expansion of online poker during the 2000s and how it impacted the new generation of poker pros. It analyzes the conflict between the US government and the online poker world. Eventually, it led to the “Black Friday,” when the FBI seized all the online poker platform domains, shutting down the iGaming businesses in the United States.
Bet Raise Fold features the stories of amateur gamblers that turned pro thanks to virtual poker, including Chris Moneymaker, the accountant who won the WSOP main event in 2003. He earned his spot in the tournament through a $39 buy-in on PokerStars.
Follow the expansion of the multibillion-dollar online poker industry, that crashed down in 2011 and unexpectedly changed many people's lives overnight.
You've reached the end of my list with the most excellent poker movies available on Amazon Prime Video. Hopefully, you will learn some valuable lessons from the best players in the world and get a better understanding of the science behind the worldwide phenomenon card game.
If you were planning to hit the poker table anytime soon, remember that you should not get mad that you lost, but instead get mad because you didn't win.