The top ranked poker moments from the movies

Casino Royale

Hollywood can take plenty of credit for poker’s enduring popularity across the years. For many people, seeing the stars of the big screen sweat it out over a high stakes game, shot of whisky in one hand and huge cigar in the other, was their first exposure to the magical game of poker. 

These days, of course, the reality is a little less dramatic and a lot less hazardous to your bank balance. Even a complete novice can log on to a site like for example and try his or her luck at a game of three card draw or video poker without having to stake big money. But here, we pay tribute to some of the great screen moments that inspire us to keep playing. 

Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels

Guy Ritchie has a filmmaking style all of his own, and this 1998 release presents his unique perspective on the game of poker. Our hero Eddy and his friends pool their resources to take on a mobster at poker, and when it all goes wrong, they have just a week to find £500,000. The scene we love sets up everything that is to follow. You see, Eddy is a great player, but his opponent is watching his every strategic move via a hidden camera. Seeing the hand play out to its inevitable conclusion just makes you want to leap through the screen and intervene. 

The Sting

Released in 1973, this classic caper movie featuring Paul Newman and Robert Redford was predominantly centered around a horse racing scam. However, like Lock, Stock, it was all set up with an unforgettable poker playing scene. Another common theme was that Newman’s character was up against a mobster who was prepared to cheat in order to win. That’s where the stories diverge, however, as Newman’s drunken, clumsy and boorish behavior at the poker table was all a clever act, and he was one step ahead all the way. 

Casino Royale

There was nothing boorish about either protagonist’s play in this 2005 Bond masterpiece. It was the movie that Bond fans had been waiting for decades, and despite baccarat changing into poker and the director taking a few liberties with the playing conventions, it didn’t disappoint. We all know that mega-stakes games exist in those high-roller areas of the casino. But no movie before or since has managed to put us right into the action like Casino Royale. 


The above are all great poker scenes. But Rounders is a great poker movie from end to end. Still, if we have to select a specific moment from all the set pieces, then we will have to fast-forward to the conclusion. The bluff, the tell, the double bluff, upping the ante – we won’t say more in case you have yet to catch the movie, but we can guarantee you one thing. The moment the credits roll, you will want to get out that pack of cards and take on the world!