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Tadas Peckaitis

Tadas Peckaitis has been a professional poker player, coach and author for almost a decade. He is a manager and head coach at mypokercoaching.com where he shares his experience, and poker strategy tips. Tadas plays poker, mostly online, but also manages to play live events while travelling through Europe and the U.S. He is a big fan of personal effectiveness and always trying to do more. Tadas regularly shares his knowledge about both of these topics with his students, and deeply enjoys it. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, or visit www.mypokercoaching.com

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Top 10 poker movies

30 Sep 2019

By Tadas Peckaitis
There are quite a few movies out there where poker plays an important role in the overall plot. Obviously, you should not expect to see the mathematical side or icmizer-like calculations of the game to be displayed, but you can surely have a great time while watching these movies.

While some of the names on this list of top poker movies are somewhat older, don't let that fool you. If you love poker, you’ll probably enjoy seeing every single one of these flicks — if you haven’t already.

Casino Royale features several intense poker scenes that are likely to keep you at the edge of your seat.

Casino Royale features several intense poker scenes that are likely to keep you at the edge of your seat.

10. Casino Royale
Although the poker scenes are a bit exaggerated and the movie has been criticized for not being “true to life,” Casino Royale is a great action movie from the James Bond series. It is an adaptation of the original story where the game of choice was baccarat, but director Martin Campbell felt Texas Hold’em was more relatable for modern audiences. Starring Daniel Craig and Eva Green, Casino Royale features several intense poker scenes that are likely to keep you at the edge of your seat.

9. Deal
Starring Burt Reynolds and Bret Harrison, this 2008 film may not be the first poker movie you think of, but it is worth a watch. It is an intriguing story about a mentor who eventually has to face his student in a high-stakes poker tournament, where there is much more than money on the line, especially for one of them.

While the plot could be a tad more exciting, the acting and the poker scenes are solid, so don’t judge this book by the cover – see it for yourself before you make up your mind.

8. The Grand
Released in 2007 and featuring a cast of actors such as Ray Romano, Woody Harrelson, Jason Alexander and Dennis Farina, The Grand represents an interesting attempt at a poker comedy. The plot is centered on a $10 million winner-take-all poker tournament, but all of the main characters have hilarious background stories and mannerisms that will make you laugh. The poker scenes are quite entertaining as well, but the true value of this film is really in the characters.

7. Shade
Fans of movies like The Sting are going to love Shade. Released in 2003, the movie shows a group of hustlers looking to make a quick buck. Instead of playing fair and square and putting their hand reading abilities to the test, they choose to participate in a rigged poker game for instant rewards.

When things don’t go to plan, they find themselves in serious danger from mob enforcers who are after them, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. Starring Joe Nicolo, Carl Mazzocone Sr. and Thandie Newton, Shade is an exciting thriller with plenty of great poker scenes.

6. All In: The Poker Movie
All In: The Poker Movie is the only documentary on this list. Although it may feel like it doesn’t belong here, this film is simply entertaining enough to be included. It reveals the history of poker and how it turned into a global phenomenon without a big presence of information or tools, such as Poker Snowie,at the time.

All of this happened thanks to all the different factors working together, which are discussed in the movie. Featuring interviews with many well-known players and people from the industry such as Phil Hellmuth, Chris Moneymaker, Daniel Negreanu and Annie Duke, this movie is a must-see for every poker fan and enthusiast, as it explains everything up to and including the events surrounding the infamous Black Friday.

Rounders is probably one of the best, if not the best film in this category.

Rounders is probably one of the best, if not the best film in this category.

5. Lucky You
Lucky You is 2007 poker movie that features an adversarial father and son duo entering the same poker tournament. There is no love lost between the son (Huck), played by Eric Bana, and the father (L.C.), played by Robert Duvall, but perhaps there is still hope for their relationship. Huck is a good player, but he leaks in his mental game, which is something he needs to fix if he is to have a chance to take down his father. The movie features plenty of entertaining poker scenes as well as short appearances from a number of famous players like Berry Greenstein, Erik Seidel and Daniel Negreanu.

4. The Cincinnati Kid
Released in 1965 and taking us back to New Orleans during the 1930s, The Cincinnati Kid is an older movie telling a familiar story. The plot centers around a young man looking to become the best player ever and taking on the old shark who’s seen it all. The game they’re playing may be Five Card Stud, with somewhat different rules compared to the ones we have today, but the dream is still the same.

3. Molly’s Game
One of the more recent poker movies, Molly’s Game, release in 2017, represents an exciting account of the life and exploits of Molly Bloom, the woman who ran ultra-high stakes poker games that involved Hollywood celebrities and many other well-known names. The film is action-packed with plenty of poker scenes thrown into the mix, and it is a great watch because it is based on a real story about a woman who singlehandedly earned the title of the “Poker Queen.”

2. High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story
This 2003 film tells the story about Stu Ungar, or “The Kid,” as he was better known in the poker community. Michael Imperioli of The Sopranos fame did a great job playing the role of Ungar and managed to capture the essence of who The Kid was. This movie is worth watching whether you know about Ungar and his achievements in the world of poker or you’ve never heard of him before. On the outside, Stu had it all and was headed for poker greatness. On the inside, though, he was fighting his demons, and that was the one battle he was destined to lose.

1. Rounders
There is a reason that you’ll find Rounders at the top of pretty much every poker movies list out there. It is probably one of the best, if not the best film in this category. Released in 1998 and starring Matt Damon, Ed Norton and John Malkovich, Rounders tells the tale of the young gun Mike looking to take on the poker world. The quest takes him through the dangerous world of underground high stakes games hosted by Teddy KGB (Malkovich) and various other exploits as he’s trying to build the bankroll and move to Las Vegas.

The good news is that Brian Koppleman, a co-writer of the film, hinted recently on Twitter in response to Negreanu that a Rounders 2 may very well be in the works.
 
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