The Best Poker Scenes From Movies

The Best Poker Scenes From Movies

The best movie directors often use moments of conflict or games to create a plot or storyline, and one of the best things they utilise to achieve their aim is poker.

Molly’s Game and Rounders are prominent examples of this, with the latter being so influential that it’s often referenced as being the reason for the poker boom of the early 2000s by the likes of experts at Chris Moneymaker openly admits that he was attracted to poker after watching the movie, and he went on to win the 2003 World Series of Poker.

While those are whole movies dedicated to the game, numerous scenes also feature poker to develop characters in the broader story. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most prominent examples for you to enjoy.


Jannat fascinated audiences when it was released back in 2008, as it brought together cricket and the unsavoury practice of match-fixing and making a quick buck or two. Emraan Hashmi is great in the lead role as Arjun, starting out as a card player before moving ‘up’ in the world by becoming a bookie, taking illegal wagers on cricket matches, and then heading into full-blown match-fixing. The poker scene is vital in telling the story and shows how Arjun is prepared to go all-in on his nefarious activities.


Although we’ve already mentioned this movie, no list of iconic poker moments in film will ever be complete without this one. Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) loses all his money to a Russian gangster, Teddy KGB (John Malkovich) and vows never to play again. However, when Mike’s friend needs help paying his debts, he returns to the game and another meeting with Teddy. The scene is a great learning experience for any poker player, as Mike demonstrates the importance of observing his opponent, picking up his tells to give away his strategy.

Oceans Eleven

The movie’s cast includes Brad Pitt and George Clooney, and the plot seems to be purely about the robberies of three huge Las Vegas casinos. But it’s much more than that. There’s an iconic poker scene from which new players can learn a lot. One of the top tips for improving your poker from is how important it is to build relationships away from the felt, typified in tone of the early scenes in the film. Pitt’s character knows Clooney’s, but they act as if they do not when around the table; they’ve built up a relationship they put to good use. Of course, nobody expects you to cheat in the manner they do, but it does offer a good example of how some people do! However, as well as offering a vital lesson, it also casts the foundations for this film and arguably the whole series of ‘Oceans’ movies.

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

Lock, Stock is the film that launched Guy Ritchie into the world of movies, and the poker scene is used fantastically to add tension. There are bluffs, counter bluffs, and just how you have to be absolutely switched on to try and make the right decision, or it could all come crashing down around you. It’s a great scene that sets up the gritty, earthy atmosphere that flows throughout, and it’s easy to see why Lock, Stock has so many fans.

Cool Hand Luke

This 1967 film featuring Paul Newman in the lead role is great, and its use of poker adds another layer to the personality of the central character. He’s already known as Cool Hand due to his ability to deceive people, and after being sentenced to prison and being thrust into the chain gang, his reputation is enhanced. He plays the perfect bluff, staying in the game with a hand that amounts to nothing. It’s the perfect demonstration of how having a good read on the opponents at the table is a vital component of the game that players can use to their advantage.