Films about casinos have long been a favorite of Hollywood. This is unsurprising, as they’re often tied to magnetic characters whose lives revolve around luxury, spectacle, and even danger.
The growth of online casino games has also contributed to this fascination, especially in the wake of the pandemic.
As viewers crave more films that feature high-stakes games such as poker, streaming platforms like Netflix are stepping up to the plate. Here are four poker movies that you can stream on this platform:
Ocean’s 11 (2001)
A remake of the 1960 film of the same name, Ocean’s 11 is one of the few that dramatically improves upon the original. It follows Danny Ocean, a gutsy swindler who spawns an intricate plan to take a casino boss for millions of dollars. As far as casino heist movies go, this one directed by Steven Soderbergh sets the bar quite high.
An all-star cast delivers pure entertainment, with the likes of Andy Garcia, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, and George Clooney gracing the screen. The poker scene has become famous for being the first onscreen moment between Pitt and Clooney, while also demonstrating how to play a key poker move – the bluff.
Mississippi Grind (2015)
There’s nothing new about tandem players going on a poker adventure, but the chemistry between leads Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn in Mississippi Grind offers a surprisingly entertaining twist. As they set off to a major poker tournament in New Orleans, viewers can learn a thing or two about poker from the characters’ shenanigans.
Viewers are treated to several matches where many poker terms are thrown around, such as the “big blind,” which refers to the mandatory bet that rotates around the table, and “bluffing,” the act players put up to make their opponents fold, allowing their losing hand to win. While the film is a morality tale, it is also a good introduction to the game.
Casino Royale (2006)
No list featuring poker films would be complete without mentioning agent double-o-seven’s table game skills. And while the poker scenes in films like Casino Royale are outrageously improbable, it still draws viewers into the James Bond world quite effectively.
Casino Royale revolves around Bond’s ability to play a winning poker hand to prevent terrorism, and he does so very stylishly (if slightly unrealistically). What makes Casino Royale’s poker game so compelling (aside from Bond getting poisoned halfway through) is that it is easy to follow. Does it give us realistic poker? Not so much. But in terms of top-tier entertainment it is a seven out of seven. One more point – you need to be quick to catch this film on Netflix as it leaves the platform at the end of August.
Casino Tycoon (1992)
Poker aficionados will appreciate how the game takes center stage in Macau in this early 1990’s Hong Kong film. Surrounded by drama, action, and suspense, Casino Tycoon follows a refugee who becomes a casino tycoon after the Japanese invade Macau in World War II.
Stars Andy Lau and Joey Wang glitter onscreen and were the key reason the film was wildly successful in Hong Kong. This film and its sequel are enjoyable hidden gems on Netflix.
Given the combination of thrill, adventure, and luxury that poker and casino films present, they will continue to be popular choices for movie audiences, whether they are players or not. Whether it’s a classic espionage flick or a zombie movie, there’s always room for more poker movies to stream online. Hopefully, we can see more diverse ones too!