The Best Poker Films Streaming Right Now
While we have settled into the colder months, we are now spending more time indoors. Because of this, there's no better time to look ahead to some fantastic movies to spend an evening in front of. And with more than 200 million subscribers these days (nearly half in the U.S.) according to Statista, Netflix continues to be the perfect place to get your fix. However, with Amazon Prime and Disney+ also packing plenty of movies, streaming has more options than you'll ever need.
Sometimes, it's difficult to pick out one film that grabs your attention. Of course, we love some of the classics of Netflix in which New Mexico plays a key role –– Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, and the like. But odds are you've seen all of those. In that case, one good way to narrow down the endless selection on Netflix, Amazon and the like is just to pick a genre of interest. In this case, we're going with poker. And hey, for those who want to revisit Breaking Bad, there's even a season one scene in which some key characters play the game –– one of many demonstrations in film and TV of how poker can help a scene along).
So, why poker films? Really, because the game feels more relevant than it has in nearly 20 years. Poker is experiencing a boom of interest, with the numbers of online poker players growing particularly in New Jersey and Pennsylvania (two of a few states where the activity has been made fully legal again). The 2021 World Series of Poker also helped to drive interest, and generated headlines when the $7m cash prize was awarded. That big winning chip stack is always a draw for players and screenwriters, and has been ever since it served as one of the driving motivations for Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) in Rounders (though back then the main prize was a paltry million!). But as with Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, you've probably seen Rounders, right?
If so –– and if you enjoyed it –– you may want to ride the present-day poker wave and add some of these movies on Netflix to your winter watch lineup.
Molly's Game - Amazon
This movie is based on the true story of former U.S. skiing hopeful Molly Bloom, who moved to Los Angeles when an injury ended her athletic career. Bloom headed to the West Coast to work as an assistant to a real estate developer, and her boss got her involved in organizing poker games for high-profile guests. But eventually she became so good at this work that she wound up getting deeply involved in the world of high-stakes celebrity poker –– until the FBI got involved.
Croupier - Netflix
Jack Manfred (Clive Owen) is a down-on-his-luck writer who takes a job as a croupier in a casino to make some money. However, his world is turned on its head when he gets involved with the wrong crowd. Soon Manfred becomes the inside man in a casino robbery, which has disastrous consequences for the people he loves.
Win it All - Netflix
Win It All is actually a Netflix original poker film that was released in 2007. Gambling enthusiast Ed (Jake Johnson) agrees to store a bag for an acquaintance who is about to be incarcerated. However, his itchy fingers can't resist rummaging around said bag, and when he discovers it's filled with cash, he takes it to the casino to play poker. He's then left to deal with the consequences of his actions.
Ocean's Eleven - Amazon
The first of four "Oceans" movies that have been released over the past two decades, this first one from 2001 is still, without a doubt, the best. Danny Ocean (George Clooney), who has just been released from prison, immediately looks to arrange the most audacious of plots to rob three casinos in Las Vegas. The scheme is at once about enriching Ocean's lovable band of crooks and exacting revenge on a casino mogul who happens to be dating Ocean's ex-wife. It's not a quintessential poker movie, really, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a better casino caper.
These are wonderful films to watch, particularly if you dig into them all within a short time. They'll certainly keep you entertained through some of those cold New Mexico nights we have coming up!