Gifts for Card Players
3 of the best poker scenes in movie history
Poker might be the most popular card game ever. And cinema is no stranger to that popularity. With its high tension and cunning strategy, poker lends itself well to the big screen. Plus, audiences don’t need the rules to be spelled out for them to get on the hype of four aces showing up on the table. So, from witty banter to collected bluffing, poker has provided the backdrop for some of the coolest scenes to hit the theatres. Today, we bring you three memorable scenes that went down in poker movie history.
Casino Royale (2006)
Daniel Craig’s debut as the infamous British spy made quite an impression on movie buffs. So did the film’s poker sequence. Casino Royale sets off at a Montenegro casino, as Bond faces his main antagonist, Le Chiffre. Played by Mads Mikkelsen, this terrorist banker likes to show off at the poker table. Thus, Bond takes him down in one of the most epic poker scenes in movie history.
In the original novel, both characters play Baccarat instead of poker. But according to director Martin Campbell, three rounds of Texas Hold’em brought more drama to the silver screen. And the result is an enthralling 30-minute poker scene that plays out like the centerpiece of the entire movie. Indeed, this casino scene serves to demonstrate Bond’s mental prowess as much as his vulnerability.
What makes this scene one of the best depictions of poker in cinema also lies in the devotion to the game’s authenticity. Tom Sambrook, a formal consultant, was on board to train actors in the intricacies of poker strategies. The cast also went to see professional players live as they shot the movie in Prague.
Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
In 2001, Steven Soderbergh kicked off what would become one of the most iconic heist movie sagas of all time. And to this day, the series’ first entry remains a fan favorite, solidified by a star-studded cast that dazzled audiences worldwide.
This reboot of the 1960 original follows two former partners-in-crime, played by Brad Pitt and George Clooney, who plan an elaborate heist in a Vegas casino. And who says Vegas says poker.
The first poker scene sets the tone for the movie, as Rusty Ryan (Pitt) teaches a gang of rookie actors the basic rules of poker. Around the poker table, the cast now seems like a nostalgic throwback to 2000s teen dramas. Later on, Rusty and Danny Ocean (Clooney) run a minor con on this dream team of teen sweethearts. Fun fact, this second poker banter was largely improvised.
Poker takes center stage in this American drama film. Directed by John Dahl, the movie explores the underground world of high-stakes poker. Therefore, poker fans can enjoy multiple showdowns throughout the movie.
Mike (Matt Damon) is a gifted poker player who dreams of making it to the World Series of Poker. After losing his entire bankroll to Russian mobster Teddy KGB (John Malkovich), he promises his girlfriend to quit poker. But when his best friend Worm (Edward Norton) gets out of prison, he goes back to his old ways to help him pay off his debts. Of course, both friends navigate the slippery slopes of underground poker tables before a final epic face-off.
Rounders wasn’t much of a success upon its release. Yet, the movie became a cult classic in the early 2000s. Since then, the poker boom hasn’t faded out. And online casino platforms have made it possible for gamblers to enjoy this timeless card game all over the world. Even in countries that lack brick-and-mortar casinos like Thailand, experts have scoured the internet to find top poker sites from portals like asiabet.org. Thus, novice players can get familiar with the basics of different forms of poker, such as Texas Hold’em or Omaha Hi. But seasoned players can start their winning streak immediately, thanks to generous bonuses and promotions. The best sites even allow gamblers to play poker live.
Poker and cinema are quite the match. Indeed, this intense card game is a powerful narrative tool to leave viewers on the edge of their seats. Plus, there’s something unequivocally cool about poker. So, don’t you feel like playing your next poker night in style? From Bond to Gatsby, there are plenty of movie characters to give you inspiration.
Credit: Dylan Clifton – Unsplash