Five of the best poker scenes in film history!

I’m sure you all love a game of poker. The excitement, the unknown and the tension between each hand all combine to make it such a good game to play. However, even if you cannot play, it can be as equally enthralling to watch, which is why some great movies over the years have featured poker games.

Here we will rundown some of the best poker scenes to ever hit the big screen.


What better place to start than about a film that’s all about poker! This 1998 film, featuring a younger Matt Damon and Edward Norton is certainly one for the fans. They go around the underground poker scene, desperate to win enough cash to pay off a large debt.

It begins with Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) losing to the tune of $30,000 to Teddy “KGB” at Texas hold’em, and that is more than enough to put him off playing poker and fulfilling his dream of reaching the World Series of Poker. So after settling down, Mike manages to keep his promise to his girlfriend that he won’t be going to the tables anymore.

However, old school friend “Worm” (Edward Norton) comes on the scene after spending time in prison and has a debt he needs to pay off. With feelings of guilt and loyalty, Mike agrees to help him and the two are back on the tables trying to win, although when Worm is caught cheating, the two are robbed and left with nothing, and the debt deadline is looming.

Anyway, it culminates in a great poker re-match between Mike and KGB, at which Mike puts it all on the line but eventually finds KGB’s tell and therefore manages to outplay him. The debt is paid off and Mike even has a little spare cash at the end.

Oh, and he takes the chance to go to Vegas and play in the World Series of Poker. A happy ending.

James Bond – Casino Royale

Daniel Craig starred as the latest Bond and did a very good job as 007 and Casino Royale was a particularly memorable movie. Dressed to impress, Bond had taken to the casino and was involved in a very high stakes game with nemesis Le Chiffre, but things had not started well.

With Le Chiffre having the upper hand early on, we entered the final phase with the big blind set at $1m and Bond needing to win. The final scene was everything poker fans could want to see, Le Chiffre raised the stakes before Bond went all in, and Le Chiffre then called him. Things were heating up!

After Le Chiffre had a hand to see of the other two players involved, it was all left to Bond to pull out a straight flush and take the pot worth well over $100m – we probably knew he’d win anyway, but it was still a great watch!

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

Ahh this will bring back a lot of memories for some of you out there. This was the classic hardman film, and of course it featured a game of poker, where the stakes were big and the threat of violence was even bigger. The cheeky youngster Eddie had persuaded his three mates to pool the funds so that he could take on the notorious villain Hatchet Harry in a high stakes poker game – not a wise move.

From £10,000 to £250,000 in no time, the stakes had risen and Eddie was playing with fire. What he didn’t know was that Hatchet Harry’s sidekick – Barry the Baptist, was watching his cards from cameras they had fitted on the table – he was in big trouble.

After Hatchet forced a loan on Eddie to finish the high stakes, it was settled on half a million. Then time to see the cards. Of course, Eddie lost. Hatchet was victorious and Eddie had to go back to his mates and explain what had happened, and that they had a week to find £500,000 or the most feared gangster around would be paying them a visit. Not good.

The Cincinnati Kid

Arguably the first memorable poker scene to ever grace our TV’s. In 1965, Steve McQueen played Eric Stoner, nicknamed ‘The Kid’, who fancied himself when it came to the poker tables – a lot.

So much so, that after beating off most of the town anyway, he was up for a real test and sought a game against Lancey Howard, who was known as ‘The Man’. That was because of his ability to play poker, it was unrivalled, he was the best around.

Despite cautions from his friends about how ‘The Man’ has ruined reputations before, Stoner wasn’t bothered and got his wish when they faced off at the tables. After several players dropped out, we were left with the two of them and the tension was high. Could The Kid put him in his place?

The final hand is memorable with The Kid boasting aces full of tens but The Man had a queen high straight flush!


This is another movie that features some great poker scenes. Following the life of Bret Maverick who is a well-known card player and con artist you get to see all of his misdemeanours and activities along the way to a major poker tournament he will play.

Winning would not only give him the prize money that he desperately craves but also let him prove to everyone out there that he is the number one player around.

So, he gets the money together and has a seat at the table and that’ where the fun starts for the poker fans. Maverick manages to stay in as players drop out and makes it to the final three. As the cards are about to be shown, Maverick doesn’t look at his new card, and will only turn it over when they reveal.

On doing so, Maverick reveals the Ace of Spades which is enough to give him the victory and the $500,000 grand prize. Nice.

So there you have it, some of the best poker scenes to be shown in the movies. If you would like to recreate the buzz, excitement and thrill that only poker can bring, head over to Coral’s Poker tab and maybe watch one of these before you play to get you well and truly in the mood for the big game. Good luck!