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10 Best Poker Movies / TV Episodes of All Time

In this article we take a look at some of the top poker movies and TV shows ever made.

1. Rounders
Ed Norton and Matt Damon star in this great poker movie about two friends who get in deep to a Russian gangster. The poker action in this film is exciting, authentic and plentiful – definitely one to watch.

2. The Mentalist: Red Handed (TV Show)
This show has a fantastic scene where Patrick Jane plays viciously high stakes poker against a room full of Vegas sharks, and takes them all. Eventually it’s down to just two players, and he wins by cheating. He creates a distraction and swaps out the card deck with one he’s prepared earlier. He gives his opponent quad kings, prompting him to go all in, but he’s given himself a natural straight. Cha-ching!

3. Maverick
Apart from Braveheart and the Lethal Weapon series, this is one of the few Mel Gibson movies that doesn’t suck. In this poker movie, he’s trying to drum up the $3,000 he needs to enter a freeze-out winner-take-all poker tournament. While the film doesn’t focus too much on the actual game, it features a hilarious performance by Jodie Foster with one of the worst fake Southern accents ever committed to film.

4. California Split
This is worth watching because it’s one of the few poker movies that doesn’t really over-glamourise the game. It follows the day to day life of professional poker grinders. Not the best film ever made (the ending is lame), but one of the most honest.

5. The Cincinnati Kid
The fact that it stars Steve McQueen is enough to make it awesome all on its own, but this movie has some serious stud poker action. This movie is wall to wall poker, but for my money, the immortal line is, “Son, you just paid the looking price. Lessons are extra.”

6. The Simpsons: Secrets of a Successful Marriage (TV Show) – 1994 Episode, 5th Season
The Simpsons actually features numerous and regular references to poker, but this one is a classic for two reasons. First, it has Homer trying to eat his chips. And second, as Moe deals him his cards he reacts to them one by one: “D’oh! D’oh! D’oh! … uhm, I mean, wooohooo!” Unsurprisingly, everyone calls. When recalling your early poker experiences, what poker player can’t relate to this?

7. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
Although you don’t really get to watch much card action in this film, it’s a rocking picture with comedy, action and tension galore. It’s about a guy whose friends stake him £25,000 to play in an underworld game – but it’s rigged. He winds up owing £500,000, and everything goes downhill from there.

8. Friends: The One With All the Poker (TV Show) – 1995, 1st Season
Phoebe has this suspicion that the boys’ poker night is some kind of conspiracy, and the girls demand to play too. The episode is a classic example of what happens with newbies at the table.

9. Casino Royale
The showdown between Le Chifre and Bond in this remake switches the game from Chemin de Fer to Texas Hold’em. And what a showdown it is – this isn’t just a movie that throws some poker in for the look, this is the real deal. When the stakes are this high, things are bound to get dirty.

Granted, the final hand is a bit unrealistic (we could see that one coming a mile off), but for sheer tension, this is one the the best poker movies of all time.

10. Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder
This was one of the full length Futurama movies that was commissioned after the series was canceled. In this one, Amy’s parents build a giant casino on Mars, and due to a convoluted plot device Fry becomes able to hear people’s thoughts.

He puts this new-found ability to good use by playing in a $1,000,000 tournament. Worth it for the scene where Bender goes all in without even checking his hole cards, claiming, “Looking at one’s cards is a crutch for players who rely on skill.”