Watching films on Netflix is the ultimate night-in activity, as more people choose to stay home in the evening, subscriptions for streaming services like Netflix have skyrocketed. To keep up with audience demand, providers have had to increase the range of television shows, documentaries and films available to watch for those with a membership.
Picking a film to watch is not always an easy task, particularly when watching with family or housemates who might not have the same tastes in genres. One popular film theme is gambling and the game poker.
Whether you are an avid fan who likes to play poker online or someone just curious about the game, poker films are enjoyable for everyone. Depictions of characters participating in poker can create tension, signify a character’s intelligence and provide the audience with a sense of escapism.
Many of the best poker films have appeared on Netflix at one time or another, here are the top five highly recommended poker films to watch:
Molly’s Game (2017)
Molly’s Game is an American crime drama that is based on the 2014 memoir Molly’s Bloom. Golden Globe winner Jessica Chastain stars as Molly Bloom, a woman under investigation by the FBI due to her involvement in an underground poker business that includes Hollywood celebrities and business tycoons as its clients.
Molly first found success as an olympic skier but tragically her career was cut short when she was seriously injured during a competition. After moving to Los Angeles she finds a job in a club and soon becomes involved in running underground poker games.
She is fired by her boss and decides to set up and run her own poker games for high profile individuals. Things start to go haywire after moving to New York, she becomes wrapped up in a criminal investigation and develops a drug problem.
The film was a big success and grossed $59 million in the box office worldwide, it received many positive reviews and it is said to be the best film of Chastain’s career. Other high profile cast members included Idris Elba as Molly’s lawyer, Kevin Costner as Molly’s father and Michael Cera as Player X.
Win It All (2017)
2017 was a good year for poker films, Netflix released their own original poker title Win It All. This film is a comedy but explores the dark and difficult theme of gambling addiction.
Jake Johnson, who is widely known for his role of Nick in the TV series New Girl, stars alongside Mexican actress Aislinn Derbez and Joe Lo Truglio who also plays Charles Boyle in Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
In this film, gambling addict Ed is offered $10,000 dollars by a man in prison to keep hold of a duffel bag for a few months. He agrees and curiosity gets the best of him, he opens the bag to find a large sum of money.
The plot follows Ed as he uses the money to play poker and faces the financial and emotional consequences of his problematic behaviour. Production began in 2015 and most filming took place in Chicago.
Ocean’s franchise (2001, 2004, 2007)
Anyone who likes playing poker with friends and enjoys the thrill of the game will know about the Ocean’s film series. This trilogy is said to be the best heist series released anywhere in the world and has grossed over $1.17 billion dollars.
The modern version is inspired by the 1960s film Ocean’s 11, which included the Rat Pack and Frank Sinatra in its cast lineup.
In the first film of the trilogy, Danny Ocean, played by George Clooney,plans a three casino heist shortly after his release from prison. In the second one, the Ocean gang are blackmailed by one of the casino owners they previously stole from and most carry out more heists to earn the cash to pay him off.
Finally, in the third film come up with a plan to disrupt the opening night of a new grand casino and must face the consequences of getting caught up in the heist business.
Nineties classic poker film Croupier stars Clive Owen as Jack Manfred, a writer who takes a job in a casino as a croupier when he is in need of money. Jack becomes heavily involved in the casino world and finds himself acting as an inside man in a casino robbery.
The UK film had a small budget of £3 million and didn’t receive much attention until it was released in the United States.
James Bond Casino Royale (2006)
No poker film list would be complete without a mention of Casino Royale. British spy James Bond finds himself on an assignment to gather information and bankrupt terrorist fundraiser through playing a high stakes game of poker at the Casino Royale.
This film shows the glamour and thrill of playing poker in upscale casinos. It received high praise from film critics and remains one of the most popular films in the Bond series to date.