Poker is the great American card game - so why isn't it in more movies? If you're in the mood for a movie or a song about poker, here's a list of titles you can pick up when you're jonesing for a poker fix and can't get to a game:
- Rounders, 1998. The all-time champ movie about poker has to be Rounders, starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton. Any movie that has an actual scene where characters watch a WSOP final table is a winner in my book!
- The Cincinnati Kid, 1965. The next most classic movie has to be this flick, starring Steve McQueen and Edward G. Robinson. This movie is also centered around poker, as a theme of the movie and as a metaphor for life.
- Casino Royale, 2006. The latest James Bond movie has quite a bit of poker in it. They've replaced Bond's traditional addiction to Baccarat with high-stakes no-limit hold 'em instead, and it works surprisingly well. The attention to detail in the games even extends to using plaques for large denomination chips (common in Europe), and realistic game play given the cards. Watching Bond check-raise was priceless!
You can also look at the IMDB's attempt to list movies that have the keyword poker, but it seems to be a haphazard list at best, and certainly doesn't note the key poker films.
Note: televised poker games don't count in this category. Only shows about poker, not just televised games or tournaments, should be listed here.
- FSN (Fox Sports Net) is currently (spring 2006) re-airing its FullTiltPoker.net Presents Learn Poker From The Pros series, which is an interesting series of about 13 half-hour shows featuring hints from poker professionals, some basic strategy tips, roundtable discussions about random topics (e.g. "Should sunglasses be banned at poker tables?"), and more. Especially note the number of episodes where Chris Ferguson demonstrates how to throw cards hard enough to slice through carrots and other veggies!
- A one-hour special called The History of Poker was shown on the History Channel in April 2006.
- A one-hour special called Prince of Poker was shown on the History Channel in April 2006. It was a documentary detailing the story of writer Jim McManus' run at the WSOP in 2000.
- An episode of FSN's Beyond the Glory television show aired June 23 2005, which featured the "Legends of Poker" including extensive interviews with Doyle Brunson and Amarillo Slim.
- An episode of the documentary series Anything to Win on the Game Show Network featured an in-depth biography of Amarillo Slim.
Note: songs that just sound like they might be about poker but aren't (e.g. Blondie's "Call Me") don't count here; only songs about poker and card playing, please!
- Kenny Rogers, "The Gambler"
- Do you really need to know anything more about this song? Can't we all just sing it?
- OAR, "That Was A Crazy Game Of Poker"
- Used as the theme song for NBC's National Heads-Up Poker Championship in 2005, it's a catchy cool tune - but the catchy and cool part is only the middle bridge of an otherwise weird and wandering song. Worth getting for the middle part, but the rest of the song is sort of out there.
- Bob Dylan, "Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts"
- Joe McBride, "Texas Hold 'em"
- An entire jazz album inspired by (and about) poker. See this review for ordering details and more information
- John "Lutz" Ritter, "Do You Dare Make A Bet With Amarillo Slim?"
- A country song memorializing 1972 World Series champion Amarillo Slim's penchant for making (and usually winning!) bizarre prop bets.
- Cledus T. Judd, "One Jack Off"
- OK, so it's a comedy-country song with a joke double-entendre as its main line. But the whole song is about a poker game! How can you go wrong?
- They Might Be Giants, "Au Contraire"
- Leave it to the eclectic Giants to have a verse about poker in one of their odder songs: Jodie Foster held two pair, Bach had three of a kind. Gandhi said, 'With my full house, I will blow your mind!'
- Townes Van Zandt, "Mr. Gold and Mr. Mud"
- A song describing a game of seven-card stud between the two titular characters.
- A heartfelt twangy-guitar prayer to the Lord to "help me take money from my friends" in a poker game, with the further aim of "...let[ting] those bitches know/That you ahte them, and love only me".