It may seem hard to believe, but Texas Hold’em Poker wasn’t always the juggernaut it is today. Thanks in large part to movies like Rounders however, it became one of the most popular games in the world. And make no mistake, although both Matt Damon and Ed Norton receive top billing on the movie poster, Texas Hold’em Poker is the star of Rounders. From Damon’s voiceover explaining why poker is king, to the scenes in backrooms and casinos alike, this is a poker classic.
You could know nothing about poker and Rounders would still deliver the goods as a thrilling crime drama. The on-screen chemistry between Damon, Norton, Gretchen Mol and John Malkovich is off the charts. While poker is a thrilling game, the final poker game in Rounders will keep you on the edge of your seat in anticipation. With great acting and a fast paced story, Rounders is a must-see for anyone who loves high stakes poker.
When law student Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) loses his life savings to notorious Russian card shark Teddy KGB (John Malkovich) in a Texas Hold’em Poker game, he decides to quit the game forever. All seems to be going well for McDermott until his friend Lester “Worm” Murphy gets out of jail. Worm has quite the gambling problem and drags Mike back to the poker lifestyle of fast action and long, sleepless nights. When Murphy’s prior gambling debts catches up with him, the two find themselves needing to come up with $15,000 in 5 days.
So what do two poker players do when they need to make money fast? Deal the cards, that’s what! Mike and Worm begin a poker playing bender, which leads them to a final confrontation with their old nemesis Teddy KGB. Will the two be able to repay mafia-connected Grama (Michael Rispoli) in time? Will McDermott get back his girlfriend Jo (Getchen Mol)? Just like in the game of poker itself, nothing is for certain, and you’re never sure what cards your opponent holds. As the final climactic poker game between Mike and Teddy plays out, everything’s on the line.
Raise or fold on one of the grandest Poker movies of all time?
If you can get past the fact that no one, any time, or anywhere has ever sat down at a poker table and seen someone as beautiful as Famke Janssen, then Rounders is an almost perfect representation of the big loss/big gain world of Texas Hold’em Poker. Entertaining characters such as John Turturro’s Joey Knish, Edward Norton’s “Worm” and John Malkovich’s Teddy KGB make this movie a lot of fun, and a heck of a lot less stressful than actually playing poker. A great score and incredible cinematography make Rounders great viewing for all skill levels.