Rounders (1998)

Posted in Reviews by - August 30, 2012
Rounders (1998)

The poker phenomena exploded onto the world scene back in 2003 after Chris Moneymaker won the WSOP Main Event for $2.5 million having first qualified through a $39 online satellite. However, the seeds of the poker boom started in 1998, with the release of the movie Rounders.

Despite only receiving modest reviews at the time, Rounders has since gone on to attain cult status with many top pros lauding the realistic energy and tension captured in the movie. Furthermore, many of the game’s elite even credit the film for getting them interested in poker in the first place, such as the UK’s top poker player Sam Trickett. In an example of reality mirroring art, Trickett couldn’t help recalling a famous scene from Rounders while playing against poker legend and cameo star of the movie Johnny Chan , and was quoted on the partypoker blog as saying:

“I chuckled to myself and thought, ‘I’m playing Johnny Chan heads up. It’s like Rounders isn’t it?’… And then I stacked him.”

The film’s main protagonists is Mike McDermott (Matt Damon), a talented card player who leaves poker behind to concentrate on law school. In the meantime, however, childhood friend and bad influence Lester ‘Worm’ Murphy (Edward Norton) has run up a $15,000 debt with Russian mobster Teddy “KGB” (John Malkovich), and so before long Matt Damon is out ’rounding’ in order to help Worm meet his five day deadline.

What ensues is a highly entertaining, well-written movie that introduces the audience to the strange characters who populate the underground world of high-stakes poker. The dialogue also feels authentic and the film has a real sense of anticipation, with nail biting performances from the actors all the way right until the very end of the movie.


Best poker movie yet made

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This post was written by James
Hi, My name is James Atticus and I have had a keen passion for movies ever since being blown away while watching 'A Trip to the Moon' back in 1902. Hardly surprisingly, I am a big sci-fi and horror fan, although my love of film extends throughout all the genres. One of my favourite quotes about cinema was told to me by Alfred Hitchcock, who said: "For me, the cinema is not a slice of life, but a piece of cake." To which I replied, "Don't mind if I do!"

1 Comment

  • AJ

    Rounders has always been one of my favorite movies as it really shows John Malkovich, Edward Norton, and Matt Damon in fantastic roles. I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t own this movie because I’ve been holding out for a Blu-ray copy loaded with extras. Alas, it seems like that may never happen. I think that this movie set the standard for all other movies like it. Not just with the plot but also the talent in the movie. Anyone who hasn’t seen it yet should definitely make time for it.

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