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5 Worst Poker Films of All Time

By Matt Hwang Monday, May 23, 2011

For those US-based online poker players still suffering from the “Black Friday” shutdowns, you can console yourselves with the fact that things could have been worse. For instance, poker would continue to grow in popularity to the extent that movie studios would greenlight more crappy movies to ride the “poker boom”. 


While almost all of the best poker movies capture the drama and excitement of the game, these celluloid leeches suck all the fun out of a night at the tables.


Here are some of the worst poker movies:


#5  All-In: Five Worst Poker Movies of All Time

The gorgeous and talented Dominique Swain plays “Ace”, a medical student-turned-card shark. She attempts to use her poker skills to pay for her schooling and to cover the gambling debts of her loser father, played by Michael Madsen. Swain’s smoldering sexuality is just about the only redeeming quality to this by-the-numbers borefest.


#4 Casino Royale: Five Worst Poker Movies of All Time

The first James Bond film with Daniel Craig as Agent 007 replaces the baccarat scene in the book with a Texas Hold’em tournament. For a character touted as the “world’s greatest secret agent”, he is one of the worst poker players in history. If he played alongside the best players in Las Vegas, Doyle Brunson would own Buckingham Palace and Phil Ivey would wear the Crown Jewels.


#3 The Grand: Five Worst Poker Movies of All Time

When the highlight of your film is having poker commentator Phil Gordon call his co-host “a f***ing idiot”, then your movie is in trouble. This improvised mess of a poker comedy features talented actors like Woody Harrelson, Cheryl Hines and Dennis Farina, alongside German director Werner Herzog. Jason Alexander (as a fake Russian doctor) and Ray Romano (as a fantasy-football-obsessed husband) show why they should stick to the small screen.


#2 Lucky You: Five Worst Poker Movies of All Time

“Lucky at cards, unlucky in love,” is how the old saying goes. Anyone who saw this attempt at a romantic comedy was unlucky at both. Eric Bana extends the term “poker face” to his wooden acting opposite uber-pixie Drew Barrymore. When the climactic final table features a heads-up battle between (SPOILER ALERT!) Bana’s character and his father (Robert Duvall), moviegoers will insta-fold… their tickets and toss them in the trash.


#1 Deal: Five Worst Poker Movies of All Time

“Deal” is bad. It’s not even in the same so-bad-it’s-good category as “The Room”. “Deal” is even worse than most of Vince Van Patten’s commentary on World Poker Tour shows, which is also featured prominently in the movie. Even Shannon Elizabeth’s breasts cannot save this stinker about a young poker player (Alex Stillman) taking on his mentor (Burt Reynolds) for a WPT title.

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