Best poker scenes in cinematic history revealed

The Texas hold 'em tournament in Casino Royale has been voted the best poker scene in cinematic history.

Daniel Craig’s first outing as James Bond sees him take on terrorist Le Chiffre, played by Mads Mikkelson in a tense match-up.

With over $120 million in the pot the stakes are high but – spoiler alert – 007 wins the lot when Le Chiffre makes the mistake of thinking he has Bond’s game plan figured out.

The second best poker scene of all time is from 1988’s Rain Man which starred Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman as siblings.

In it, Charlie Babbitt (Cruise) takes his uniquely talented brother, Raymond Babbitt (Hoffman) to a casino and they play Blackjack.

Third spot in the poll of 2,000 adults went to the Five Card Draw scene from The Sting where Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman) attempts to defeat mobster, Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw).

The research was commissioned by, to celebrate the World Series of Poker which starts today (July 4th).

A spokesman said: “There are all manner of twists and turns in a game of poker so it is perfect for cinema.

“In many of the scenes featured in the top 10 movie goers are able to get some sense of the pressure and intensity of a real game.

“The game is very unpredictable and no game is ever the same so you’re never short of surprises whether you’re watching it or taking part.”

Goodfellas (1990) also made the top 10 – specifically the scene where Spider (Michael Imperioli) forgets to get Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) his drink during a game of poker.

And Tommy overreacts in true Joe Pesci fashion.

The poker scene from Cool Hand Luke (1967) also featured – in it Luke (Paul Newman) plays against his fellow inmates and – spoiler – wins the game by showing his great bluffing skills.

Other iconic poker-featuring movies include Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998), The Cincinnati Kid (1965) and Maverick (1994).

And Casino (1995), which also starred Joe Pesci - along with Robert De Niro and Sharon Stone, appeared in the top 10 twice.

Aside from intensity and tension, the key components to a poker scene according to those polled are an unexpected twist, high stakes and a miraculous comeback.

Thirty-nine per cent find watching poker in general to be entertaining – and as such 26 per cent think this is why the game works so well in film.

However just 27 per cent said they understand the rules of the game.

Carried out through OnePoll, the research found a third of Brits have played poker at one time or another.

The top three most popular variations of the game are Texas hold'em, Seven-card stud and Draw poker.

A spokesman for added: “As the results show, poker is very popular in the UK – whether it is played for fun or taken slightly more seriously.

“But perhaps this is one reason why movies featuring games of poker go down so well with audiences.”


1. Casino Royale (2006) - James Bond (Daniel Craig) takes on terrorist, Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelson), in a high-stakes Texas hold'em tournament.2. Rain Man (1988) - Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) takes his brother, Raymond Babbitt (Dustin Hoffman) to a casino and they play Black Jack.3. The Sting (1973) - The high stake Five Card Draw scene in a train where Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman) plays against Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw), a mobster.4. Goodfellas (1990) - During a game of poker, Spider (Michael Imperioli) forgets to get Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) his drink and Tommy overreacts.5. Cool Hand Luke (1967) - Luke (Paul Newman) plays poker with his fellow inmates and wins the game by showing his great bluffing skills.6. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) - In this intense poker scene, Eddy (Nick Moran) and Hatchet Harry (P.H. Moriarty) go back and forth - raising the bets higher and higher each time.7. The Cincinnati Kid (1965) - Young stud poker player, "The Kid" Eric Stoner (Steve McQueen), challenges the best card player in the country, "The Man" Lancey Howard (Edward G. Robinson) to a high stake Five Card Stud poker game - but there's an the unexpected twist at the end of the movie which proves anything can happen in poker.8. Maverick (1994) - Bret Maverick (Mel Gibson) plays in a high stake poker tournament and reaches the final table against Angel (Alfred Molina) and Commodore Duvall (James Coburn).9. Casino (1995) - Sam 'Ace' Rothstein (Robert De Niro) asks 'Cowboy' (Craig Vincent) to take his feet off the poker table and put his shoes back on - but he doesn't comply.10. Casino (1995) - When playing Black Jack, drunken Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci) wants a $50,000 marker but the casino will only give him $10,000. This doesn’t go down well with Nicky.