A large portion of our Rounders film review is dedicated to the movie’s cast, crew, and production. We will tell you where it was filmed, and who plays the leading roles. At the end of our article, we gave you details about some of the other great gambling-themed movies and how Rounders became one of them. And now, we begin with details about the director, sets, and other production details.
Rounders (1998) – The Making of a Great Poker Movie
Poker Movie, Crime, Drama
✍️ Written By
David Levien & Brian Koppelman
🎼 Music By
Kenny Burrell “Chitlins Con Carne”
Matt Damon, Edward Norton, Gretchen Mol
✨ IMDB Rate
🍅 Rotten Tomatoes Rate
65% Tomatometer & 87% Audience Score
We begin our Rounders movie review with the idea of its creation. This movie’s story starts long before the viewers sat in the theatres with a bucket of popcorn and a cold beverage. In the beginning, there was David Levien and Brian Koppelman’s idea to describe the shady poker games world. The great story was recognized by the director John Dahl, and after a couple of years of hard work, the movie entered the cinemas.
Some of the easily missed by the movie’s public finishing touches are the music and the sets. The music selection for Rounders was entrusted to Christopher Young, who bet on soul-jazz and Kenny Burrell’s “Chitlins Con Carne”. You may not notice the music on the background, but it definitely gives life to the atmosphere and the idea of a gambling movie.
When it comes to the film setting and locations, upon careful review, you will notice that every gambling site, house, bar, and other area are carefully picked to represent a different way of life. Most of the outdoor scenes were filmed in New York, while the rest in a studio.
The last touch that made Rounders one of the top gambling movies is the jargon-filled script. The viewers who are not familiar with the poker rules may get confused, but the main character explains what we see right then. Regardless of watching for the plot, the famous actors, or as a poker fan, Rounders will make you want to see the movie at least one more time.
As a poker-themed movie, Rounders (1998) needed a cast that will realistically reflect the world of gambling rooms. In addition to that, the actors had to be cool with representing edgy, world-wise, and sometimes openly cynical characters. Matt Damon and Edward Norton enter the lead roles and expertly show us the smart player and the gambler ready to cheat to win.
Gretchen Mol is Jo, the reason and better judgment against gambling. With John Malkovitch, John Turturro, Martin Landau, and Famke Jansen in the secondary roles, we see how an entire world comes to life. The list of actors involved in this movie goes on and on. Their excellent work makes the viewer forget that this is a movie and sinks into the world of poker.
Where Can You Watch the Rounders Movie Online?
Rounders has never been a box office hit. With the gambling theme and jargons, this is one of the perfect films for poker players and enthusiasts. Leaving the gambling theme aside, many viewers like it for the representation of the underground world of gambling and the different characters.
You can find it online, on Netflix, Amazon, Google Play, Hulu, and more. If you are one of the few people who still have not seen this movie, we recommend that you don’t waste any more time. It is a fantastic way to learn a few poker tips and to see young Matt Damon.
Rounders Movie – Poker Games and Plot
This is the part of our Rounders film review where we get into details about the movie’s plot. First, we will start with a little bit of information about the Rounders poker games and gambler’s tells. After that, we will get into details about the story, and how the characters get themselves out of the trouble, they got themselves into the first place.
Rounders Poker Games
A “rounder” is a person who chose playing cards as the sole means of earning a living.
Our Rounders review will not give you the entire list of the card hands in the movie. You can watch it yourself and take notes. Instead, we will tell you briefly about the game and the rules. The poker game in Rounders is Texas Hold’em. This version of the popular card game rules states that every player is dealt two cards face down. The players can see their hands and decide to place their first bet (enter the game) or fold (leave the game).
The three cards of the “flop” are placed face-up on the community (the table). Any player can use these cards to form the best 5-card poker hand. Another round of betting or folding is performed, and a fourth card is added to the community. This is the “turn”, also known as Fourth Street. The players bet or fold again before the last card is added to the community.
Even if you don’t know anything about the rules, you should know that the “river” (the last community card) is what can turn the game upside down. This is the moment for the final round of bets before the hands get revealed. In the best case, the winner always has the best five-card poker hand. There might be a tie on rare occasions, and the pot (the money pile of all bets during the game) is split. A great bluff is when the winner has no winnig hand, but still manages to fook the rest of the players to fold.
Players Tells and Bluffs
The Rounders (1998) is one of the few poker movies where you can see different poker games. Almost every character represents a real gambler’s personality you can meet at the table. The games show realistic situations, and some of the craziest poker hands you can see during a real tournament or game.
Once a poker player learns the rules, it is time to master the bluffs and hide the tells. The pro gamblers claim that this is even more important than the cards on the table. Rounders shows us that if you catch the tell of a player, you win the entire game. This movie’s creators chose Teddy KGB’s Oreo cookies tell as a good example that you have to keep your eyes open for the smallest signs of your opponent’s behaviour.
In short, whenever Teddy bluffs, has a high card, or is certain of his winning, he grabs a cookie. Sometimes he splits the cookies, other times licks the cream, and sometimes eats the cookie. The connection between Teddy KGB and his Oreo cookies is never clearly explained. You have to watch the scene a few times and figure it out yourself. Extra tension is added to the scene because we don’t know what cards Teddy has, and we find out from Mike’s final speech.
Rounders Film Review – Tale of a Law Student Playing Poker
At this point, you may already wish to find the Rounders movie online and watch it. If you are not sure that this is the movie for you, then read on our article and learn more about the plot. It is pointless to warn you that there will be spoilers, but, anyway, SPOILER ALERT!
Rounders introduces us to Mike (Matt Damon) while he is playing against the Russian mobster, Teddy KGB, in an underground poker game. Mike plays with his law school tuition and loses the entire $30,000 in a single hand. The naturally gifted poker player decides to leave the gambling and complete his education with normal job funds.
Staying away from gambling seems possible until his friend, Worm (Edward Norton), returns to his life. Worm loses on a poker game and owns $25,000 to Grama, a shady character who works for Teddy KGB. Mike is decided to help his friend get out of trouble and jumps into the world of poker once again. Even after Mike’s girlfriend, Jo (Gretchen Mol), leaves him, the young gambler with a special gift does not quit the game.
If you can’t spot the sucker in your first half-hour on the table, then you are the sucker… Get your money in when you have the best of it. Protect it when you don’t. Don’t give anything away. Mike McDermott (Matt Damon), Rounders (1998)
Mike and Worm storm many gambling rooms, private poker games, and legal casinos in Atlantic City. Inevitably, they cross paths with Grama, and in the end, the two friends have to attend to their bruises and collect even a larger sum to save themselves. In this Rounders movie review, we will skip the dramatic turns and the story’s romantic side. Instead, we will tell you about the last encounters between Mike and Teddy KGB.
Mike and Worm have one night before the debt’s deadline. Mike decides to enter another game against Teddy KGB and increase the bets even more. They play at Teddy’s underground club, and the game is heads-up No-Limit Texas Hold’em Poker where the winner-take-all stakes. Playing one-on-one is the most difficult part of a poker game. Despite that, Mike enters the game intending to win.
Even at the start, we can see that Mike has 8-9 of spades (Suited Connectors hand) that can form a flush or a straight. The flop shows 6 of diamonds, 7 of spades, 10 of hearts, which means that Mike “flopped the nuts” (has the best possible hand). With 2 of clubs on the “turn” and Ace of spades as “river”, Mike’s victory is certain.
Showing an interesting poker game in Rounders (1998) is not enough. The main character, Mike, also explains to us what is happening and what more can we expect. The extra mile this movie makes towards explaining the world of poker games is to show us the tales and bluffs of the players. The brightest example is the Oreo tell Teddy KGB has. If you have missed this connection, we recommend that you watch the movie again. There is more than one tell in almost every poker game in this movie.
Even though Mike won the game and told Teddy how he did that, he was not out of the woods yet. Playing against a Russian mobster in his own gaming room, surrounded by his thugs, is plain suicide. Despite being angry at the loss, Teddy allowed Mike to keep his wins and walk out. At the end of the movie, Mike informs us that he has paid off all debts and leaves. He has now decided to explore his gambling gifts in the casino tournaments and see how far his poker skills will take him.
Rounders and Other Popular Gambling Movies
Our Rounders review introduced an incredible movie that shows you the gambler’s life and teaches you details about the poker game. Many gambling movies can do the same and even more. A few obvious and mandatory requirements for a gambling story are interesting, and Rounders covers them all.
Not every viewer has experience in gambling, but that does not stop us to have favourite characters. One of the tense casino scenes in movies is the Casino Royale poker scene, where James returns and wins the game with a completely cool head after he almost dies a few minutes prior. Other movies that we can’t help but support the heroes are Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998), and Hangover (2009).
Learning the Game
You flop a nut straight; you simply check and wait for your opponent to bet all his money to you on the river when you can raise him and win a massive pot. Mike McDermott (Matt Damon), Rounders (1998)
Mike’s bit of advice in Rounders is an amazing example of a tutorial card game movie. If you are interested in card games and casino movies, check Croupier (1998), and 21 (2008). Without surprise, there are films that give tips and tricks about every single gambling game there is. Even the animal races have excellent representatives in the face of the horseracing movies like Hidalgo (2004), Secretariat (2010), or Seabiscuit (2003).
Based on Real Stories
“Based on real events” is a phrase that gives the viewer an extra nudge since the start. This draws people who wish to be inspired by someone else’s achievements, see other people’s troubles, or need to reassure themselves that there is worse life than theirs. You may not know, but some of the fans’ favourite movies like Molly’s Game, Casino (1995), or High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story (2003) are based on a true story.
Our Rounders movie review presented to you a poker-themed criminal drama. The serious nature of this film left room for a few jokes and some wise life tips. If you are fan of action and adventurous gamblers, then check the old Wild West movies like Tombstone (1993), Maverick (1998), or the Deadwood TV series. The modern version of a charming gambler and casino criminal can be seen in the Sting (1973) and Ocean’s 11 and 13.
Rounders Review Frequently Asked Questions
The most frequently asked questions of our Rounders review can give you details about the movie’s cast, music, plot, and poker games. Read on, and if you wish to learn details, follow the links in the answers.
📽️ Where was the movie the Rounders filmed?
Our Rounders film review starts with information about the movie, including the filming sets in New York. You can check the Rounders sets, music, cast, and crew list right away. We also gave information about the IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes ratings and where you can watch this poker-themed film.
🍿 Where can I watch the movie Rounders for free?
Viewers all over the world can watch the Rounders movie online. Netflix, Google Play, and Amazon are just a few of the many names of websites and providers that offer this great film. Since the movie was made over 20 years ago, you can watch it on many TV channels dubbed in your native language.
⭐ Who starred in the movie Rounders?
A shortlist of the main characters completes our Rounders movie review. The Rounders cast was expertly selected and all actors performed exceptionally well. The lead roles are given to Matt Damon and Edward Norton who play two childhood friends. The rest of the names include John Malkovich, John Turturro, Famke Jansen, and more.
🃏 What is the poker game in the movie Rounders?
In our Rounders review, we gave you details about the poker rules, players’ tells, and bluffs. During the movie, you will see many Rounders Texas Hold’em Poker games and the large “winner-takes-it-all” game against Teddy KGB. You can read more about the games and the famous Oreo cookies tell in our article.
💸 Why Mike has to play poker in Rounders?
Our Rounders review has a special part where we introduce to you the story. The Rounders plot takes the viewer from the peaceful life of a law student to the underground gambling rooms and back again. We follow Mike, the main character, as he tries to find the path in life that will make him happy and rich.
🥇 Is Rounders a great gambling movie?
All memorable films have a great plot, excellent actors, and a fascinating story to tell. Rounders (1998) is one of the great gambling movies because it has all this combined. The extra touch is the main character’s poker tips, who himself learns a thing or two about life before our eyes.