Poker Strategies from Movies: From James Bond to Mike McDermott

From the quick-paced world of gambling that’s depicted in Ocean’s Eleven to Agent 007’s proclivity for glamorous casinos, Hollywood has always used poker to ramp up the intensity of its movies. The world of movies has inspired a great many poker and blackjack players to pursue a career in these competitive card games. 

Even though it may look realistic, you can’t help but wonder whether the bulk of what you see in movie casinos is fact or fiction. Some movie and poker fans may get too involved in the stories, whereby they try to replicate the characters’ strategies while playing online on the best non UK licensed casinos. Cautious and studious actions are always the best course to follow. Study GTO math strategies well and practice them in low stakes tables, and you’ll be good to go. 

Let’s look at some vital poker lessons from the most authentic poker scenes from the movies. If not for useful strategy tips, we’ll consider films that inspire players to pursue poker with the same resolve as Mike McDermott and James Bond. 

Perfect Your Poker Face

James Bond returned to action and raised the stakes high in the Casino Royale movie. When 007 decided to impersonate a terrorist in a poker scene in the movie, no actor could have been better qualified to pull off an excellent poker face than Daniel Craig. Some poker players may pass Casino Royale as just another glorified and exaggerated picturing of the game. Well, in a way it was. 

You can, however, still learn how to keep your cool at a highly-contented poker table. Even when an assassin tries to take him out with an axe while he’s on his way to his hotel room, 007 never cracks. When you’re playing poker online, we’re sure the pressure won’t come to such an extent. Still, keeping your cool is a skill that’s mentioned in professional poker articles, so it should be more fact than fiction. 

Bankroll Management

In the 1998 movie, Rounders, Mike McDermott (played by Matt Damon) has serious challenges with bankroll management. By the time his extremely annoying friend Joey Knish teaches him a thing or two about keeping his finances tight as his curls, Mike has already lost a lot of money. But does McDermott follow his friend’s sound advice? Of course not, it’s a film after all. Mike McDermott’s character wouldn’t choose to drop down to micro-stakes. For the budding poker player, Knish’s words motivating Mike to think about playing it safe and put his kids through school with his winnings will strike a chord on the importance of bankroll management.

Trust Your Gut

Any poker film-inspired article wouldn’t be complete without mention of the Stu Ungar Story. True, the movie focuses more on his life and less on his card playing. That, however, doesn’t mean there aren’t any gold nuggets here and there for poker fans. Stu Ungar’s gameplay defied conventional strategy and frequently went with his gut feeling. He usually went on to win, but also had his fair share of losses. Stu, however, knew that losing was a culmination of a chain of bad decisions, and was advanced enough to consistently make good choices.

Learn How to Bluff

The 2001 heist film and massive box office success, Ocean’s Eleven features another memorable poker scene from which we can pick a lesson. The movie follows an attempt by professional thieves to rob the MGM Grand, the Bellagio, and The Mirage. Gamblers would, therefore, naturally revel in the numerous casino references. Our poker lesson from Ocean’s Eleven comes from the scene where Danny Ocean and Rusty Ryan teach a table of young poker stars about a few nuances of the game. Watching Rusty Ryan teach these teen idols, all of whom were playing themselves, how to bluff while playing poker, allows poker players to glean on a few winning points.  

Know When You’re Discovered

Being a joy to see playing poker, Agent 007 just had to make another appearance with a scene from Casino Royale. Set in the Montenegro casino by the same name as the movie, this scene sees James Bond playing a game of high-stakes Texas Hold’em with the villain terrorist financier, Le Chiffre. Bond starts the game on the right foot after catching his opponent’s tell—a hand twitch towards an eyebrow scar. But Le Chiffre is shrewd and quickly realises that his tell has been discovered. He goes on to use Bond’s false confidence to score a temporary victory. 


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