Rounders is a 1998 film set in the world of underground poker featuring early performances from Edward Norton and Matt Damon. Mike McDermott (Damon) is a law student and gifted poker player who loses his entire bankroll on one hand to Russian mobster ‘KGB’ (John Malkovich). After briefly quitting the game to concentrate on his studies under the advice of his girlfriend Jo (Gretchen Mol), Mike gets back into it following the release from prison of his close friend and loose cannon Lester ‘Worm’ Murphy (Norton). With Worm’s debt’s mounting up and Mike mistakenly vouching for him, the pair is given two days to come up with the $15,000 needed to pay the debt but begin with only a few dollars to their names.
I played a bit of poker while at University both with friends and online but was never good enough to play for more than small change. This film has been credited as an influence behind the careers of many professional poker players including World Series Poker winner Brian Rast and one of the game’s foremost sex symbols Vanessa Rousso. Along with many other players, they have both credited the film as being what drew them in to the sport. Pro Poker player Michael Rocco even wrote this piece, heralding the film’s influence over his career.