7.3/10
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303 user 131 critic

Rounders (1998)

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A young, reformed gambler must return to playing big stakes poker to help a friend pay off loan sharks, while balancing his relationship with his girlfriend and his commitments to law school.

Director:

John Dahl
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Popularity
3,819 ( 553)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Matt Damon ... Mike McDermott
Gretchen Mol ... Jo
John Malkovich ... Teddy KGB
Paul Cicero Paul Cicero ... Russian Thug
Ray Iannicelli ... Kenny
John Turturro ... Joey Knish
Merwin Goldsmith Merwin Goldsmith ... Sy
Sonny Zito Sonny Zito ... Tony
Josh Mostel ... Zagosh
Mal Z. Lawrence ... Irving
Lenny Clarke ... Savino
Peter Yoshida Peter Yoshida ... Henry Lin
Jay Boryea Jay Boryea ... Russian Thug #2
Lenny Venito ... Moogie
Martin Landau ... Abe Petrovsky
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Storyline

John Dahl directed this exploration of New York private clubs devoted to high-stakes poker, with first-person narration from the film's central figure, law student Mike McDermott (Matt Damon), who loses his entire savings to Russian club owner Teddy KGB (John Malkovich). Mike then turns away from cards, devoting his attentions to his law studies and his live-in girlfriend Jo (Gretchen Mol), who's concerned when Mike's former gambling buddy Worm (Edward Norton) is released from prison. She has good reason to worry, since it takes Worm only a matter of minutes to draw Mike back into poker action. When she learns Mike has returned to the poker clubs, she moves out, and Mike begins to lose interest in his studies. Worm has a prison debt, and the threatening Grama (Michael Rispoli) wants the money. Mike not only indulges the irresponsible Worm, he gets involved in Worm's debts. When Grama demands $15,000 on a five-day deadline, the two buddies go into high gear with a non-stop, no-sleep ...

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

All your hopes and dreams...crushed. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive strong language, some sexuality and brief drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Hebrew | Russian

Release Date:

11 September 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Apuesta final See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,459,126, 13 September 1998, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$22,905,674, 8 November 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Miramax, Spanky Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Early on, Mike is seen taking money out of a poker book called "Super System", which was written by poker legend Doyle Brunson. He later pulls quotes from the book with the lines "Texas Hold 'em is the Cadillac of poker games" and "The trick to no limit is to put a man to a decision for all his chips." See more »

Goofs

None of the principle or supporting characters speak with a New York accent. See more »

Quotes

Mike McDermott: [after walking up to his poker table inside the Sheriffs game] Sean Frye?
Sean Frye: that's right
Mike McDermott: yeah, your uncle Pete told me to come by if I was ever around here
Sean Frye: [referring to if he met his uncle while in prison] are you one of his "students"?
Mike McDermott: [realizing what he meant] oh no, no, no. I wasn't "inside"
Sean Frye: then you know him from Huntington huh?
Mike McDermott: yeah he took me for like a grand at The Lodge
Sean Frye: that's the buy in here, we play twenty/forty studs, grab a seat
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: John Malkovich/T.I. (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

The Worm
Written by Jimmy McGriff
Performed by Jimmy McGriff
Courtesy of Blue Note Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

I really enjoyed this movie, more than I thought I would.
18 August 2000 | by TxMikeSee all my reviews

I knew "Rounders" had something to do with gambling, and that Matt Damon stars in it, but not much more. So, when I watched it on DVD I was pleasantly surprised how engaging a film it is.

I am not a gambler, so maybe that is part of why I found it so fascinating. Basic story - Damon's character is a 2nd yr law student in NYC, and a good enough poker player that he has aspirations of entering and winning the million-dollar prize in the world series of poker in Lasvegas. However, Ed Norton plays his good buddy just getting out of prison. Norton's character is also a poker player, but also incorporates cheating because that just helps you make money faster. This approach gets both of them in some pretty hot water, and also deep in debt!!

Damon's character has a S.O. played by Gretchen Mol. Her distaste for gambling puts a great strain on their relationship. Will she stay, or will she move out??

And finally, John Malkovich does a wonderful job as the Russian gambler nicknamed "KGB". John Turturro is perfectly cast as Damon's friend and "street" advisor.

I simply found myself caught up in this story, anticipating the next poker game, wondering if they would all get whacked, or survive. Plus, Matt Damon has such a relaxed acting style, with that great smile of his, which makes all of his movies easy to watch.

I rate this one 8 of 10 for the well-done gambling drama depicted here.


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