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.


John Dahl
3,922 ( 40)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »





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 ... 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


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


Trust everyone... but always cut the cards See more »


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 »

Did You Know?


The State Police poker game scene was filmed at the Elks club (bpoe 1506) in Ridgefield Park NJ See more »


Mike's monologue at the end describes his walking away with about $60k. He had an original stake of $10k that he doubled to $20k before letting KGB and Grama goad him back to the table. If he doubled that it would have meant $40k total unless KGB "reloaded" with another $20k to bring the total to $60k. The mistake is implying that during the last hand, Mike's life was in danger of not being able to pay his bet back In time when he was clearly the chip leader and had more than $40k of chips in front of him which would have been sufficient to pay his debt to KGB which was only $15k. He trapped KGB to be sure, but there wasn't any way he wasn't coming out of that final hand without enough money to pay Grama and KGB based on the fact he walked away with $60k. See more »


Mike McDermott: [Narrating during their final game] Doyle Brunson says" the key to no limit is to put a man to a decision for all his chips" Teddy's just did it his representing aces the only hand better than my cowboys I can't call and just give him a chance to catch I can only fold if I believe him in a heads up match your stack is almost as important as the quality of your cards I chopped one of his legs off in the first hand now all I have to do is lean on him until he falls over
Mike McDermott: [Narrating] the rule is this:...
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Referenced in Saturday Night (2010) See more »


Strada Del Bosco
Written by De Michele, Cesare A. Bixio (as Bixlo), Ermenegildo Rusconi (as Rusconi) & Nicola Salerno (as Nisa)
Performed by Mario Napoletano
Courtesy of Sherman Records
See more »

User Reviews

Good and realistic look at a way of life
27 August 2005 | by supah79See all my reviews

Rounders is not an anti-gambling film. At the end, when Matt Damon defeats KGB, you want to find the nearest gambling joint...

But the film does show us the dangers of the world of gamblers and card sharks. Matt goes broke and calls it a day in the beginning of the film. But after his buddy Worm drags him back, he knows that all he really wants and is good at is poker.

Matt never hits rock bottom (like all gamblers do once in their 'çareer'). He goes broke yes, but he still has his girl, a house and a job. Most gamblers who hit bottom end up with only the clothes on their back. If there is a critique, it's that. It doesn't let it's main character experience the real downs of a gambling existence.

But that's all the bad things I can say about this film. The bad news the gambling world has to offer comes in Worm (an excellent Norton). The film has colorful and realistic characters. The dialog is authentic and film has a 'real feel' to it. I love these 'small' films, in contrary to all the 100 trillion dollar blockbuster with special effects that come out every week. Too bad Hollywood doesn't make more films like this one.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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English | Hebrew | Russian

Release Date:

11 September 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Rounders See more »


Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,459,126, 13 September 1998

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Miramax, Spanky Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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