The Greatest Poker Film Ever On a Perfect Sunday

And it's not even about poker.

It was a beautiful day.

I checked first thing and I had won both my bets on the NBA the night before. I live in Europe and for us they play basketball in the middle of the night.

Even worse is that the Americans play poker in the middle of the night.

The Sunday grind is the Sunday night grind for us Europeans -- Monday morning if we get lucky. Black Friday hasn't changed anything as the schedule has remained the same.

As I write this it's not even Monday morning for a poker player, but I have a daughter who is two-and-a-half so I get up earlier.

Now, let's get back to yesterday.

All Those Years In Vegas Not for Nothing

My wife had made a breakfast with all the trimmings and our little family was enjoying it with the sunshine flooding in from a sky with a polarized range of only blue combos.

We went to the playground. Coco had a great time and her Dad had an even greater time watching her.

She had ice cream with her best friend later but I just had a coffee since we were going to a buffet for lunch.

Like most Vegas lessons - hard earned.

It took me close to a thousand times but I can proudly say that I now have it under control.

I can eat at a buffet without ending up in a state of dizziness and severe stomach pain.

All those years in Vegas were not for nothing.

After a good day of doing family stuff, getting fresh air and eating a lot I deservedly sank down in the sofa for some me time.

Nowadays I spend far too much time in front of a computer screen. I am not alone. TV is the new relaxation.

When I was a kid TV was the bad thing and books were the good thing. When my granddad was young, books were probably the bad thing and playing outside was the good thing.

For his grandfather, playing was the bad thing and working the only thing. Progress is inevitable I guess, unless you prohibit it like in North Korea, but sometimes it was better in the good old days.

The second-hand smoke in poker was a killer, literally. But we had more fun back then.

Rounders Wasn't Always Loved

Firing up 20 tourneys on a Sunday grind is not a perfect Sunday for me. A good movie is.

But since I hardly watch TV we don't have cable or any extra channels of any kind in our house. Or sort of, anyway. Channel 43, which I recently discovered, airs films non stop.

Mostly a lot of crap from the 70s and 80s that wasn't good even back then. But sometimes you get a treat.

Matt Damon
Damon at the tables not a help.

My perfect Sunday started with a real classic by Martin Scorsese. Paul Newman stars and he won an Academy Award for Best Actor.

Halfway through the movie I realized that it's the best poker film ever. Do you know which one I'm referring to?

Rounders is a very good movie. I liked it from the start, unlike most other poker players.

Everybody complained about it and the "unrealistic" plot. To me, back then playing in underground clubs every night, it was very realistic and very good.

Nowadays you can't find a poker player who does not like Rounders. Seasons change, and people with them; they just don't remember it.

What I didn't like about Rounders was that Ed Norton and Matt Damon played the 1998 World Series of Poker as a publicity stunt to promote it.

I sat at the table diagonally between theirs. That resulted in a very feminine and good-looking rail that distracted me.

Even more distracting was when the cameraman backed the camera into my head.

Poker is About Ego

The next film of my perfect Sunday was The Godfather, considered by many to be the best movie of all time. 

It's definitely up there in the top for me, too. Actually, a pretty educational poker film. Do not miss the book by Mario Puzo.

The next leg of my perfect Sunday was Tombstone. Maybe not my favorite but still one of the better Westerns of all time.

But I have to say that Kurt Russell has not been cool since Snake Plissken in Escape from New York. There is some poker played in Tombstone, but the poker lessons are mostly image related.

I was ready for bed but the next film was The Usual Suspects, one of my all-time favorites. Two Oscars for that masterpiece seems a bit parsimonious even though the budget was only $6m.

It's about ego.

A lot of unknowns later became stars from that movie. Exactly like in Tombstone. But no film can compete with The Godfather for supporting casts.

Seven nominees but only five Oscars; I hope somebody is sleeping with the fishes for that.

Tom Cruise was not an unknown when he starred in The Color of Money in 1986. Have you seen it lately?

See it. It's the best poker film of all time, even though it's about pool.

Because it's about ego. And that is really what poker is about.

About Ken Lennaárd:

Sweden's most controversial poker blogger, Ken Lennaárd has been around the professional poker circuit for almost 20 years. Among his numerous accomplishments are Swedish Championships both live and online, three WSOP final tables and over $1.5m in live earnings. He's now bringing his singular poker voice to the English world via Look for new posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Note: Opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not inherently represent the views of

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