Directed by the John Dahl, Rounders follows the life of a New York Mike McDermott (acted by Matt Damon) as he potentially losses his entire bank balance in a subsequent game of Texas hold’em poker against teddy KGB (acted by John Malkovich) who was a Russian gangster who runs an illegal underground betting and poker room.
After initially losing all his savings, mike starts concentrating on his law studies while doing a part time delivery truck driving job. He also promises his girlfriend and best buddy Jo (Gretchen Mol) not to gamble any more. This particular promise is kept only a while as after one of his childhood friends Lester Murphy ‘Worm’ (Edward Norton) is effectively released from prison.
Like Mike, Worm is also a previous card player, but unfortunately owes a enormously mount up debt just before imprisonment and to make matters worse Worm influences mike enough to start rounding again which in effect causes a lapse in concentration and sever interference with his law studies.
The second half of the movies showcases how, (after Worm had been given a deadline of five days to sum up all he owed), Mike and worm engagingly raced to making fifteen thousand dollars by playing numerous card games around New York city but eventually end up losing all their bank roll after being caught cheating at a poker game.
Following this meticulous anomaly Worm chooses to leave the city and the tilt advices Mike to do the same mentioning all the debt that he owed was due to the same KGB mobster who previously cleaned up Mike’s thirty thousand dollar major bank roll.
Declining to flee the city Mike borrows a quick buck from his law professor Petrovsky and sits for one final encounter with KGB, the man who made him quite the game few months back and in a race against time to ward off Worm’s debt challenges Teddy in a heads up, no limit Texas Hold’em poker game for with a last miraculous chance of redeeming for lost things.
Eventually Mike beats KGB in two highly heated heads up games and finally wins ample money to pay off Worm’s debt, his teacher’s loan and to secure his previously lost thirty thousand bank roll. The movie ends on the note with Mike dropping out of Law school and (after saying his goodbyes to Jo) leaving for Las Vegas for playing in the world Poker series main event.
Even though the film wasn’t greeted as kindly as the synopsis suggest it may have this particular story teaches and reveals many of the pros and cons of living a gambling life and how a person is always on edge in such a particular lifestyle. This movie also served as a big breakthrough for Matt Damon while featuring his true talents in the field of adventure and action packed thrilling scenes.
All in all one of the most thrilling suspense movies of the late nineties with shear talented performance on all ends of the bargain. This movie is a treat to watch.