Tommy Vinson (Burt Reynolds
) is an ex-gambler who quit the game of Texas Hold'em over 30 years ago after missing a family emergency and swearing to his wife, Helen, "never again." Tommy tries to be content with his luggage business but while watching a poker tournament on television, he sees Alex Stillman (Bret Harrison
), who reminds him of his younger self.
Alex is a cocky, hotshot card playing senior at Yale University. Alex's parents would like him to go to law school, but Alex only dreams of playing professional poker. After winning an online event that places him in the televised game, Alex loses early. He's close to greatness, but what he doesn't realize yet is that he focuses too much on the cards, and not the players...that's where Tommy comes in.
Tommy finds Alex and makes a pact with him: he'll front Alex the high priced entry fees to all the major tournaments if Alex plays the way that Tommy wants him to. After seeing Tommy make some impressive calls while watching a poker game together, Alex changes his mind and they partner.
Helen, Tommy's wife, is concerned that her husband will get sucked back into the game that took him away once before. Tommy promises this will not happen because he's not the one playing, Alex is. But after Tommy and Alex have a falling out, things change, and everything is off.
Tommy, who's now got the appetite back for the game and a hunger to be acknowledged as the best, enters the final tournament of the poker season and ends up facing Alex, his protégé, in the finals of the world series of poker.