The gambling industry and TV and movies have always worked well together, from action-packed franchises to comedies like The Hangover.
They also have a positive impact on each other; casino stories of mobsters make hit movies, and those hit movies see an influx of new players. As the saying goes, it is life imitating art, imitating life.
Movies depicting casinos and gambling on TV shows aren’t just glamorous. They span across a range of different genres. Some are high-octane movies like James Bond, while others depict the highs and lows of casinos like The Gambler.
You can compare sports movies to casino movies. Some almost feel like warning stories about what can go wrong, like the film Green Street Hooligans, and the positive but often difficult such as The Blindside.
While it is certainly likely that when you see people win millions by playing poker in a movie, you might want to try your luck. The real story of Antonio Esfandiari is much more likely to encourage new players.
However, while land-based casinoshave been something people have enjoyed the world over, the rise in online gaming sites may change the face of casino movies for good. Instead of dressing up for a night at a glamorous casino, players can join live casino tables from the comfort of their homes.
But, if there were still some scenes in these movies that might inspire you to play, you’ll find them below.
Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
Are movies always 100% true to what goes on in a casino? No. Is it still amusing and shines a light on how much fun it can be to play with your friends? Yes. Deep down, everyone wants to be Rusty or Ocean, but all of the characters are fun and bring new dimensions to the crew.
The movie’s premise is that a crew of intelligent and funny gamblers and casino lovers are going to pull off the biggest heist ever. Sleight of hand, false identities, misdirection, and more happen.
The film is really entertaining and has stood the test of time in so many ways. It’s also a highly rated movie, scoring a huge 83% approval on Rotten Tomatoes – but what you can take away from this movie is that a casino is always better with friends.
The Gambler (2014)
Although both versions are great, if you prefer a modern-looking movie, then choose the 2014 release. This isn’t a glamorous gambling movie where someone wins millions, retires, and walks away happy.
It doesn’t necessarily put a negative spin on gambling either; instead, it takes a measured approach to one person’s journey to right some wrongs.
There are some scenes that are so well done; a particular moment at the table when Mark Wahlberg’s character is on a streak is impressive.
As you watch this one, you will probably realise it has that ‘true story’ feel, and that’s because it is based on the real-world experiences of James Toback. James also wrote the screenplay for Bugsy, so he is no stranger to getting facts and tactics right.
The Gambler won’t put you off heading out for a game or signing up online, but what it will do is keep you mindful of your playing habits. Most likely because of its less glamorous approach to casinos and gambling, this movie only has a 6.1/10 on IMDb.
Staying in the true story casino and gambling genre is 21. This film shows the skill required to play blackjack to a regular standard and what it takes to cheat. What is interesting, and we learn while watching, is that card counting isn’t technically illegal, but it is frowned upon. If you use technology to help you, card count, though, that is classed as illegal.
21 is based on the incredible story of 6 MIT students who has an aptitude for numbers and their professor who has a penchant for gambling and money. The group and its members force you to look at the morals of what they are doing while grappling with the fact you’re enjoying watching them do it.
21 has 66% on Rotten Tomatoes and is known for being one of the most realistic films regarding the gameplay itself. And while it probably won’t teach you how to card count, it does a fantastic job in highlighting the mathematics behind a win. If you know cards, you know it all about probability.
Damon, who has quit playing, meets an old friend, fresh out of prison, who loves nothing more than to gamble. One encourages the other to get back into it, and before long, they are taking vast amounts of cash from rich but unskilled players.
One of the biggest compliments that Rounders receives is that as you watch, you can learn a lot about the game of poker, and it is pretty realistic. The movie sets you up nicely to wait for the final card game, the tension rises in relationships, and there are plenty of cash-flow issues.
Rounders has all the feel of a 90s movie, with a cast representing that period. The film scored an excellent 7.3/10 in IMDb and is more than worth your time.
The wide range of casino movies can help you decide what game you might like to play, and if you have friends,you’d like to play with. If nothing else, you’ll watch some of the most enjoyable movies of all time – and their very different representations of being a player.
If you’re looking for something a little newer, then check out The Card Counter Review – Venice 2021.