Casino movies love breaking the rules of poker, blackjack, baccarat and other games. The underdogs win often while the films’ stars win roulette hands even when the odds are 1 to 1000. But we continue to watch them anyway. Here are some of the best casino movies to watch.
The star-studded movie brought together Matt Damon and Edward Norton to explore the fascinating albeit illegal world of underground gambling. Matt plays Mike McDermott, a university student with a dream to win the World Series of Poker.
The movie begins with Mike losing his entire $30,000 savings to a Russian mobster named KGB (John Malkovich). He then joins up with a friend freshly released from prison (Worm). But the friend runs into debt trouble with KGB, and the pair must gamble to pay back $15,000.
Mike initially plays poker and wins almost the $15,000 he and Worm owes in debt. But when the two are caught cheating and their money is confiscated, they must act quickly or the Russian mobster will come after them. Mike finally gets a $10,000 loan and challenges KGB to a Casino Hold’em game.
Mike wins the first round, but KGB taunts him to continue playing. He agrees and doubles his blinds. But in between playing, Mike observes KGB’s demeanour and realizes he has a better hand. He folds and frustrates his opponent but then challenges KGB to go all-in and wins the game’s $60,000 jackpot.
The Cincinnati Kid (1965)
When a young poker star, Eric Stoner, decides to challenge the best poker player in the world, Lancey Horward, he learns the hard way that experience sometimes defeats good skills. The film is set during the depression era and features relatively small blinds.
Regardless, the main event unites six players, with Howard and the Kid playing last. When the Kid and Howard finally play, the dealer (Shooter) tries to help him cheat. Stoner calls for a private break and warns Shooter to deal fairly because he can win without his help. The Kid later asks for a different dealer and wins a few rounds against Howard.
During the final round, however, the Kid becomes overconfident. On the other hand, Howard appears scared of an impending loss. Stoner calls an extra $5,000 blind, knowing he’s likely to win, but his opponent stuns him with a straight flush.
Blackjack 21 is one of the most famous casino games. You can play it or other casino games online at Yebo Casino SA or try it with your friends at home if you have the right deck of cards. But if you simply want to enjoy thrills of the game, you should watch Kevin Spacey’s 2008 hit film, 21.
The movie revolves around the famous story of a group of MIT Blackjack players who won over $100,000 by counting cards at multiple Las Vegas casinos. It starts when Math major Ben Campbell finds out a prestigious scholarship he applied isn’t guaranteed. He then joins up his professor’s blackjack team and, together with other players, devices ways to win blackjack games.
A little background, card counting isn’t allowed at the casinos the group visit, so they must do it discreetly. They win frequently but lose $200,000 when Ben gets distracted. He falls out with Professor Rosa (Kevin Spacey) and is even excluded from the graduation list. The film ends after the team having won over $640,000 at the Planet Hollywood casino.
Although there are several films named ‘Casino,’ the 1995 film starring Robert De Niro will always be iconic for its rich storyline, epic acting, and great gambling moves. It’s set in the early 1970s with a plot that surrounds the mafia and their betrayals.
De Niro plays Sam Rothstein, a gambling expert tasked with helping the house maximize its profits. But with the mafia being involved, Sam is forced to help old friend Nicholas Santoro launder his money through the casino in exchange for security.
Although Sam multiplies the casino’s profits, he gets into marriage problems as his wife begins to cheat with an old friend. At the casino, he’s an excellent manager fires an incompetent manager for a better one.
Meanwhile, his ex-wife (Ginger) kidnaps their daughter, and she plans to kill him. The FBI then comes after the casino for its links to the mafia. But in spite of everything going on in his life, Sam manages to get out of it alive. He credits his excellent sports handicapping skills for his triumphs and retires in San Diego.
Casino Royale (2006)
If you have watched any James Bond movie, you know the iconic TV character loves to gamble. In the 2006 edition of the series, Bond is a novice assassin tasked with the job of killing criminal banker Le Chiffre in a game of poker.
In his usual style, Bond falls in love with a woman tasked to give him the gambling money he needs to complete his mission. He travels between cities and countries as he prepares for the main event. In Madagascar, agent 007 kills a bomb baker but blows the building in the process.
On the other hand, Le Chiffre had received money from a Ugandan rebel leader to invest for him. But after making a bad bet, he losses over $101 million and must now gamble or get into trouble with the Ugandan.
Le Chiffre sets a Hold’em game at Casino Royale, and Bond arrives with a $10 million buy-in. But after a mix of wins and losses, the players go all-in for a chance to win the $115 million pot. Being his lucky day, Bond produces a straight flush and wins the pot.
Movies might be scripted, and the odds are always stacked in the star’s favour, but they are fun to watch. Bond, for instance, had to juggle between killing and playing while the MIT Blackjack team counted their way to a $640,000 fortune. Some of these films also teach valuable lessons most casino players can benefit from, like knowing when to bluff and when to fold.